Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New report reviews science and engineering quality at national security laboratories

Date:
September 10, 2013
Source:
National Academy of Sciences
Summary:
The science and engineering capabilities that underpin the nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship and nonproliferation missions at the nation's three national security laboratories are "healthy and vibrant," says a new report.

The science and engineering capabilities that underpin the nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship and nonproliferation missions at the nation's three national security laboratories are "healthy and vibrant," says a new report from the National Research Council.The committee that wrote the report found no problems with the quality of science and engineering that would prevent certification of the stockpile. However, the report identifies several issues that, if not addressed, have the potential to erode the ability to perform high-quality work at the laboratories.

Congress asked the Research Council to review the quality of scientific research and engineering at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), which are part of the National Nuclear Security Administration.This report is the second of the two-phase study; the first report, released in February 2012, examined management of the laboratories.

The new report examines the laboratories' capabilities in four areas of fundamental importance to their primary missions: (1) weapons design; (2) system engineering and understanding of the effects of aging on system performance; (3) weapons science base; and (4) modeling and simulation. In many areas, science and engineering at the laboratories is of very high quality.But the report identifies several stresses that could contribute to the deterioration of the work environment for scientists and engineers and limit the quality of their work in the future -- and thus the nation's ability to benefit fully from the laboratories' potential.

The United States declared a unilateral moratorium on nuclear weapons testing in 1992.In the absence of new test data, the science-based stockpile stewardship program relies on pre-moratorium test data, computer models and simulations, surveillance, and other experiments . The laboratories are building enhanced computational models that account for changes in weapon properties as they age, and this requires state-of-the-art S&E capabilities in a number of areas, the report says.NNSA should conduct a detailed assessment of simulation and modeling needs over the next decade and implement an adequately funded plan to meet those needs.

Experimental work is essential to the laboratories' missions.While the safety risks inherent in some experimentation must be controlled, the report says that the current system for managing these risks is contributing to escalating costs and schedule delays, and in some cases may limit experimentation.The U.S. Department of Energy and NNSA should work with laboratory managers to review the system for assessing and mitigating these risks to improve efficiency while maintaining a safe working environment.

The laboratories maintain and operate world-class experimental facilities, but smaller experimental facilities are also essential for the laboratories to conduct their work and to attract and retain staff, the report says. For example, these smaller facilities are important for producing weapons components such as neutron generators or for processing plutonium and evaluating how it ages. The laboratory directors should ensure a proper balance between these small scientific facilities and the larger signature facilities.

Report: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18440


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by National Academy of Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

National Academy of Sciences. "New report reviews science and engineering quality at national security laboratories." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910141605.htm>.
National Academy of Sciences. (2013, September 10). New report reviews science and engineering quality at national security laboratories. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910141605.htm
National Academy of Sciences. "New report reviews science and engineering quality at national security laboratories." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130910141605.htm (accessed July 24, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

Creative Makeovers for Ugly Cellphone Towers

AP (July 24, 2014) Mobile phone companies and communities across the country are going to new lengths to disguise those unsightly cellphone towers. From a church bell tower to a flagpole, even a pencil, some towers are trying to make a point. (July 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

Algonquin Power Goes Activist on Its Target Gas Natural

TheStreet (July 23, 2014) When The Deal's Amanda Levin exclusively reported that Gas Natural had been talking to potential suitors, the Ohio company responded with a flat denial, claiming its board had not talked to anyone about a possible sale. Lo and behold, Canadian utility Algonquin Power and Utilities not only had approached the company, but it did it three times. Its last offer was for $13 per share as Gas Natural's was trading at a 60-day moving average of about $12.50 per share. Now Algonquin, which has a 4.9% stake in Gas Natural, has taken its case to shareholders, calling on them to back its proposals or, possibly, a change in the target's board. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-Free Travel

AP (July 23, 2014) 'Ray' the robotic parking valet at Dusseldorf Airport in Germany lets travelers to avoid the hassle of finding a parking spot before heading to the check-in desk. (July 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins