LLNL’s support of DOE/NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Program focuses on preventing and mitigating nuclear proliferation, improving global nuclear security, and developing innovative arms control verification technologies and methodologies. For example, LLNL’s diverse technical staff devises new materials to advance radiation detection capabilities, design complex systems to provide stateof- the-art capabilities needed for national monitoring, advance the implementation of effective international verification regimes, and frustrate proliferators’ efforts to acquire sensitive dual use technologies.
The proliferation risk landscape is dynamic and requires a flexible, resilient program to address changes over the medium- to long-term. In today’s globalized environment, states and nonstate actors are trying to find ways to acquire technologies, capabilities, and expertise that could be used to develop nuclear weapons. Maintaining U.S. national monitoring capabilities and cooperative international mechanisms to detect and constrain these evolving nuclear weapons activities are essential. There must also be continued emphasis on nuclear security, so that theft of nuclear material cannot become a shortcut to proliferation or nuclear terrorism. U.S. government (USG) programs and global efforts have reduced the quantity and vulnerability of the materials at greatest risk, but sustaining these reductions is critical.
Inspectors at Integrated Field Exercise in Jordan, which was a major milestone
in the development of onsite
inspection capability for the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization
Source Physics Experiment at the Nevada National Security Site
Energy partition/energy coupling experiment at the National Ignition Facility
Much has been accomplished over the past 25 years of nonproliferation programs. As a result, what remains are the most difficult problems. As WMD technologies and knowledge continue to spread, and as new threats emerge—including highly motivated nonstate groups—it will be increasingly important to harness, integrate, and draw actionable conclusions from new and diverse information streams. Whether monitoring compliance with IAEA safeguards commitments, tracking the status of foreign nuclear weapon programs, or using high-performance computing capabilities to model the earth’s crust in detail to enable the improved monitoring of underground nuclear explosions, LLNL advances creative methodologies to solve inherently difficult problems. At the same time, our experts work in the far reaches of the globe to raise awareness and capability in support of nuclear safeguards and security, cyber security, verification technologies, and export controls, thereby enhancing international security.
At the request of Department of Energy Secretary Moniz, leading up to the 2015 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, DC, LLNL will be hosting a ministerial-level scenario-based policy discussion. We expect about 25 ministers from around the world to interactively engage on key issues related to nuclear security, such as nuclear forensics, atmospheric modeling, and emergency response.
LLNL leverages the capabilities it has developed to support the Stockpile Stewardship Program, in addition to world-leading expertise in seismic modeling, radiation detection, and nuclear forensics to support USG goals in nonproliferation.
Bill Walter discusses data from the Source Physics Experiment 4 Prime
Department of Energy/Nuclear National Security Agency and Department of State