Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Site 300

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Site 300, located in northern California approximately 15 miles southeast of the Laboratory's Main Site and six miles southwest of Tracy, occupies 11 square miles, about 7,000 acres. Site 300 is an experimental test site operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, for the DOE National Nuclear Security Administration. It was purchased from local ranchers in the 1950s and in 1955 established as a non-nuclear explosives test facility. The name originates when the main laboratory was called Site 200 and the test facility was Site 300 and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) was Site 100. Many years ago, LLNL and LBNL were known as the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory, after the founder Ernest O. Lawrence (Nobel Prize winner and inventor of the cyclotron).

First owned by the Atomic Energy Commission, Site 300's primary mission was to test high explosives. Site 300 had solid waste landfills, in which it stored waste for LLNL, Site 300, and LBNL; but the activity was ended in November 1988. Site 300 also had waste lagoons, which were replaced with two double-lined surface impoundments and capped between 1989 and 1990, and dry wells, which were taken out of service, for liquid waste disposal.

Past operations involving the processing, testing, and deactivation of explosive materials resulted in soil and ground water contamination at the site. Several plumes of contamination were also detected in ground water offsite. In 1981, DOE began investigation and characterization at Site 300. In 1989, EPA issued a Corrective Action Order under Section 3008(h) of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). In 1990, Site 300 was placed on the Environmental Protection Agency National Priorities List, also known as the Superfund program. Progress has since been made in the restoration and cleanup of contaminated soil and ground water.

Research and testing at Site 300 supports the LLNL nuclear weapons program. Hydrodynamic testing and advanced diagnostics, including high-speed optics and X-ray radiography, are used to test non-nuclear weapons components. The work supports the NNSA's Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP). Site 300 performs shock physics experiments to test materials under high pressure and at high temperatures and creates explosives for the SSP. The LLNL, along with Bay Area Regional Deformation Northern California Continuous GPS Network and Trimble Navigation Limited, operates a Global Positioning System (GPS) Constantly Operating Reference Station (CORS) at Site 300. Site 300 employs about 200 people. It also has its own fire department, security force, and administrative and support personnel.

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