The Historic Designation
The DOE/NNSA/Sandia Field Office determined the centrifuge was historic in consultation with the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Officer. In November 2011, SFO and SHPO signed a Memorandum of Agreement requiring Sandia to document the centrifuge before it was removed.
The centrifuge was determined to be historic based on its association with Sandia’s established Cold War theme of environmental testing. While it was not used extensively for testing of other weapons that entered the U.S. stockpile, its testing of the Mk7 does represent Sandia’s earliest foray into large-scale environmental testing at the SNL/NM site.
It was also determined to be historic due to its design. Although not the work of a master or possessing high artistic values, its in-house design represents the understanding of engineering features required for testing warhead designs to high gs in the early 1950s.