A Foundation to Execute the Stockpile Stewardship Mission

Specialized facilities at LLNL’s main site and remote testing area, the Nevada National Security Site, and other Department of Energy laboratories enable the necessary research, computer simulations, and experiments to ensure the safety, security, and reliability of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile as well as the safe dismantlement of retired weapons.

Facilities Tailored to the Mission


color graphic generated by computer simulations

Computing Facilities

Some of the most powerful supercomputers in the world are harnessed by LLNL at the Livermore Computing Complex, enabling large suites of simulations for uncertainty quantifications and weapons-science calculations that replace underground testing to understand the performance and aging of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

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2 physicists working on test equipment

Hydrodynamic Explosives and Testing

Non-nuclear explosives are tested at varying scales at LLNL’s High Explosives Applications Facility in Livermore, at Site 300 near the main site, and at the Big Explosives Experimental Facility and U1a Complex in Nevada. Hydrodynamic testing at these facilities, as well as the Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, enable researchers to compare experimental test results with computational data to assess performance and make new scientific discoveries.

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cutaway illustration of materials at core of a test subject

Material Science Testing

Testing conducted at LLNL’s Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experimental Research facility in Nevada as well as at High Explosives Applications Facility and National Ignition Facility in Livermore generates data to determine materials equations-of-state, validate predictive computer models of material response, and advance new findings in materials science.

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Research being conducted by a physicist

High-Energy-Density Testing

Research conducted at LLNL’s Jupiter Laser Facility and National Ignition Facility explores the acceleration of charged particles, radiation emission and absorption of hot dense plasmas, and states of matter under extreme pressure and temperature  all to support simulations of nuclear explosions. Other facilities such as SLAC’s Linac Coherent Light Source and Sandia National Laboratories’ Z Machine support LLNL’s high-energy-density testing efforts as well.

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physicist working through protective glass

Testing Support

Facilities such as LLNL’s Superblock and B-131 High Bay house equipment to research and test nuclear materials and undergo continuous upgrades to meet the latest nuclear safety requirements. LLNL’s Waste Operations identifies, characterizes, packages, treats, and certifies waste generated by the Laboratory’s testing programs and manages safe, environmentally sound, and compliant waste disposal.

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