Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) designs, develops, qualifies, tests, certifies, and serves as the system integrator of all components required to safe, arm, fuze, and fire a weapon to military specifications. The SNL mission encompasses production agency responsibilities for weapon components, including neutron generators and trusted radiation-hardened integrated circuits. Like LLNL and LANL, Sandia plays an important role in providing annual safety, security, and reliability assessments in the annual stockpile assessment process.
SNL mission-essential facilities include specialized test facilities, and manufacturing space for microelectronics, neutron generators, and unique power sources. Scientific facilities include reactors, pulsed-power devices, material characterization, and computational modeling and simulation capabilities housed in specialized facilities
that support investigation into and certification of weapons without underground nuclear testing.
Sandia National Laboratories is managed and operated by the Sandia Corporation, a subsidiary of the Lockheed Martin Corporation. SNL has locations in California and New Mexico to ensure proximity to each of the national design laboratories.
Formerly known as the Kansas City Plant, the National Security Campus (NSC) is the primary entity responsible for the procurement and manufacturing of non-nuclear components for nuclear weapons. These components include radar systems, mechanisms, programmers, reservoirs, joint test assemblies, engineered materials, and mechanical components. The NSC is also responsible for evaluating and testing non-nuclear weapon components.
As a part of DOE/NNSA efforts to deliver a smaller, more responsive, and more flexible infrastructure, the non-nuclear components production capability was relocated to a new site as part of the Kansas City Responsive Infrastructure Manufacturing and Sourcing (KCRIMS) initiative. The relocation to the new, leased facility was successfully completed in July 2014, ahead of schedule and under budget. The new facility is LEED® Gold-rated and reduces the operating footprint by over 50 percent.
The National Security Campus is managed and operated by Honeywell Federal Manufacturing & Technologies, LLC.
In 1951, the Pantex Plant (PX) became operational to focus on high explosive and non-nuclear component assembly operations. Today, PX is charged with supporting the three key missions of stockpile stewardship, nonproliferation, and safeguards and security. In support of the stockpile stewardship mission, Pantex is responsible for the evaluation, retrofit, and repair of weapons for life extension programs and weapon safety and reliability certification. Pantex is also responsible for the development, testing, and fabrication of high explosive components. In support of the nonproliferation mission, PX is responsible for dismantling surplus strategic stockpile weapons, providing interim storage and surveillance of plutonium pits, and sanitizing dismantled weapons components. In support of the safeguards and security mission, Pantex is responsible for the protection of plant personnel, facilities, materials, and information.
The Pantex Plant is operated by Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, which combines the resources of Bechtel National, Inc., Lockheed Martin Services, Inc., Orbital ATK, Inc., and SOC LLC, with Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. as a teaming subcontractor.
The Savannah River Site (SRS) is primarily responsible for the management of tritium inventories and facilities. As part of this responsibility, SRS personnel load tritium and non-tritium reservoirs to meet the requirements of the Nuclear Weapons Stockpile Plan (NWSP). The NWSP is discussed in Chapter 5: Stockpile Management, Processes, and Organizations. SRS is also responsible for the conduct of reservoir surveillance operations, the testing of gas transfer systems, and research and development on tritium operations.
The Savannah River Site is operated by Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC, a partnership among the Fluor Corporation, Newport News Nuclear, Inc., and Honeywell International, Inc. with subcontractors Lockheed Martin Corporation and Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc.
In support of the DOE/NNSA, the Y-12 mission is the production or refurbishment of complex nuclear weapon components and secondaries; the receipt, storage, and protection of special nuclear material (SNM); and the dismantlement of weapon secondaries and disposition of weapon components. As part of the Y-12 Infrastructure Reduction program, the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF) began operations in March 2010. The completion of the HEUMF, an ultra-secure uranium warehouse providing uranium storage at Y-12, replaces and consolidates aging buildings. Y-12 is also in the process of designing a Uranium Processing Facility (UPF), which is intended to replace and consolidate approximately 800,000 square feet of highly enriched uranium production capabilities. Construction is expected to be completed by the year 2025.
The Y-12 National Security Complex is managed by Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC, which combines the resources of Bechtel National, Inc., Lockheed Martin Services, Inc., Orbital ATK, Inc., and SOC LLC, with Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc. as a teaming subcontractor.
Historically, the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) was the main site for the United States’ underground nuclear testing program. The 1992 moratorium on U.S. underground nuclear testing shifted the NNSS mission areas. Today the NNSS provides facilities, infrastructure, and personnel that the national laboratories and other organizations use to conduct nuclear and non-nuclear experiments essential to maintaining the nuclear stockpile. The NNSS is the primary location where experiments using radiological and other high-hazard materials are conducted and is the only location where highly enriched-driven plutonium experiments can be conducted. Additional mission areas include development and deployment of state-of-the-art diagnostics and instrumentation, data analysis, storage of programmatic materials, conduct of criticality experiments, counterterrorism, and counterproliferation.
The Nevada National Security Site is managed and operated by National Security Technologies, LLC (NSTec), a company that was formed in 2006 as a joint venture between Northrop Grumman Corporation, and corporate partners AFCOM, CH2M Hill, and Babcock and Wilcox.
Since the end of the Cold War and the subsequent transition from the “build and test” paradigm, the NSE has been in the process of transforming from a large complex with an impressive production capability to a smaller, safer, more secure, and cost-effective complex that leverages the scientific and technical abilities of its workforce (see Figure 4.2).
Figure 4.2 Cold War Nuclear Weapons Complex
There are several facilities that were once part of the NSE and have been transitioned away from nuclear weapons-related activities. Among the largest of these are the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, the Rocky Flats Plant, the Mound Site, the Pinellas Plant, and the Hanford Site.
The Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) was established by Presidential Directive 28 and authorized by Congress in October 1993. The SSP ensures a robust weapons infrastructure by sustaining the safety and effectiveness of the Nation’s nuclear arsenal without producing new weapons or conducting nuclear explosive tests. The SSP strategy is to establish a sufficient scientific understanding of the nuclear explosive process to replace those capabilities that were enabled by underground nuclear testing and to support discovery and correction of any deficiencies that might occur during the lifetime of a weapon.
In the past, underground nuclear testing and the continuous development and production of new nuclear weapons were essential to preserve high confidence in the stockpile. The United States has not manufactured a new weapon-type for more than 20 years. The challenge for the DOE/NNSA is maintaining confidence in the nuclear weapons in the stockpile without producing new weapons or conducting nuclear explosive tests. The solution has been to field a suite of innovative experimental platforms, diagnostic equipment, and high-performance computers that build on past test data to simulate the internal dynamics of nuclear weapons. Armed with this understanding, the effects of changes to the current stockpile through either aging or component replacement may be modeled.
The purpose of the Stockpile Stewardship Program
is to sustain the safety and effectiveness of the Nation’s nuclear arsenal without producing new weapons or conducting nuclear explosive tests.
The goals of the SSP are achieved through the integration of stockpile support, surveillance, assessment, certification, design, and manufacturing processes. The need for these activities has remained constant; however, the integrating strategies have evolved as the program has matured.
The accelerated and expanded use of strategic computing and simulation tools has been a fundamental innovation of this evolution. Within the DOE/NNSA, SSP implementation has been organized into several different weapons-activity programs. These programs are essential for continuing the assessment and certification of the nuclear weapons stockpile. These program elements can be found in the latest copy of the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (SSMP) on the DOE/NNSA website. The SSMP orginated in current statue that states: “The Secretary of Energy shall develop and annually update a plan for maintaining the nuclear weapons stockpile. The plan shall cover stockpile stewardship, stockpile management, and program direction.” The SSMP has been submitted to Congress every year since 1998. Starting in 2013, however, the SSMP report to Congress is only required every odd-numbered fiscal year, with summaries of the plan provided in even-numbered fiscal years.