Sandia News

Pulsed Power

Thor, a pulsed-power accelerator

Thor: a novel megabar-class material-physics accelerator.

Thor: a novel megabar-class material-physics accelerator.           (Photo by Randy Montoya)

We have demonstrated successful operation of a proof-of-concept version of Thor, a pulsed-power accelerator with a revolutionary architecture optimized for megabar-class material-physics experiments. Thor will be powered by as many as 288 circuits, each of which generates — for 100 ns — a peak electrical power of 5 GW. (The largest nuclear power plant in the US generates a steady-state power of 3.3 GW.) Thor creates pressure-loading time histories with unprecedented precision, and will position Sandia as the world’s premier megabar-class material-physics laboratory. (1600)

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The Z Pu experiment had an immediate impact on LANL’s assessment of the B61-12.

The Z pulsed power facility at Sandia executed a Pu experiment in collaboration with Los Alamos National Laboratory to support the B61-12 Life Extension Program certification. The B61-12 certification must determine if pit aging is a concern. The Z experiment provided fundamental data on four-year-old and 37-year-old B61 Pu from actual pits for certification modeling. (1600)

Safely using tritium in fusion targets on Z

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New capabilities on Z facility: tritium containment experiments with neutron effects testing cassettes (left) and in-situ discharge cleaning (right)

The New Capabilities for Hostile Environments on Z Grand Challenge LDRD project developed the capability to safely use tritium in fusion targets on the Z facility for the first time. Experiments were conducted at trace tritium levels (0.1 percent), and established a future path toward 50-50 deuterium-tritium mixtures, with a potential increase in neutron yield of 60-90 times. This capability will benefit multiple programs, including Inertial Confinement Fusion and Radiation Effects Sciences. The LDRD developed the capability for using in-situ discharge-cleaning electrode hardware to mitigate plasma formation and decrease current loss. (1300, 1600, 1800, 2100, 2700, 2900, 4100, 5400, 5900, 6200, 8200)