Sandia Labs News Releases

Category Archives: Nuclear Weapons

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Laura McGill, Sandia deputy labs director

Sandia names new leader of nuclear deterrence programs

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories has named a new deputy labs director to lead its nuclear deterrence programs as part of a reorganization that supports the labs’ continued excellence in assuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear arsenal. Laura McGill, who joins Sandia after more than 30 years in the defense […]

Rodney Wilson

Global security and cooperation leader recognized by NNSA for leadership, service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Rodney Wilson, former director of Sandia’s Center for Global Security and Cooperation, received the National Nuclear Security Administration Administrator’s Distinguished Service Gold Award in recognition of his leadership and service to advance NNSA programs. The plaque, signed by former Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, recognized Wilson’s contributions to programs focused on improving the […]

An F-35A drops a B61-12 over Sandia

Flight tests to show B61-12 will work on Air Force’s newest fighter jet

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A mock B61-12’s strike in the dusty Nevada desert successfully completed the first in a series of flight tests with the U.S. Air Force’s newest fighter jet, demonstrating the bomb’s first release from an internal bomb bay at greater than the speed of sound. The flight test of the B61-12 with the […]

F-35A fighter jet in flight

Virtual support from Sandia enabled B61-12 flight test on F-35A jet fighter

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Overcoming COVID-19 pandemic challenges through virtual means, teams from Sandia National Laboratories and the U.S. Air Force under the guidance of the National Nuclear Security Administration performed a critical B61-12 flight test aboard the F-35A Lightning II jet fighter. The flight test at Edwards Air Force Base in the California desert took […]

Record neutron numbers at Sandia Labs’ Z machine fusion experiments

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.— A relatively new method to control nuclear fusion that combines a massive jolt of electricity with strong magnetic fields and a powerful laser beam has achieved its own record output of neutrons — a key standard by which fusion efforts are judged — at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z pulsed power facility, the most […]

Picture of mobile guardian transport

Successful crash test meets major milestone for nuclear deterrence program

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A full-scale crash test involving a semitruck impacting the side of the first prototype of a new weapons transporter successfully took place at Sandia National Laboratories this summer. Using the labs’ sled track, rockets propelled the semitractor-trailer at highway speeds into the prototype, an over-the-road Mobile Guardian Transporter conceptualized and built from […]

Expanding testing capacity for Sandia weapons modernization programs

LIVERMORE, Calif. — Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration and Department of Energy’s under secretary for nuclear security, joined Sandia National Laboratories Deputy Labs Director Dori Ellis and other Sandia leaders today for a tour of the newest facility in nuclear weapons systems engineering at Sandia’s California site — the Sandia […]

Cognitive safeguards

How to multitask when nuclear nonproliferation is on the line

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New cognitive science research from Sandia National Laboratories shows that while maps can help someone identify landmarks while being escorted, using one also limits situational awareness and knowledge of surroundings not highlighted on the map. This finding is one of several coming from a three-year project that paired cognitive scientists and international […]

Photograph of Sandia technologists Curt Tenorio and Jessie Fowler install instrumentation on a B61-12 test unit for a vibration and shaker-shock test.

Sandia weapons program meets safety, design requirements

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories has successfully completed another milestone in the B61-12 gravity bomb refurbishment program, demonstrating the labs is meeting important nuclear safety and use-control requirements. “The Combined Engineering Judgment is an important step toward ensuring the B61-12 Life Extension Program is on track, and Sandia is meeting design and development requirements […]

Photo of Sandia National Laboratories Tonopah Test Range

Flight tests show B61-12 compatible with F-15E Strike Eagle

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Dropped from above 25,000 feet, the mock B61-12 nuclear gravity bomb was in the air for approximately 55 seconds before hitting and embedding in the lakebed, splashing a 40- to 50-foot puff of desert dust from the designated impact area at Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range in Nevada. That strike was […]

Power Grid

Sandia initiatives to protect US energy grid and nuclear weapons systems

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — To deter attempts to disable U.S. electrical utilities and to defend U.S. nuclear weapon systems from evolving technological threats, Sandia National Laboratories has begun two multiyear initiatives to strengthen U.S. responses. One is focused on defending large U.S. electrical utility systems from potential attacks by hostile nations, as well as from damage […]

Alan Mar

Award-winning engineer helps keep US nuclear deterrent safe from radiation

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — When nuclear radiation hits electronics, it cuts through semiconductors, leaving scars of charged particles that can flip computing bits and corrupt memory circuits, potentially disabling devices or causing erratic errors. Experts like engineer Alan Mar ensure components made for the U.S. nuclear stockpile pass stringent standards to resist radiation and remain safe […]

silicon wafer

National security chip plant gets an upgrade

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories has completed phase one of an anticipated three-year upgrade at its plant responsible for making integrated circuits, similar to computer chips. The facility is now fully compatible with industry-standard, 8-inch silicon wafers — thin, round starting materials used for making chips. Previously, Sandia used 6-inch wafers. Supporting the new […]

Earthquake or underground explosion?

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories researchers, as part of a group of National Nuclear Security Administration scientists, have wrapped up years of field experiments to improve the United States’ ability to differentiate earthquakes from underground explosions, key knowledge needed to advance the nation’s monitoring and verification capabilities for detecting underground nuclear explosions. The nine-year […]

Photo of Ryan Kristensen, a member of the Accident Response Group.

Responders provide technical expertise in case of nuclear weapons accidents

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Decades ago, technical experts from the national labs responded in an ad hoc manner to accidents involving nuclear weapons, called “broken arrows.” Thirty-two such accidents have occurred since the 1950s, so the Accident Response Group was created about five decades ago to provide technical expertise in assessing and safely resolving nuclear weapons […]

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