Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory



The Secondary Nuclear Design (SND) Program is a research and development organization with broad research interests supported by unique, world-class experimental and computational facilities. Our primary mission is to ensure national and global security by maintaining scientific and technical leadership, in the absence of nuclear testing, in all aspects of thermonuclear weapon physics, design, and operation. This involves the application of theoretical, computational, and experimental physics to a wide range of Grand Challenge problems relevant to national defense and security.

SND performs fundamental and applied physics research, supported by a strong modeling and simulation effort. Our researchers develop new theories and models for advancing basic understanding in the physical and computational sciences and design and field experiments to help underwrite those theories and models.

SND scientists also conduct experiments such as the recently completed High Energy Density (HED) experiments on both the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and the Z machine. These experiments delivered validation data for three dimensional simulations that enabled LLNL to develop and implement key physics-based models for the Stockpile Stewardship Program.

Our broad and multidisciplinary research interests include:

  • Astrophysics
  • Atomic and nuclear physics
  • Computational hydrodynamics
  • Fluid dynamics and turbulence
  • High-energy density (HED) physics
  • Radiation transport
  • Plasma theory
Top Level WCI organization

As part of the W78 LEP, Livermore engineers will evaluate the benefits of adding safety and security features to the warhead over its complete lifecycle, from fabrication to deployment.

Research activities include theory and modeling, low- and high-energy density physics experiments, numerical algorithm and computer code development. We perform analyses of experimental, simulation and archived underground nuclear test data, and we apply these analyses to stockpile stewardship.

LLNL has unique, world-class experimental and computational facilities to support both physics and computational research. Our experimental facilities are ideal for performing the kind of research needed to support physics theory, and our world-class computational facilities allow us to develop models of very complex physical processes. For example, in one of our collaborative projects, we are part of the Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program, which is developing petascale, massively-parallel computing platforms, massive data storage systems, innovative visualization tools, and high-speed networking technology.