Los Alamos National LaboratoryBradbury Science Museum
Your Window into Los Alamos National Laboratory
Bradbury Science Museum

Weapons Science and National Security

Stockpile Stewardship ensures the safety, security, and reliability of America’s nuclear weapons.

May 31, 2017

The Dual Axis Radiological Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility produces the world’s most powerful X-rays.

Stockpile stewardship at Los Alamos

After safety and security, the most important job at Los Alamos National Laboratory is called Stockpile Stewardship. This is a program to assure the safety, security, and reliability of America’s nuclear weapons. Researchers use supercomputer simulations, X-ray experiments at the DARHT facility, subcritical tests at the Nevada National Security Site, and neutron experiments at the Los Alamos Neutron Science center (LANSCE).

Weapons and security questions to ponder

Why did the Manhattan Project produce two different bomb designs?

World War Two was a global conflagration and American scientists, as well as the U.S. Army, believed that Germany might be on its way to develop their own atomic bomb. The Army was empowered and funded to try any means to defeat the Axis powers, including trying several approaches to atomic bombs.

Learn more about the two A-bomb designs (pdf).

What is the difference between atomic, nuclear, hydrogen, and thermonuclear bombs?

These are all atomic, or more precisely, nuclear weapons. The real distinction is between fission weapons and fusion weapons.

Learn more about atomic and nuclear weapons (pdf).

Could a hydrogen bomb disrupt a hurricane?

Even disregarding all the reasons this might not be a good idea, it is a question of scale. How big is a hydrogen bomb explosion? How big is a hurricane?

Learn more about nuking a hurricane (pdf).

Cool weapons and security links