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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)


Sandia National Laboratories is a science and engineering lab and one of three Defense Programs laboratories for DOE National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and has two main facilities, the original laboratory and corporate headquarters in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and a second R&D laboratory in Livermore, California, which also serves as the home base of Sandia's Division 8000.

Sandia National Laboratories - California (SNL/CA) is located on 413 acres (0.7 square mile) 40 miles east of San Francisco, California. The principal mission of SNL/CA is to implement national nuclear weapons policy through research, development, and testing of non-nuclear elements of nuclear ordnance; arms control verification; and weapons surety to create advanced solutions and prototypes that enhance the security, prosperity, and well-being of the nation. SNL/CA also has extensive programs in combustion science, advanced detection technologies, semiconductor technologies, and advanced manufacturing.

The primary sponsors for Sandia/California projects are the U.S. Department of Energy, Department of Homeland Security, and Department of Defense. Sandia/CA also partners with other government agencies, industry, and academic institutions. Its annual budget of approximately $200M as of 2008. The budget for FY 1997 was $1.33 billion for the whole SNL complex; at that time, data was not available for the separate sites.

Sandia/California has about 900 employees and 250 contractors, postdoctoral fellows, and student interns. In 1996, the onsite population of SNL/CA, including contractor employees was 1,193. SNL/CA had 937 employees and approximately 256 contractors on site. It had 87 post-doctoral and limited term employees, and student interns. Of these, 572 were scientists and engineers.

Sandia's California laboratory was established on March 8, 1956, to support Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a national-security laboratory created in 1952 to compete with Los Alamos National Laboratory in nuclear weapons design. Sandia had already been providing Los Alamos with ordnance engineering support. Sandia/California's operations expanded to test support, providing effects test analysis and telemetry for weapon design tests. It also supported the Plowshare Program, which began in 1959, investigating the use of nuclear weapons for peaceful purposes. In the late 1960s, Sandia/California moved into applied scientific research. A tritium research program began in the 1970s and lasted for almost 20 years. Gas-mixing studies conducted in support of weapon design led to Sandia's Combustion Research Facility. Also, Sandia began investigating the feasibility of alternative energy sources during the 1973-74 energy crisis.

The Sandia Site Office oversees SNL, including its California location. The Albuquerque Operations Office (AL) was previously responsible for the site. The Kirtland Area Office (KAO), located in Albuquerque, NM, was one of the AL area offices. KAO had assigned one Facility Representative responsibility for the SNL/CA site. This assignment was intended to account for about 50 percent of the Facility Representative's work load.

In 1996 it had less than 10 grams of fissible material.

SNL is part of Complex Transformation, a NNSA program for a smaller, safer, more secure, and less expansive nuclear weapons complex to replace the standing complex that is believed to be too old with too many facilities. SNL would be the Center of Excellence for Non-Nuclear Design and Engineering and the Center of Excellence for Major Environmental Testing. As part of the initiative, SNL/California would be transitioned a multi-agency lab.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 03:42:54 ZULU