< Sandia Labs Accomplishments 2003
[About Sandia]
[Unique Solutions]
[Working With Us]
[Contacting Us]
[News Center]
[navigation panel]

[Sandia Lab News]

Vol. 55, Special Issue        February 2003
[Sandia National Laboratories]

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-0165    ||   Livermore, California 94550-0969
Tonopah, Nevada; Nevada Test Site; Amarillo, Texas

Back to Lab News Sandia Labs Accomplishments 2003 index

Nuclear Weapons

The Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) Project team attained a major milestone last November with the completion of final engineering design. This milestone represents the official request for DOE approval to begin major facility construction activities and signifies the conclusion of design effort that began in 1999 with the MESA Conceptual Design Report. Another recent accomplishment includes DOE Secretary Abraham's approval of the MESA $518.5 million Performance Baseline on Oct. 8, 2002. (1700, 1900, 2300, 9100, 9200, 10200, 10500, 10800) Bill Jenkins, wljenki@sandia.gov

The W76-1/Mk4A Life Extension Program successfully completed its second year of development engineering, achieving several significant milestones:

(2100, 1700, 1800, 2300, 2600, 2900, 9100, 9800, 12300) Mark Rosenthal, marosen@sandia.gov

As an outgrowth of efforts to protect US military assets from terrorist threats, we examined alternative designs of radiological dispersal devices (RDDs) using explosives, mechanical spray, and other novel approaches. A risk-based systems analysis laid out the RDD threat from end to end: from terrorist motivation, to acquisition of radioactive material, to design, fabrication, testing of the RDD, to target selection and final weapon delivery and dispersal. The risk analysis identified immediate security requirements as well as several areas where better understanding is needed. (9800) Len Connell, lwconne@sandia.gov

Sandia, partnering with NASA Goddard, has developed a radiation-hardened Field-Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). Because of their ability to implement digital circuits by programming, FPGAs have become one of the most popular implementation platforms for digital circuits. This rad-hard FPGA was designed for nuclear weapon applications in harsh radiation environments by Digital Microelectronics Dept. 1735 of the Microsystems Science & Technology Center (1700 and fabricated in Sandia's Microelectronics Development Laboratory. The part has 30,000 usable gates, and is compatible with commercial Atmel 6010 non-radiation-hardened FPGAs. (1700) K.K. Ma, 1735, 844-6469, makk@sandia.gov

Stockpile surveillance and weapons systems personnel are verifying that design intent is satisfied for critical components by drawing upon many years of testing information and matching that data with original design documentation. Discoveries from this approach, which uses electronic databases for analyses that were previously not practical, are leading to improvements in surveillance and design practices. Continuing projects will further expand the utility of surveillance data systems by using corporate computing capabilities to integrate data operations within NWie, the Nuclear Weapons information environment. (2900, 2100, 9800) Glenn Kuswa, gwkuswa@sandia.gov

A unique course has been developed to provide training in good measurement practices for Sandia managers involved in research and development activities. The course, which includes many examples of lessons learned across the NNSA complex, emphasizes the application of critical thinking to measurements. It provides tools to assist the manager in determining the appropriate level of formality to use in the collection or analysis of data. The course has received excellent reviews, and several NNSA partners have expressed interest in using it. (2500, 2300, 3500) Larry Azevedo, ljazeve@sandia.gov

The MC4380A Neutron Generator was designed and qualified for the W76-0/Mk4 Trident warheads to provide additional margin in radiation environments. This intensive two-year project successfully supported the stockpile needs without the benefit of underground tests. The effort began in August 2000 and was completed in April 2002, followed by completion of the first production unit in May and delivery of the first units to the Navy and the UK last summer. The MC4380A is the first neutron generator developed and produced at Sandia and installed in the stockpile. (2100, 1800, 2500, 2900, 6400, 9100, 9800, 12300, 14400, 14100, 15300)

The Engineering Bill of Material (EBOM) software application began production use in June 2002. It is the official Nuclear Weapons Complex (NWC) system for management of the way materials, parts, components, subassemblies, and assemblies fit together to form a product. It also records Engineering Authorizations for NWC products. EBOM is based on a commercial product data management application, and it replaced the outdated, internally developed Configuration Management System (CMS). During development, more than 1.3 million objects were migrated into EBOM from CMS. (2900, 9500) Tony Sill, aesill@sandia.gov

Engineer Authorization (EA) Web, built for the Sandia engineer but designed for the NWC community, has reduced the number of document and processing errors, improved data integrity, and reduced the overall release time of Engineering Authorizations (EA) from three weeks to two days. The EA Web application is an authoring tool used by weapon engineers to create, edit, and release EAs. This application has many features to improve the overall EA process. Today, EA Web supports more than 300 authors. (2900, 8200, 9300, 9500, 9800) Richard Graham, rdgraha@sandia.gov

Sandia's Lab Director recently conveyed to the Secretaries of Energy and Defense his seventh annual assessment of and confidence in the continued safety and reliability of the US nuclear weapon stockpile. The secretaries integrate assessments from several sources into an annual stockpile certification statement to the President. Our technical staff supports these actions with thorough work throughout the year to maintain the stockpile and to assess its continued capability. (2100, 8200, 2900, 12300, 1) George Novotny, gcnovot@sandia.gov

In support of the NNSA Office of Transportation Safeguards, Sandia conducted a full-scale test of an armored tractor and safeguards transporter on the 2,000 ft. rocket sled track in Tech Area 3. This test quantified transporter performance for a design basis accident condition. The transporter retained all surrogate cargo items. (5800, 2100, 2600, 2900, 6100, 9100, 9200, 10800, 12300, 12600) David Pace, dwpace@sandia.gov

The world can rest more assured of its safety because of several alterations (ALTs) completed on all B61-3/4/10 weapons located outside the continental United States. ALTs 335, 339, and 354 enhance the safety, use control, and reliability of these retrofitted weapons. Other significant accomplishments include retrofits to allow recoding capability using no-knowledge, end-to-end encryption with the Code Management System; characterizing the glass-to metal seal in the Lightning Arrestor Connectors; and qualifying a powder coat process to replace liquid paint. These projects are supported by hundreds of people across the complex. (1700, 1800, 2100, 2300, 2500, 2600, 2900, 6500, 9100, 12300, 14000, 14300) Beth Connors, ejconno@sandia.gov

The W76-1 Arming and Fuzing Subsystem (AFS) integrates radar, flight computer, and diagnostics in a single compact assembly. The design is meeting aggressive cost goals through use of commercial off- the-shelf parts, innovative packaging, and automated production processes. The AFS is part of the W76-1 Arming, Fuzing, and Firing system, and will be tested in the upcoming Navy FCET-30 flight test. The project team has delivered the first two AFS flight test units on schedule. (2300) Scott Holswade, scholsw@sandia.gov

A LIGA (German acronym for an X-ray lithography-based manufacturing process) spring enabled the development of an Environmental Sensing Device (ESD) that can accurately sense low levels of acceleration. The motion of the ESD spring and sense mass is fluid damped to assure smooth, long-term operation. This robust device is designed to play a key role in nuclear weapon safety architectures that use environmental sensing as part of their nuclear safety theme. Prototypes have been built and successfully tested. (2600, 8700, 1700, 1800) Carl Vanecek, cwvanec@sandia.gov

A group of California Weapon Interns successfully designed, built, and launched a highly instrumented W87 warhead -- Instrumentation Development Flight (IDF) 3 -- last June. IDF-3, while also serving as a real-world weapon-training project for the interns, allowed Sandia to test some 10 different experimental technologies, including a broadband transmitter, a wireless system bus, a distributed transmitter, and two separate attitude and trajectory measurement systems. IDF-3 contained the first LIGA micro-system to fly on a warhead in a true test flight environment. Christian Scholz, cscholz@sandia.gov

A new high-G shock test method using the Sandia rocket sled track was invented, developed, and qualified by Sandia for assessing weapons component subassemblies for survivability in penetration environments. The test capability will enable Sandia to respond quickly and less expensively to future weapon requirements. Both W87 and B83 subsystems have been tested against the simulated hard target penetration shock delivered by this novel test method. A second method to test full systems impacting concrete targets under controlled impact conditions is currently under development. (8200, 9100) Scott Faas, sefaas@sandia.gov

The W80-3 Life Extension Program team developed a model-based qualification approach to qualify the W80 refurbished warhead. The W80 and the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative (ASCI) teams collaborated to evaluate the W80 warhead in abnormal environments. The analysts used Sierra-based ASCI codes to simulate the mechanical damage due to a dropped W80-1 warhead and the thermal response of the W80-1 warhead in a fire environment, as part of the FY02 ASCI Level 1 STS Abnormal milestone. (9100, 8700, 8200, 8900, 9900) Davina Kwon, dmkim@sandia.gov

During the last year, the NNSA created a new organization -- the Program Integration Office (PIO) -- to integrate the nuclear weapons program across NNSA organizational elements, and integrate programs and activities across the nuclear weapons complex. To augment this effort, Sandia established the Integration Studies & Support Group, which will provide critical support to PIO in all its functions. Rodney Wilson, rkwilso@sandia.gov

A full-scale B61 experiment in an Air Force transonic wind tunnel provided Laser Vapor Screen images of the vortices formed by the spin motor plume-freestream interaction and counter-moment data caused by the interaction of the vortices with the B61 fins. The counter-moment data was used with flight test data, Sandia vortex-fin interaction experimental research results, and ASCI fluid dynamic code predictions to construct a credible simulation-based capability for predicting spin rates and rolamite closure probabilities across the delivery envelopes for each B61 mod. (9100, 2100, drafting, machine shop) Carl Peterson, cwpeter@sandia.gov

Model Based Performance Analysis is using modeling and simulation of weapon electrical systems to better understand baseline system variability and how aging of materials and electrical devices can affect system performance and weapon lifetimes. Sandia's powerful circuit simulators ChileSPICE and XYCE coupled with the CPlant computation platform have been used to perform the hundreds of simulations necessary to thoroughly investigate the problem. Studies have been completed on the W80 warhead and are underway on the B61 and B83 bombs. (12300, 8200, 1700) Thomas Brown, tdbrown@sandia.gov

In FY02 the Nuclear Safety Information Center (NSIC) team successfully implemented the NSIC Archival Management System. The new system provides inventory management and document search/retrieval at the users' desktop. Information on more than 44,000 documents, videos, and photos is now available to more than 200 Sandia users with appropriate need-to-know. (12300) Debra Thomas, dlthom@sandia.gov

The nuclear weapon reliability departments at Sandia have developed a set of tools and processes to support the evolving stockpile stewardship mission. The Reliability Assessment Model (RAM) software tools allow analysts to efficiently manage complex reliability analysis information and assess age- or subpopulation-dependent reliability impacts on a weapon serial number basis. The RAM tool process allows for automated data updates to reflect ongoing stockpile activity and to quickly meet the information needs of the DoD, NNSA, and Sandia organizations. (12300, 8200) Kathleen Diegert, kvdiege@sandia.gov

The DOE Accident Response Group is responsible for providing worldwide, professional, accurate and timely technical support in resolving accidents and significant incidents involving US nuclear weapons. A new system, Digital-Portable Integrated Video System (D-PIVS), was deployed last year. The system provides accident site personnel with four channels of real-time secure video and audio of the accident site events. It can be linked via secure satellite communications to strategic command posts and national emergency response home team facilities. (12300, 5900, 14400, 15200) John Hoffman, jphoffm@sandia.gov

The Security Matrix Project, jointly sponsored by DOE and DoD, competed its fourth year of work. Reports of project findings for the Navy, Air Force, and DOE operations inside the US have been completed or are being written. Those findings are being used to focus attention on improvements to the stockpile during refurbishments and on improved security policies and postures where appropriate. Analysis of data collected at overseas locations will be conducted this year. (12300) Jeff Everett, jjevere@sandia.gov

The Z pulsed-power generator became a nationally recognized capability for dynamic materials research as the team received a 2002 DOE Excellence in Weapons Research award. Progress continued with the achievement of a 28 km/s flyer plate velocity, publication of new deuterium equation of state data, and several material dynamics experiments relevant to stockpile stewardship. Most notably, experiments were performed to investigate the effects of irradiation damage on material properties, and a containment system to enable testing of hazardous materials was demonstrated. (1600, Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore) Christopher Deeney, cdeene@sandia.gov

Inertial confinement fusion (ICF) capsule implosions in z-pinch dynamic hohlraums on Z have produced the first clearly measured neutrons and X-ray images of imploded fuel symmetry. Spectra from argon dopants confirm that the deuterium fuel reached temperatures found at the center of the sun (about 11 million Celsius). ICF capsules in the double z-pinch geometry on Z have been imploded to less than 1/2000 of their original volume, implying a radiation-drive symmetry that scales to within approximately a factor of two of high-yield requirements. (1600) Tom Mehlhorn, tamehlh@sandia.gov

Last modified: March 14 , 2003

Browse current and past Lab News articles

View Sandia news releases and fact sheets

Back to top of page

Questions and Comments || Acknowledgment and Disclaimer