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Research Highlights


Geodynamics & National Security

Test Readiness Program

  • 5 year program funded at $25M annually across the DOE complex
  • Program duration is 4/03 - 4/08
  • $5M per year at LANL; $1.2M per year for containment (EES division)
  • Goal of program is to reduce the lead time for underground nuclear testing for the current 3-5 years to 12-18 months.
  • Most important deliverable for containment is to hire, train, and certify new containment geologist and containment scientists.


Right - The Nevada Test Site where the vast majority of US nuclear tests were conducted is being maintained in the event of a return to testing.

Right - The massive venting from the Livermore underground nuclear, Baneberry, conducted in 1970, led to the initiation of underground test containment programs at Los Alamos and Livermore. The Los Alamos containment program maintained a perfect containment record until the testing moratorium in 1992.

Right - As part of the test readiness program, Test Exercise Alpha was completed in 1991. For the exercise, the containment program selected an event hole and depth of burial, characterized the site, and made predictions about expected phenomenology.

Tunnel Target Defeat

Conduct Instrumented Explosive Tests to Reduce Uncertainties in Ground Shock Phenomenology and Resultant Target Damage
  • Subscale Laboratory Tests
  • Intermediate Test at Indiana (Mitchell Quarry)
  • Large Scale Test at Nevada Test Site
Demonstrating an Improved Suite of Planning Tools
  • 3-D Geotechnical Representation
  • Improved Fast-running Engineering Codes
  • Improved 3-D High Fidelity Models

Above - A large-scale high explosives test will be conducted at U16b at the Nevada Test Site to validate high fidelity modeling codes.


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