- Program Director
Nancy Jo Nicholas
The proliferation of nuclear weapons, either by nation-states or terrorist groups, poses one of the greatest national security threats to the United States.
Since the Manhattan Project, LANL has served as the national leader in addressing the threat posed by nuclear proliferation. From conducting intelligence analyses of the Japanese and German nuclear weapons programs during World War II to inventing the technical basis for nuclear safeguards, LANL has garnered an excellent record conceiving and executing successful nonproliferation programs.
LANL’s goal is to continue to serve as a trusted source that always provides the best technical advice to the nation with respect to nonproliferation efforts.
"The expertise at Los Alamos, developed through more than six decades of investment in nuclear security, has a broad impact on our national and international security. The cutting-edge research and development being done by the men and women at Los Alamos National Laboratory provides critical technical support to our key nuclear nonproliferation programs as we work to implement President Obama's nuclear security agenda." -- Anne Harrington, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation
The science and technology
capabilities used for the nuclear
nonproliferation mission leverage
LANL’s cutting-edge science and
technology and are deployed in
the real world to solve specific
national security problems. A
given technical discipline may
exist in several LANL capabilities
because requirements vary
greatly between application
areas and deployment scenarios.
Thus, nuclear detection technologies
are used in the following
LANL core capability areas:
- safeguards in nuclear processing or storage facilities;
- arms control, denuclearization, and nuclear test treaty verification;
- space systems for research and treaty monitoring;
- detection of nuclear materials in transit (e.g., portal monitors); and
- characterization of threat objects in an emergency response scenario.
Because most nuclear nonproliferation mission areas require the capability to extract and understand varying types of information, LANL develops tools to conduct event detection and characterization, feature extraction, evidence marshalling, and data mining. Computing and weapons capabilities are also used throughout nuclear nonproliferation programs, as well as core capabilities in fuel-cycle expertise and nonproliferation policy. LANL also has in place extensive training programs so that scientists and engineers can share their knowledge, skills, and expertise with the wider nuclear nonproliferation community.