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Stewardship of Nuclear Deterrent.
Much of our work involves physical and chemical systems at conditions relevant to maintaining the stockpile. This includes extremely high pressures and temperatures — conditions found in nuclear weapons — performance studies, high explosive detonations, and laser fusion experiments such as those conducted at the National Ignition Facility (NIF)."
New and currently deployed explosives are synthesized, formulated, and characterized in quantities from milligrams to hundreds of kilograms. Our staff works with other experts in the programs to help develop predictive models to link structure, manufacturing, processing, aging, and performance. This work is carried out at the High Explosives Application Facility (HEAF) and at Site 300, which has facilities for safely conducting large-scale experiments with explosive materials. Other efforts have led to a new class of nano-energetic materials with properties that can be tailored at the microstructural level.
Materials Aging and Compatibility.
CSD scientists provide direct support to stewardship of the deterrent by developing tools and methods for detecting and predicting signs of aging and materials incompatibilities in the nuclear stockpile, and by researching new materials for stockpile use. The efforts in this area apply numerous state-of-the-art experimental and theoretical capabilities to characterize and model the behavior of a variety of materials and systems, such as organic polymers and adhesives, metals and ceramics, and energetic materials.
Stockpile stewardship: "Enhancing Confidence in the Nation's Nuclear Stockpile"
Radiochemistry and mass spectrometry in support of the stockpile, forensics, and the environment.
CSD Scientists perform radiochemical and mass spectrometric analysis on a wide variety of samples to determine the identity and content of the stable and radioactive species. Samples are evaluated for the stockpile stewardship program to help maintain the reliability of the stockpile. For the nuclear forensics program, chemical separations, radiation counting and mass spectrometric isotope ratio analyses are used to identify signatures in materials in order to determine their origins and production methods. Law enforcement uses the results of these analyses to help prevent illegal trafficking of nuclear materials. Isotope production and separation is also used for creating realistic forensic samples that are sent to laboratories across the country for exercises and method development. R&D efforts are focused on modernizing the nuclear data of key actinide, fission product and activation product radioisotopes that provide unambiguous signatures for forensics applications. Environmental samples are evaluated in order to determine the location and migration of radionuclides in the soil and water for management of natural resources and radio-ecological evaluations, and to determine how nuclear waste would behave for long-term disposal and storage.
National Ignition Facility Support.
NIF is the largest laser in world; it enables scientists to access high-energy-density and fusion regimes with direct applications to stockpile stewardship, energy research, science, and astrophysics. CSD scientists have leadership roles spanning diverse areas from fabrication and fielding of laser optics and ignition targets to development of unique optical fabrication technologies which can expand the capabilities of NIF. CSD scientists are engaged in S&T efforts aimed at higher damage threshold optics, new glass compositions, and more deterministic ice-layer crystal growth to support ignition target experiments. CSD staff are also responsible for the development and operation of radiochemical diagnostics for NIF, which include collection of gaseous and solid debris products for evaluation of capsule performance.
National Ignition Facility support: "A New Detector for Analyzing NIF Experiments"
CSD scientists play key roles in the Laboratory's Global Security programs. Our scientists are recognized experts in chemical, explosive, and nuclear forensics, and a team led by CSD scientists currently operates one of only two laboratories in the US certified by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for the analysis of alleged proliferation of chemical agents in violation of the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Forensic Science Center (FSC). Our Radiation Measurements Program efforts range from basic research on materials for radiation detection to advanced data-analysis techniques to field operations and applications for the next generation safeguards and global threat reduction initiatives. CSD and Forensic Science Center scientists operate one of only two laboratories in the US accredited under ISO17025 to perform analyses for the FBI. Our staff routinely supports multiple agencies including DHS, DNDO, DoS, DoI, FEMA, DoD and several USG intelligence agencies. Our actinide mass spectrometry laboratories also support the IAEA Network of Analytical Laboratories through support from the State Department and the Bulk Special Nuclear Materials Analytical Program and Nuclear Materials Information Program sponsored by NNSA, DHS, and the FBI. Technical experts from CSD assist the US Government in interagency and international treaty negotiations.
Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons: "Responding to a Terrorist Attack Involving Chemical Warfare Agents"
Nerve Agents: "Breaking Down Nerve Agent Behavior"
Resonance Ionization Mass Spectrometry: "An Improved Tool for Nuclear Forensics"