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Category Archives: Nuclear Weapons

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Scintillating discovery at Sandia Labs

Bright thinking leads to breakthrough in nuclear threat detection science LIVERMORE, Calif. — Taking inspiration from an unusual source, a Sandia National Laboratories team has dramatically improved the science of scintillators — objects that detect nuclear threats. According to the team, using organic glass scintillators could soon make it even harder to smuggle nuclear materials […]

Upgrades at Sandia’s Tonopah Test Range help weapons testing

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A former test director at Sandia National Laboratories’ Tonopah Test Range has described its combination of old and new tracking and data-collection equipment as like a mix of horseless carriages and horses — you can’t feed oats to the horseless carriages and you can’t gas up the horses. It’s been a challenge […]

Overcoming the trust barrier in nuclear weapons verification measurements

Sandia method supports real-time warhead verification without revealing design data LIVERMORE, Calif. — Trust but verify. The catchphrase for arms control popularized by President Ronald Reagan sounds simple. However, verification involving sensitive data is a very complex endeavor. Verifying that a nuclear warhead actually is a warhead may include confirming key attributes. But the act […]

Drop of mock B61-12 is first of new flight tests

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — From a distance, the drop of a mock nuclear weapon — containing only non-nuclear components — was a mere puff of dust rising from a dry lake bed at Nevada’s Tonopah Test Range. However, it marked the start of a new series of test flights vital to the nation’s B61-12 weapon refurbishment […]

Evaluating nuclear weapons: Sandia Labs taking a modern approach

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories is transforming how it assesses nuclear weapons in a stockpile made up of weapons at different stages in their lifecycles — some systems that have existed for decades alongside those that have undergone life extension programs. Back when the United States was developing new nuclear weapon systems, weapons typically […]

Exploring the evolution of nuclear deterrence through interviews, historical footage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories explores the evolution of nuclear deterrence in a new documentary that combines modern and historical footage with a wide range of interviews. On Deterrence features interviews with former secretaries of defense, general officers, policymakers, analysts, scholars and scientists with varied viewpoints to describe the impact of nuclear deterrence since […]

Sled track simulates high-speed accident in B61-12 test

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories has sent a mock B61-12 nuclear weapon speeding down the labs’ 10,000-foot rocket sled track to slam nose-first into a steel and concrete wall in a spectacular test that mimicked a high-speed accident. It allowed engineers to examine safety features inside the weapon that prevent inadvertent nuclear detonation. Data […]

Looking from space for nuclear detonations

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories’ Jaime Gomez was too busy to celebrate the successful launch of the latest nuclear detonation detection system — he was already deep into the next generation. The Global Burst Detection (GBD) system launched Feb. 5 from Cape Canaveral aboard the 70th Global Positioning System (GPS) satellite. The GBD looks […]

Lightning lab: Recreating nature’s big show for research

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Sandia National Laboratories creates lightning in a lab to evaluate how anything from sensitive nuclear weapons components to entire buildings will hold up against the worst that nature might throw at them. “Sandia’s primary mission is to assure an ‘always/never’ operating condition for nuclear weapons,” said Larry Schneider, senior manager of Sandia’s […]

Sandia’s California site invites community to 60th anniversary celebration

LIVERMORE, Calif. –Sixty years ago, the Giants played baseball in New York and the Athletics in Kansas City, Dwight Eisenhower was president and Sandia National Laboratories opened its California site in the city of Livermore, which at the time had a population of under 10,000. Because of Sandia’s California site and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, […]

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