DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY'S
BUDGET REQUEST FOR FY 1997
Hearing of the Subcommittee on Military Procurement
Committee on National Security
US House of Representatives
March 12, 1996
Hearing of the Subcommittee on Strategic Forces
Committee on Armed Services
March 13, 1996
C. Bruce Tarter, Director
University of California
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- STOCKPILE STEWARDSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
- STEMMING THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND OTHER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
- INSTITUTIONAL AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES
- SUMMARY REMARKS
INTRODUCTIONMr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I am the Director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL). We were founded in 1952 as a nuclear weapons laboratory, and national security continues to be our central mission.
I am here today to support the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program being pursued by DOE Defense Programs at the three national security laboratories (Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia), the Nevada Test Site, and the production facilities in the nuclear weapons complex. I intend to highlight how Livermore fits into this highly integrated program whose goal is to maintain confidence in the safety and reliability of the enduring US nuclear weapons stockpile. I am also here to support another aspect of our global security work--our important contributions to national efforts in nonproliferation, arms control, and international security. Largely sponsored by the DOE Office of Nonproliferation and National Security, these analytic, policy-support, and technology-development activities build on and reinforce nuclear expertise resident at Livermore. We are a "full-service" nuclear weapons technology laboratory--committed to both maintaining the enduring US nuclear weapons stockpile and dealing with the dangers posed by nuclear proliferation in the post-Cold War world.
During this past year, the President reached two critical decisions that established the course for future nuclear-weapons activities in the United States. First, the President announced on August 11, 1995, that the US would pursue a Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) with no permitted nuclear weapon test explosions. In making that decision, he also reaffirmed the importance of maintaining a safe and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile. Then, on September 25, 1995, the President directed necessary programmatic activities to ensure continued stockpile performance:
"To meet the challenge of ensuring confidence in the safety and reliability of our stockpile, I have concluded that the continued vitality of all three DOE nuclear weapons laboratories will be essential... In accordance with this conclusion, I have directed the Department of Energy to maintain nuclear weapons responsibilities and capabilities adequate to support the science-based stockpile stewardship program."The mandated science-based Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program is a cost-conscious, integrated response to several highly significant changes since the end of the Cold War. It includes enhanced stockpile surveillance because the enduring stockpile is smaller, continues to grow older, and includes fewer types of weapons. To compensate for no nuclear testing, it includes a revalidation process to assess stockpile performance when physical changes are noted (or predicted) and to devise and validate remedial actions when they are needed. This process relies on a more fundamental understanding of nuclear weapons issues, better nonnuclear experiments, and more sophisticated computer simulations. In addition, for a production complex that is currently in need of modernization, the Program includes an agile manufacturing capability to refurbish and replace aging and defective components in an affordable and environmentally-responsible manner. Finally, the Program also includes the supply of tritium for weapons.
The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program is a major technological undertaking that requires the integrated efforts of all aspects of the weapons complex. It also requires adequate investment--on the order of $4 billion per year for a decade--and flexibility to achieve a proper balance among the aforementioned program elements. Maintenance of confidence in the reliability and safety of the stockpile will suffer if we overinvest in one area at another's expense. There is no single "silver bullet" which can supersede the full set of integrated needs. Greater funding would increase the likelihood that this very challenging Program will succeed; conversely, less funding will increase risks. It is exceedingly important that we have a strong start in the early years to ensure the Program's success.
Program success also requires effective partnerships among the laboratories and between the laboratories and the production facilities. For the taxpayers' benefit, we must ensure that the special skills and unique facilities existing at one site are used efficiently to help work issues at another site. My testimony will include examples of partnerships that Livermore is pursuing with the other laboratories, with the Nevada Test Site, with the Y12 Plant, with the Department of Defense, and with American high-technology industries.
Livermore's global security responsibilities extend beyond stewardship of the US nuclear weapons stockpile. In his statement about a CTBT on August 11, 1995, the President emphasized the importance of pursuing:
"...a comprehensive research and development program to improve our treaty monitoring capabilities and operations [and] continuing development of a broad range of intelligence gathering and analytical capabilities and operations to ensure accurate and comprehensive information on worldwide nuclear arsenals, nuclear weapons development programs, and related nuclear programs."The proliferation of weapons of mass destruction represents a major challenge to our national security, and countering this threat requires a multi-pronged approach. DOE and its laboratories provide expertise and technology to support arms control policy development, arms control verification, and intelligence analysis of nuclear weapons activities worldwide. Livermore has played a very prominent role in these efforts, and we are undertaking leadership roles to counter the emerging threats of nuclear smuggling and nuclear terrorism. To help prevent theft of nuclear materials, we are also heavily involved in activities to improve fissile material control and facilitate nuclear weapons dismantlement in Russia.
The technical issues we face in stockpile stewardship and management and in nonproliferation and arms control are extremely challenging. They place significant demands on Livermore's scientific and engineering excellence. I will discuss each of these mission areas in turn, with examples of partnership activities and new initiatives. I will then mention some laboratory management issues and close with a short summary.
STOCKPILE STEWARDSHIP AND MANAGEMENT
The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program calls for radical changes--many already underway--in the manner in which the weapons complex conducts business. It entails cost-cutting, making necessary investments, and adjusting to new circumstances: fewer weapons, fewer types of weapons, no production of new types of weapons, an aging stockpile, a production capability in need of modernization, and no nuclear testing. In addition to the supply of an adequate amount of tritium for weapons, the Program consists of three major elements to support a small, enduring nuclear stockpile:
- An enhanced surveillance program to understand and predict the effects of
aging. An enhanced surveillance program does not mean simply more
surveillance; it means smarter surveillance. With fewer types of weapons in
the stockpile and much less capacity to work on weapons in the production
complex of the future, we must become more proficient at detecting potential
problems early to provide adequate time for reanalysis and action, if
necessary. This calls for research and development activities in three
- We must improve data bases on the performance of stockpiled weapons so that
we can ascertain when observed behavior in aging weapons is anomalous. These
activities include building a modern nonnuclear experimental data base for
stockpiled weapons. Many of the nonnuclear experiments on the systems were
done 10-15 years ago. Today, much better techniques are available. In
addition to these new experiments, we need to make existing archival data more
accessible and useful to stockpile stewards.
- We must improve the sensors and techniques used to inspect stockpiled
weapons. For example, new nondestructive evaluation techniques, such as
acoustic, x-ray, and neutron tomography, can reduce the number of weapon
components that must be destructively tested. Other advanced sensors are being
developed--most with industrial collaboration--to enable continuous monitoring
of key aging signatures within stockpiled weapons.
- We must develop a better understanding of how aging affects the physical
characteristics of a material and the resultant impact on weapon reliability
and safety. Our pursuit of the "science of aging" entails activities such as
molecular dynamics modeling on computers and atomic force microscopy to look at
the effects of corrosion on an atomistic level. We are in the process of
establishing an enhanced materials database (using surveillance and
dismantlement data) and developing sophisticated computational techniques to
better analyze these data.
- We must improve data bases on the performance of stockpiled weapons so that we can ascertain when observed behavior in aging weapons is anomalous. These activities include building a modern nonnuclear experimental data base for stockpiled weapons. Many of the nonnuclear experiments on the systems were done 10-15 years ago. Today, much better techniques are available. In addition to these new experiments, we need to make existing archival data more accessible and useful to stockpile stewards.
- A revalidation process--backed by a set of new experimental tools--to
support high-confidence assessment and certification when issues about
stockpile performance occur. The Stockpile Stewardship and Management
Program includes a comprehensive assessment program to address issues that
arise from the enhanced surveillance program and to evaluate the significance
of observed and predicted aging processes. This program also reviews the
viability of options for refurbishing or replacing specific warhead components
and the viability of new production and fabrication processes and materials.
These efforts are to be tied to formal processes with the DoD for assessing stockpile weapons and modification actions. A joint DoD/DOE Dual Revalidation Program process has been developed. It was confirmed by the Nuclear Weapons Council, which directed that the W76 be the first weapon reviewed. We are currently working on establishing a Joint Certification Program with DoD to formally certify weapon performance after necessary stockpile modifications.
The quality of these revalidation activities depends on the competence of technical staff at the national security laboratories and their judgments. As the scientific underpinning of revalidation, they will have to rely on numerical simulation with advanced computer models and above-ground nonnuclear testing in more capable experimental facilities. Science-based stewardship will have replaced nuclear testing as the means to assure confidence in the reliability, safety and performance of stockpile.
Important components of the scientific backing for the revalidation program include the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI), which is discussed below, and new experimental facilities to be constructed. These include the National Ignition Facility and the Contained Firing Facility at Livermore, the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Facility and the Atlas Facility at Los Alamos, and the Process and Environmental Technology Laboratory at Sandia. These scientific frontier-expanding investments will both provide essential data for stockpile stewardship and maintain expertise unique to nuclear weapons in a staff that will increasingly have no nuclear test experience.
- A small, efficient manufacturing capability to refurbish and replace aging
and defective components. The production facilities of the future must be
agile and highly capable, yet affordable. With cost constraints and the
planned much smaller stockpile of the future, the focus will be on capability,
not capacity. Choices of production technologies will emphasize flexibility
and will utilize modern commercial methods wherever possible. Clearly, there
must be a much closer tie between research and development on remedies to
problems that arise in the stockpile and manufacturing capabilities at the
The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program calls for integration of weapon components development with the required system engineering and associated manufacturing and materials processes. This concurrent engineering approach will reduce costs and provide flexibility to respond to potential needs rapidly. Its success depends on our ability to develop computer-based models of the performance of replacement weapon components and on our ability to simulate associated manufacturing processes so that we can study trade-off options efficiently and quickly. In support of this overall effort, the nuclear complex-wide Advanced Design and Production Technologies (ADaPT) initiative is developing techniques and technologies needed to develop new and innovative manufacturing processes that reduce cost, improve efficiency, and reduce waste production.
Enhanced Stockpile Surveillance. A critical issue in enhanced surveillance is the development of a better understanding of how aging affects the physical characteristics of a material and how these changes impact weapon reliability and safety. With a better understanding of aging, our enhanced surveillance program can be more predictive, which would enable systematic refurbishment and "preventative maintenance" activities--rather than expensive and high-production-rate replacement activities when aging effects have a severe impact on weapon performance.
There are many different types of materials in weapons whose aging effects must be better understood. Some are organic compounds, such as high explosives, which can be expected to degrade over time. By comparison, plutonium is a much more stable material in weapons; however, its properties are among the most complex of all the elements. In addition, if remanufacture of plutonium parts is required, long lead times will be necessary because of the limited capacity the system will have. To understand the performance of an imploding pit of a stockpiled weapon, we need to know much more about aged plutonium--its microstructure and its equation of state at relevant temperatures and pressures.
We are conducting a variety of experiments to obtain better data on the properties of plutonium. Some of these activities, such as our diamond anvil experiments, can be pursued in the laboratory with minute quantities of plutonium under highly controlled conditions, and we are working at facilities at Brookhaven National Laboratory to field such experiments. Other activities need to be conducted at the Nevada Test Site (NTS). We are working in partnership with NTS and Los Alamos to execute a series of subcritical experiments to study the properties of plutonium shocked and accelerated by high explosives. The first experiments are scheduled for later this year.
In these experiments, we will study a number of important properties of plutonium and generate data that can be used in our computational models. Sophisticated diagnostics, including the use of laser holography, will allow us to gather information about the plutonium equation of state at conditions similar to those during weapon implosion. We will also measure properties of the ejecta that comes off an accelerated plate of plutonium as a function of surface finish and other important properties. This will help us understand and better model the phenomena of mixing, which affects the performance of primaries in stockpiled weapons.
A Science-Based Revalidation Process. Decisions about the stockpile must be grounded in experimental reality and simulations using detailed, calibrated computer models. At Livermore we operate state-of-the-art experimental facilities for the integrated complex, including the High Explosives Applications Facility (HEAF), the Flash X-Ray facility at Site 300, and the Nova laser system. This past year, for example, weapon scientists from Livermore and Los Alamos conducted more than 200 experiments with the Nova laser to study hydrodynamic instabilities and mixing, material opacity, equations of state, and other aspects of weapon physics. These experiments generated important information about the physical processes occurring in nuclear weapons, and their results provided essential feedback and information for our physics computer codes.
A critically important thrust in the science-based revalidation process is improvement of the computer models we use. Numerical simulation and computer models, benchmarked with historical nuclear test data and results from laboratory experiments, will be the principal tools for assuring stockpile performance in the future. In the absence of nuclear testing, we need more realism in the computer simulations--improved models of physical effects, greater resolution, and use of three spatial dimensions to model unsymmetrical physical phenomena (such as those produced by aging effects). This calls for a 10,000- to a 1,000,000-fold increase in computer speed and data storage capacity.
The objective of the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI), a central element in the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program, is to vastly improve the high-performance computing capability at the national security laboratories. ASCI is a research partnership in which the laboratories have begun to work with industrial firms to develop technologies--including software, data storage, and communications environments--that address the specific problems of the highest-end weapons physics models. Multiple vendors may participate in various partnerships, yet each partnership will proceed in a way that ensures portability of major weapons codes between platforms.
The proposed ASCI budget in FY 1997 is $122 million, a sizable fraction of which is intended for procurement of prototype high-end supercomputers from American industry. We will be buying--and working with our industrial partners to debug, refine, and improve--computational capabilities which should reach the commercial marketplace ten years hence.
Our research partnerships with the computer industry will build on the "business plans" of the vendors. The building blocks of our supercomputers will be "off-the-shelf" processors. These "commodity" parts range from single-processor building blocks to shared-memory systems with 8 to 100+ processors. ASCI is not intended to drive processor development. That is a $100 billion industry. Rather, ASCI intends to build on the "business plans" of the vendors--how they intend to cluster the commodity building blocks into systems with ever-increasing capability. These partnerships will expedite the process. We will obtain computing capabilities that we need for stockpile stewardship and management. Industry will obtain for their prototype computer systems sophisticated customers who can help refine concepts and develop necessary software.
One approach to more powerful supercomputing follows the path of the current state-of-the-art supercomputers at the national laboratories--single massively parallel processing (MPP) machines, with large numbers of individual nodes each with its own memory, tightly coupled via a custom, high-speed network. Some software applications work exceedingly well in an MPP architecture; others present difficulties which are yet to be overcome even on small scale machines. Complementary approaches to more powerful supercomputing use as a building block shared-memory processors (SMPs). Here, the challenge for ASCI is the seamless integration of a large number of these SMP machines to create the capabilities we need. As the individual SMPs represent the high-volume segment of the commercial market, this general approach will benefit from a much richer software environment.
We have already initiated one research partnership to provide a "TeraFLOPS" supercomputer by end of calendar 1996. A "TeraFLOPS" supercomputer performs a trillion floating-point operations per second, which, operating at even a modest 10% efficiency, represents a 1,000- to 10,000-fold improvement over the capability of our best current supercomputer. This will allow us to perform some 3D hydrodynamics calculations coupled with radiation transport, which is an important but modest program milestone. We are in the process of soliciting two additional research partnerships, each to provide a "several-TeraFLOPS" supercomputer by the middle of 1998. Our fourth partnership is envisioned as a "10-TeraFLOPS" capability in the year 2000.
The three laboratory sites will each provide both open and secure "TeraFLOPS" capability. It is anticipated that the primary secure usage will be local. However, the research nature of the ASCI partnerships requires seamless remote access for some fraction of the ASCI applications development teams. Open, remote access is also necessary to foster effective working partnerships with research universities and other centers of excellence for high-performance computing.
Our strategy of pursuing multiple approaches and creating multiple industrial research partnerships is aimed at accelerating existing performance trends to meet our specific needs. It is not possible to predict which technology path will lead to the best results; indeed, it is unlikely that a single technical approach will serve all program requirements. Therefore, the research partnerships must overlap both in time and in technical approach in order to achieve high payoff with manageable risk, ensure flexibility, avoid dependence on single vendors, and serve diverse program needs.
An Agile Manufacturing Capability. LLNL is developing technologies to provide cost-effective manufacturing capabilities to replace aging weapon components or refurbish them to extend their life. This is an urgent need. In the near-term we must be capable of replacing any questionable components to important weapon systems--even as the production capability is being restructured to be consistent with future stockpile needs. Some of our manufacturing and refurbishment efforts entail making effective use of industrial partnerships to pursue technologies in precision fabrication and non-destructive evaluation. These activities, which are part of the nuclear weapons complex-wide Advanced Design and Production Technologies (ADaPT) initiative, are designed to provide cost-effective technologies for use in ongoing refurbishment activities at the earliest possible date.
We have ongoing activities to extend the life of the W87. The objective is to enhance the structural integrity of the W87 so that it may remain part of the enduring stockpile beyond the year 2025 and will meet anticipated future requirements for the system. The W87 warhead/Mk21 reentry vehicle (RV) is the leading candidate for a single RV option for the Minuteman III ICBM. It is the most modern and safe US nuclear warhead. It incorporates all "Drell safety" features: Insensitive High Explosive, a Fire Resistant Pit, and an Enhanced Nuclear Detonation Safety.
The W87 Life Extension Program (LEP) exercises many aspects of the nuclear weapons complex and provides a model of how stockpile stewardship and management must work. Livermore has worked closely with the Air Force, the DOE production agencies and plants, and the other weapons laboratories to ensure that the warhead alterations can be carried through at the plants and will meet the requirements of the customer.
Interactions with the DoD include a detailed examination of the current operating environment of the W87/Mk21, as well as a projection into the future of how that environment may change. W87 LEP activities include flight testing, ground testing, and physics and engineering analysis. We work with Air Force Space Command and defense contractors to interpret and apply the data obtained. These activities are being coordinated by a Joint DoD/DOE Working Group under the direction of the Nuclear Weapons Council.
W87 LEP warhead refurbishment activities involve the Pantex Plant, Allied Signal in Kansas City, and the Y12 Plant in Oak Ridge. We involved the plants early in the LEP so that an option is developed that meets performance requirements and can be produced efficiently with high quality. Operations at the Y12 Plant have provided the greatest challenge for the W87 LEP because of the suspension of many operations at that facility. As a work-around, Livermore has been building the mock W87 hardware required for the development phase of the LEP.
In consultation with Y12 engineers and facility managers, we are developing refurbishment processes and equipment to be used for full scale production. Our emphasis is on the use of modular workstations and new technologies to reduce waste, floor space, and necessary equipment. An example is the use of laser technology developed at LLNL to cut certain high-value parts. The importance of this technology is that the amount of material removed in the laser-cutting process is extremely small, with almost no damage to the remaining material. The process not only preserves the existing part, but it essentially eliminates the waste stream created in the traditional remanufacturing process.
A demonstration project is underway to show the feasibility of using lasers to cut high-value parts in the W87. The project utilizes capabilities developed in the Inertial Confinement Fusion program and in the Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation program along with technologies that have been developed over the last several years in Cooperative Research and Development Agreements with various industrial partners. The demonstration will be conducted in an environmentally controlled workstation designed and built at Livermore in a cooperative effort with Y12 personnel. If the demonstration is successful, the technology can be transferred to the production environment. While this technology will be specifically developed for the W87 LEP, it has general applicability to several stockpile systems and could be applied to future refurbishment programs.
Finally, we must determine whether the alterations could have any appreciable effect on nuclear yield and certify the performance of the refurbished weapon. We are using archival information, data gathered in new experiments (including some using the Nova laser), and a combination of established computer simulation techniques and new ones. Los Alamos has been an active observer at all phases of the W87 LEP, and formal peer review has taken place in the conceptual phase and the final development phase of the program. As we move into final testing and evaluation, further in-depth review will be requested before LLNL certifies the final refurbishment option.
Livermore's responsibilities for the enduring stockpile include the B83 bomb, the W84 cruise missile warhead, and the W87 ICBM warhead. These are the only systems in the inventory with all the modern safety features, and they are expected to endure past their originally anticipated lifetimes. In addition, Livermore is responsible for the W62 ICBM warhead, which is to remain in the active inventory past the end of the decade. We are developing comprehensive plans to extend the life of these systems, and significant effort currently is being expended on their surveillance, maintenance, and selective refurbishment. Our efforts in the W87 Life Extension Program have previously been described.
Special User Facilities at LLNL. Livermore has additional responsibilities in the Program because of our special skills and capabilities and the unique user facilities that exist at Livermore. In addition to a number of important but smaller science and engineering facilities, these include:
- the High Explosives Applications Facility (HEAF), which is the most
modern facility for high explosives research in the world;
- the Nova laser facility, which--until construction of the National
Ignition Facility--remains the premiere facility in the world for conducting
high-energy density physics experiments essential to evaluation of important
nuclear weapons issues;
- the Flash X-Ray facility at Site 300, which is currently the most
capable hydrodynamic test facility in the world;
- the Secure and Open Computing Facilities at LLNL, which meet our
core program needs for stockpile stewardship and serve as a testbed for
development of high-performance computing hardware and software;
- the AVLIS facility and program, with the most advanced capabilities
in the world for conducting research and development on industrial-scale
processes involving uranium; and
- the Superblock, small, but modern facilities for special nuclear materials research and engineering testing.
The National Ignition Facility. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) was identified by the Assistant Secretary of Energy for Defense Programs, Victor Reis, as being "the most important new facility" in the Defense Programs budget request last year. The NIF is a cornerstone of the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program. It is the only facility that will permit well-diagnosed experiments pertinent to fusion and high-energy-density physics processes which occur after the high explosive is detonated. The NIF is also the critical next step in the development of Inertial Confinement Fusion (ICF) as an environmentally attractive energy source, and it will serve as a user facility for a wide range of fundamental scientific research. Initial operational capability is planned for late 2002. To keep to this effort on schedule and on budget, DOE Defense Programs has requested $191 million for the NIF project in FY 1997.
This FY 1997 budget request has two components: a $132 million line item for NIF construction and $59 million as a portion of the roughly $240 million FY 1997 national ICF base program. I urge full funding for both the NIF and the national ICF base program. These highly interrelated efforts have recently been favorably reviewed by the Inertial Confinement Fusion Advisory Committee and the JASONs. The JASON report concluded: "we are convinced that the present ICF program does make an important contribution to science-based stockpile stewardship, and that the NIF will substantially increase this contribution."
The NIF will consist of the laser system and optical components, a target chamber, and computer control system all in an environmentally controlled building. The laser, consisting of 192 beams to deliver 1.8 million joules and "ignite" small fusion targets, will be the world's largest optical instrument. Its construction will allow America to retain world leadership in ICF. It will advance US high technology industries such as those in optics, lasers, materials, high-speed instrumentation, semiconductors, and precision manufacturing. The DOE has estimated that at the peak of activities the project will create about 3,000 construction and manufacturing jobs nationwide.
Following completion of the Conceptual Design Report in April 1994, Secretary O'Leary announced her approval of Key Decision 1 for the NIF in October 1994, which allowed the next phase of NIF design to begin. At that time, the Secretary established a formal process to evaluate the consistency of the facility with US arms control and nonproliferation objectives. The completed study, which went through interagency review, concluded that the "technical proliferation concerns of the NIF are manageable and therefore can be made acceptable" and that "the NIF can contribute positively to US arms control and nonproliferation policy goals."
Substantial progress has been made on the NIF project this past year. We have completed an updated Quality Assurance Plan, the Project Execution Plan, the Title I Plan, and Advanced Conceptual Design. Selection has been made of the NIF project architect and engineering contractor. In addition, together with Los Alamos, Sandia, and University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics, we began the next phase of design work (Title I) for the NIF.
We also continued our experiments using the Beamlet laser, which is a full-scale prototype of a NIF beam. This work is providing us high confidence in NIF performance, schedule, and cost goals. We have demonstrated NIF laser performance on a per-unit-area basis, and we are now testing the target illumination capability of the system.
The NIF will attract talented scientists and engineers to contribute to stockpile stewardship because multiple benefits will derive from a vigorous ICF program in the coming decades. As a user facility, the NIF will support research on:
- National Security. The NIF will provide access to high-energy
density physics regimes essential to evaluation of important nuclear weapons
issues. Scientists will be able to obtain nuclear-weapon-related physics data,
particularly in the area of fusion and the high-energy-density physics which
occurs after the high explosive is detonated for comparison with advanced
numerical simulations. These include high-quality opacity data for partially
ionized materials, valuable information about the mixing of layers of different
materials during implosion, and data that can help us assess the impact of
cracks and other abnormalities on weapon performance. Other experiments will
be able to provide valuable data on nuclear weapons effects issues. Moreover,
the NIF will help us evaluate issues for existing designs and improve and test
computational models, but it will not enable us to design new weapons per se.
- Fusion Energy. The NIF is an essential element in the program
for the development of inertial fusion energy for civilian power production.
If net fusion energy gain is demonstrated, as anticipated, the NIF will
constitute a crucial step towards the ultimate goal of providing energy
security for the US in the 21st century. The role of the NIF and ICF as the
principle alternate to the Tokamak was acknowledged by the recent Fusion Energy
Advisory Committee report.
- Science and Technology. The NIF will produce conditions in matter similar to those found at the center of the sun and other stars. New, well-characterized, high-energy-density regimes will be routinely accessible in the laboratory for the first time. The NIF will advance scientific and technical fields such as astrophysical sciences, plasma physics, atomic and radiative physics, hydrodynamics, materials science, advanced coherent and incoherent x-ray sources, nonlinear optics, and computational physics. Scientific progress in those fields will, in turn, provide enhanced understanding of the physical conditions in nuclear weapons.
The Contained Firing Facility at Site 300. Hydrodynamic testing is the only currently available way of experimentally testing the high-explosives-initiated implosion phase of a nuclear detonation. These are critical experiments for understanding weapon safety, assessing the performance of weapon primaries, and evaluating the feasibility of approaches for safely disabling a nuclear device. The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program includes funding for construction of the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility (DARHT) at LANL and for upgrade of the Flash X-Ray facility (FXR) at LLNL's Site 300 to make it a Contained Firing Facility. Containment of the FXR test bed and the debris from explosive experiments will enhance this important national capability and permit its continued use even if there are future, more stringent environmental restrictions. Investment in the Contained Firing Facility ensures our ability to continue critically important hydrodynamic experimentation into the 21st century.
The FXR is the best diagnostic tool currently available for measuring integrated performance of nuclear weapon primaries by nonnuclear testing. We continue to improve its capability. Last year a major upgrade was completed to increase the power of the electron beam produced by the linear accelerator at the facility. During a hydrodynamic experiment a tantalum target converts the electron beam into an intense X-ray beam, which is used to take an X-ray picture of the test object. The upgrade permits us to obtain a higher resolution X-ray photograph of an imploding mock primary and to take the picture even later during in the implosion process when the material is extremely dense. Our next planned upgrade, which has just begun and is due to be completed in about two years, allows scientists to take two pictures during an experiment and directly determine the velocity of the imploding materials.
STEMMING THE PROLIFERATION OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND OTHER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
Nation-states or rogue subnational units, such as terrorists, might acquire nuclear capability through the theft and subsequent sale of fissile materials or weapons. Alternatively, proliferation can occur through indigenous development programs that draw on the increasing availability of nuclear technology and the continuing spread of nuclear expertise. Livermore's arms control and nonproliferation activities respond to both of these troubling proliferation scenarios. Our efforts are concentrated in three areas:
- Controlling nuclear material at its source and stemming the spread of nuclear know-how. Since the break up of the Soviet Union, this has been a major thrust area for the DOE national laboratories. Our principal activities relate to control of fissile material throughout the Newly Independent States (NIS), support of Russian efforts in weapons dismantlement and materials disposition, and cooperative threat reduction in the NIS through defense conversion activities at their nuclear laboratories.
- Countering nuclear smuggling and nuclear explosive terrorism. In spite of best efforts at control, some nuclear material might get into the wrong hands. And events this past year in Oklahoma City, Tokyo, London, and Tel Aviv soberly warn us of the danger posed by the possibility of nuclear terrorism. The threat of WMD terrorism has become a high priority national concern. Livermore is taking the lead in aspects of countering nuclear smuggling and nuclear terrorism through new initiatives which I will describe. These efforts should be strengthened, and they could be widened to counter chemical and biological threats through application of many similar detection and analysis techniques.
- Detecting and reversing nuclear weapons activities by nation-states. These activities include long-standing Livermore programs in intelligence analysis, in sensor development for detecting and monitoring WMD activities, and in support of treaty negotiation and implementation.
Control of Fissile Material throughout the NIS. Livermore contributes to the Los Alamos-led multi-laboratory DOE program to improve nuclear material protection, control, and accountability (MPC&A) at Russian facilities. As part of this effort, LLNL has the lead in assessing the vulnerability of storage facilities and providing measurement systems for fissile material to Russian institutes so that they can establish and verify nuclear material inventories.
In addition, our interactions in other Newly Independent States helped identify the existence of hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium in Kazakhstan, which were subsequently withdrawn to the US in the highly successful Project Sapphire led by Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1994. Afterwards, we led a multilaboratory team that developed a program to provide technical assistance to Kazakhstan.
Russian Warhead Dismantlement and Materials Disposition. LLNL has a lead technical role in the negotiations for Mutual Reciprocal Inspections of fissile material removed from dismantled nuclear weapons. This is an initiative with Russia to gain confidence in the process of nuclear warhead dismantlement. We participate in the DOE Transparency Working Group, which develops white papers for the Interagency suggesting US positions on various possible monitoring arrangements. LLNL is now chairing an effort to evaluate warhead radiation signatures for tracking warheads through the dismantlement process. We have had exchange meetings on these issues with the Russians, which have included technical demonstrations at Livermore's plutonium facility.
In addition, LLNL continues its lead-laboratory role in the development and implementation of transparency measures associated with the purchase of highly-enriched uranium from Russia. We have provided technical guidance on monitoring visits and familiarization visits to technical facilities in Russia and at the two transparency review committee meetings.
Finally, the DOE is evaluating alternative means for disposition of excess fissile materials. Livermore is responsible for assessment of two of the options (geological disposition in a deep borehole and immobilization in either glass or ceramics) and for technical work on the immobilization option. The US has recently engaged the Russians in parallel studies. This issue is expected to be addressed at the summit meeting on nuclear safety to be held in Moscow in the spring of 1996. Recently, we hosted a meeting of the US and Russian delegations in which proposals were developed for joint experimentation to advance disposition technology in both countries.
Commercial development activities at NIS weapons institutes. Livermore is heavily involved in international nonproliferation efforts aimed at engaging those with nuclear know-how in the NIS in commercially viable work with non-weapons and civilian applications. LLNL is a principal participant in the Industrial Partnering Program, which pursues defense conversion of former nuclear weapons institutes in the NIS through partnerships with DOE laboratories and American industry in projects that have commercial potential. Livermore is involved in over 20 projects--many initiated last year--that employ over 400 NIS weapons scientists.
Countering Nuclear Smuggling. As part of a priority US effort to combat the threat of nuclear smuggling, DOE was made the lead agency for technical analysis of nuclear trafficking incidents and for MPC&A cooperation (described earlier). LLNL is leading two important efforts to counter nuclear smuggling:
- Support to law enforcement and other agencies in assessing illicit nuclear
trafficking cases and in training US and foreign officials. DOE's assessment
capability for illicit nuclear trafficking, centered at Livermore, is a unique
national and international resource in dealing with actual or alleged cases of
nuclear smuggling. Closely affiliated with our long-standing nuclear threat
credibility assessment capability, this program draws on all-source databases
(including details on incidents dating back to 1966) and experienced analysts
to provide on-call support to law enforcement and other officials in the US and
abroad. In 1995 we provided technical assessments to law enforcement agencies
in many separate cases involving the attempted illegal sale of alleged nuclear
materials; and, related to counter-nuclear terrorism, we direct and participate
in the credibility assessment of nuclear extortion threats targeting the US.
We also train foreign police and customs officials to be more effective in detecting and investigating nuclear trafficking. We provided instruction at the International Law Enforcement Academy in Budapest, at other international customs seminars and conferences, and in various bilateral settings. We have also designed and tested a nuclear material identification kit that can be used by inspectors at checkpoints or suspected sites for detecting nuclear smuggling. Early versions are now available to US government agencies.
- Forensic analysis of seized materials to gain information about their
origin and route. A few extremely significant nuclear smuggling cases have
involved the seizure of kilogram quantities of genuine, weapons-usable nuclear
materials. In such cases, it is vitally important to learn as much as we can
about the stolen materials and their origin, so that officials can shore up
security deficiencies, determine whether additional material is at large, and
prosecute the criminals involved. Detailed forensic analysis of confiscated
materials and associated packaging can play an important role, and in 1995 LLNL
led a multilaboratory DOE effort to select and apply relevant techniques to
this problem. Because most seizures have occurred abroad, international
cooperation is indispensable.
In November 1995, LLNL hosted the highly successful International
Conference on Nuclear Smuggling Forensic Analysis, which brought together a
mix of technical, intelligence, and law enforcement experts from 14 countries
to compare experiences and techniques. Notable was the participation by the
Russian Federation, which can play a pivotal role in helping to determine
sources of smuggled nuclear material.
The Conference paved the way for ongoing technical cooperation through the creation of an International Technical Working Group (ITWG) and an agreement to conduct international exercises. At the first meeting of the ITWG earlier this year, plans were developed for an international interlaboratory exercise, which will include the analysis of the highly-enriched uranium seized in an actual nuclear smuggling case in 1994. A follow-on meeting of the ITWG is planned for this summer in Moscow.
Countering Nuclear Explosive Terrorism. Countering the covert delivery of nuclear devices against the US is closely related to countering the smuggling of nuclear materials since many similar detection and analysis methods can be used. Our approach is to build on our extensive experience with DOE's Nuclear Emergency Search Team (NEST), the Threat Credibility Assessment Center, the Accident Response Group, the Radiological Assistance Program, and the Federal Radiological Management Assessment Center. Our new efforts include evaluating the risk, developing improved techniques for detection and disablement, and devising new investment strategies for dealing with nuclear terrorism:
- Evaluating the risk of stockpile theft. Using new research in
human reliability and new security simulation codes, we recently completed an
assessment of the risks associated with the theft of a nuclear weapon from the
US stockpile by a terrorist group and the subsequent use of that weapon against
this country. Our findings will improve our understanding of security needs
for nuclear weapons storage worldwide.
- Developing a new concept for fissile-material detection--Wide Area
Tracking System (WATS). WATS is a concept for detecting covertly-delivered
nuclear devices with a system that can be deployed rapidly to detect the
movement of nuclear materials. The WATS project is expected to transition into
a formal DoD/DOE Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) in FY 1997.
During the first year of the two-year ACTD effort, we will work with the
military to determine operational requirements and complete the hardware
- Developing new techniques for the disablement of improvised nuclear
devices (INDs). We are striving to develop high-confidence techniques that
can be used to disable, without producing any nuclear yield, a large spectrum
of possible INDs which might be encountered in a nuclear terrorist incident.
Results to date have been very positive. However, at the current level of
funding, development and proof testing of our next field deployable technique
is several years away. Funding limitations have also necessitated placing on
hold the pursuit of other promising advanced disablement concepts.
- Initiating a comprehensive study. We are initiating a comprehensive study to better understand US needs and appropriate technological and systems solutions to counter nuclear (and other WMD) terrorist threats. Our goal is to determine how the national laboratories and other agencies can best leverage their resources, so that the most important and most tractable problems receive the greatest effort.
Intelligence Analysis and Policy Support. Livermore has been supporting the US intelligence community for 30 years by tracking and analyzing the nuclear developments in countries of importance to US nonproliferation goals. Our technical support assists US policy makers in taking actions to encourage the exclusively peaceful use of nuclear technology and to discourage the proliferation of nuclear weapons. In addition, we have completed numerous studies of the paths to nuclear weapons production being taken by several proliferant countries. These analyses are used by many government agencies that deal with proliferation issues as they evaluate possible response options and develop policy strategies to reduce regional tensions and motivations for WMD proliferation.
We also have supported the US government in negotiations with countries such as India, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Russia, South Africa, and Ukraine. In addition, we evaluate for DOE an average of five to ten export requests a week concerning prospective illegal or inappropriate exports of information or commodities. We make certain that US exports are in compliance with federal law and international nonproliferation commitments.
Sensor Development for Detecting and Monitoring WMD Activities. Nonproliferation sensor research and development constitutes our largest program effort for DOE's Office of Nonproliferation and National Security. This work, coordinated with that of other DOE labs and government agencies, focuses on the development of unique instrumentation and techniques for use by the US military, intelligence, and arms control communities. LLNL-developed sensors are used in international operations for treaty-compliance monitoring and mutual confidence building. In addition, Livermore has provided specialized monitoring equipment to the United Nations for the long-term monitoring program in Iraq.
The challenge in developing sensors to detect proliferation activities is to create instruments which are both highly sensitive and highly selective for detecting weak signal in difficult environments. Our accomplishments span a range of sensor technologies, from remote sensors to portable hand-ons and unattended instruments, for various applications:
- Sensors for remote optical characterization of proliferation
activities. Many industrial processes generate and release tell-tale
chemical signatures which can provide information about the activities taking
place within a facility. The ability to remotely interrogate the chemicals
released into the environment from a facility would provide a powerful means
for monitoring treaty compliance or detecting weapons production activities.
Our efforts include fielding systems that--over time--incorporate progressively
more advanced technology to accomplish this challenging objective.
Livermore is also involved in the development of imaging sensors to provide both spatial and spectral information about suspect facilities. Airborne tests of the Compact Airborne Multispectral Imager held during 1995 and early 1996 demonstrated the use of this DOE/LLNL-developed technology for aerial reconnaissance. LLNL has led the development of a new, more sensitive infrared spectrometer for airborne remote sensing of trace chemicals in the atmosphere. It will be flown aboard a US Navy aircraft in 1996 as part of the DOE Airborne Multisensor Pod System.
We are a major participant in an advanced-technology multi-laboratory program to develop laser-based systems for detecting trace chemicals in the atmosphere, particularly those that might indicate activities associated with nuclear weapons production. LLNL is responsible for the development and engineering of systems that utilize state-of-the-art solid-state laser hardware and for characterizing chemical signatures. We operate the facility used for hardware testing at the Nevada Test Site.
- Laboratory and field-portable instrumentation for chemical analysis.
Livermore scientists have developed a prototype advanced, portable mass
spectrometer that is light-weight, battery-operated, and capable of detecting
chemicals in the environment at very low levels. It is for use in the field by
arms control inspectors during cooperative, on-site visits and would provide
real-time feedback at the facility to help identify locations for further
sampling, analysis, and investigation. In recognition of the significant
technological advances that went into this design, Livermore scientists were
presented an R&D 100 award in 1995 by R&D Magazine.
Livermore is also home to a state-of-the-art analytical laboratory, the
Forensic Science Center, whose specialized staff bring a wide range of advanced
chemical analysis techniques to bear on special samples for the US Government
and law enforcement communities. The Forensic Science Center is a unique
resource for analytical instrumentation and methods tailored to the needs of
the proliferation detection community.
- Unattended ground sensors. Our unattended ground sensors program draws on microtechnologies to achieve small size and low power consumption. We have developed and deployed networked sensor systems for treaty monitoring. These sensor technologies have also been used for environmental characterization, counter-narcotics, civilian law enforcement, and immigration and border control.
- Support to the IAEA. LLNL has been helping the IAEA meet its new
technical challenges following the post-Gulf War revelation of Iraq's extensive
nuclear weapons program. We have supplied inspectors and developed and fielded
equipment in support of inspections in Iraq; we have worked with IAEA to
bolster the Agency's ability to enforce safeguards; and we are providing
technical assistance to selected foreign laboratories on peaceful uses of
- CTBT Monitoring. The CTBT effort at LLNL is focused on completing the research and development necessary to permit effective monitoring of the Treaty. Livermore is working closely with the other national laboratories to deliver software systems this year that can accurately locate and identify events with explosion characteristics in regions of interest. We also have provided input to DOE on the impact of a CTBT on the maintenance of the US nuclear stockpile. These studies have allowed DOE to develop negotiating positions for Interagency consideration prior to and during the CTBT negotiation. In addition, our scientists have provided expertise to the Conference on Disarmament, the international Group of Scientific Experts on seismic detection, and the On-Site-Inspection Working Group.
INSTITUTIONAL AND MANAGEMENT ISSUES
"...these labs must be run as efficiently as possible. I have directed the agencies to review and, as appropriate, to rescind internal management instructions and oversight that impede laboratory performance. I have directed the agencies to clarify and focus the mission assignments of their laboratories. I also have directed the agencies to achieve all possible budget savings through streamlining and management improvements before productive R&D programs are sacrificed."It is important that we succeed in these efforts. Livermore has been working with the DOE on management and oversight issues through Department-wide efforts and various pilot projects aimed at streamlining excessive DOE rules and regulations and consolidating laboratory audits and reviews. In addition, we have stepped up our long-continuing efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of LLNL operations and cut costs.
At Livermore we have made major progress on a broad range of initiatives to achieve cost reductions and greater efficiency in meeting our mission objectives. Some highlights include:
- We have managed to downsize the workforce at the Laboratory by over 2000 people or approximately 20% over the past half dozen years without significantly disrupting operations.
- We have restructured major parts of our organization to clarify and strengthen lines of responsibility and accountability.
- We are just completing a top-to-bottom cost cutting review which is providing an objective basis for further workforce restructuring and economization.
- We are reducing overhead and out-sourcing more of the routine services required to support our activities.
- We have greatly streamlined our procurement practices and reduced the size of our business operations organization by 38% as well as reduced the cost by 30% since FY 1994.
An exceedingly important part of this management role is the University of California's President's Council on the National Laboratories, which oversees all the scientific and technical work performed at the three National Laboratories UC manages. In particular, the National Security Panel of the President's Council is providing outstanding service to the nation. The Panel has a very strong influence on the national security activities at the laboratories through its effective reviews of our programs. Its constructive criticism of our scientific work, its probing questions, and its recommendations how the laboratories can better integrate their efforts have had a major impact on the design of the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program.
The University of California has been the contractor operating Livermore--as well as Los Alamos and Berkeley--since our beginning. This arrangement has provided great benefit to LLNL and the nation. It has been a major factor in attracting and maintaining the quality of our workforce, it has provided an atmosphere in which independent views and technical honesty are treated as core values, and it has led to an array of scientific and technical associations that would have otherwise not been achievable. These are exceedingly important factors to preserve as we face new technical challenges in stockpile stewardship and management and in stemming proliferation.
SUMMARY REMARKSThe DOE Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program lays out a challenging program for the national security laboratories and other elements of the nuclear weapons complex. It represents a major change from the design and testing of weapons to a program in which enhanced surveillance of the stockpile, nonnuclear experiments, and computations form the basis of judgments about the safety and reliability of weapons. It calls for the creation of a manufacturing capability that depends on strong partnerships among the laboratories, modernized production facilities, and American industry.
The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program is a demanding effort which requires a long-term commitment by outstanding scientists and engineers. It also requires long-term, new investments in capabilities and facilities for stewardship and management of the enduring stockpile--on the order of $4 billion per year for a decade. This can only happen if there is sustained bipartisan support for the Program from Congress and the Administration. Accordingly, I urge your strong support of the FY 1997 budget submission for Defense Programs. It is imperative that we lay a solid foundation early in the effort to ensure the Program's success.
Technically difficult challenges also face Livermore scientists and engineers working on projects to stem the danger of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Livermore plays a very prominent role in the national effort, providing expertise and technology to support arms control policy development, arms control verification, and intelligence analysis of nuclear weapons activities worldwide. We are also undertaking leadership roles to counter nuclear smuggling and nuclear terrorism, and we are heavily involved in activities to help Russia improve protection, control, and accountability of its fissile materials. Much more can and needs to be done. Consequently, I also urge your strong support of the program proposed by the Office of Nonproliferation and National Security. We should also explore mechanisms for broadened federal support from other agencies in this important area.
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Last modified March 12, 1996.
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