|Motto||"Science and Technology
on a mission."
|Established||1952 by the University of California; 65 years ago|
|Research type||Nuclear and basic science|
|Director||William H. Goldstein|
|Location||Livermore, California, U.S.|
|Campus||1 square mile (2.6 km2)|
National Security, LLC
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) is an American federal research facility in Livermore, California, United States, founded by the University of California in 1952. A Federally Funded Research and Development Center (FFRDC), it is primarily funded by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and managed and operated by Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), a partnership of the University of California, Bechtel, BWX Technologies, AECOM, and Battelle Memorial Institute in affiliation with the Texas A&M University System. In 2012, the laboratory had the synthetic chemical element livermorium named after it.
LLNL is self-described as "a premier research and development institution for science and technology applied to national security." Its principal responsibility is ensuring the safety, security and reliability of the nation’s nuclear weapons through the application of advanced science, engineering and technology. The Laboratory also applies its special expertise and multidisciplinary capabilities to preventing the proliferation and use of weapons of mass destruction, bolstering homeland security and solving other nationally important problems, including energy and environmental security, basic science and economic competitiveness.
The Laboratory is located on a one-square-mile (2.6 km2) site at the eastern edge of Livermore. It also operates a 7,000 acres (28 km2) remote experimental test site, called Site 300, situated about 15 miles (24 km) southeast of the main lab site. LLNL has an annual budget of about $1.5 billion and a staff of roughly 5,800 employees.
LLNL was established in 1952 as the University of California Radiation Laboratory at Livermore, an offshoot of the existing UC Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley. It was intended to spur innovation and provide competition to the nuclear weapon design laboratory at Los Alamos in New Mexico, home of the Manhattan Project that developed the first atomic weapons. Edward Teller and Ernest Lawrence, director of the Radiation Laboratory at Berkeley, are regarded as the co-founders of the Livermore facility.
The new laboratory was sited at a former naval air station of World War II. It was already home to several UC Radiation Laboratory projects that were too large for its location in the Berkeley Hills above the UC campus, including one of the first experiments in the magnetic approach to confined thermonuclear reactions (i.e. fusion). About half an hour southeast of Berkeley, the Livermore site provided much greater security for classified projects than an urban university campus.
Lawrence tapped 32-year-old Herbert York, a former graduate student of his, to run Livermore. Under York, the Lab had four main programs: Project Sherwood (the Magnetic Fusion Program), Project Whitney (the weapons design program), diagnostic weapon experiments (both for the Los Alamos and Livermore laboratories), and a basic physics program. York and the new lab embraced the Lawrence "big science" approach, tackling challenging projects with physicists, chemists, engineers, and computational scientists working together in multidisciplinary teams. Lawrence died in August 1958 and shortly after, the university's board of regents named both laboratories for him, as the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory.
Historically, the Berkeley and Livermore laboratories have had very close relationships on research projects, business operations and staff. The Livermore Lab was established initially as a branch of the Berkeley Laboratory. The Livermore Lab was not officially severed administratively from the Berkeley Lab until 1971. To this day, in official planning documents and records, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory is designated as Site 100, Lawrence Livermore National Lab as Site 200, and LLNL's remote test location as Site 300.
The laboratory was renamed Lawrence Livermore Laboratory (LLL) in 1971. On October 1, 2007 LLNS assumed management of LLNL from the University of California, which had exclusively managed and operated the Laboratory since its inception 55 years before. The laboratory was honored in 2012 by having the synthetic chemical element livermorium named after it. The LLNS takeover of the Laboratory has been controversial. In May 2013, an Alameda County jury awarded over $2.7 million to five former Laboratory employees who were among 430 employees LLNS laid off during 2008. The jury found that LLNS breached a contractual obligation to terminate the employees only for “reasonable cause.” The five plaintiffs also have pending age discrimination claims against LLNS, which will be heard by a different jury in a separate trial. There are 125 co-plaintiffs awaiting trial on similar claims against LLNS. The May 2008 layoff was the first layoff at the Laboratory in nearly 40 years.
On March 14, 2011, the City of Livermore officially expanded the city's boundaries to annex LLNL and move it within the city limits. The unanimous vote by the Livermore City Council expanded Livermore’s southeastern boundaries to cover 15 land parcels covering 1,057 acres (4.28 km2) that comprise the LLNL site. Prior to this, the site was in an unincorporated area of Alameda County. The LLNL campus continues to be owned by the federal government.
From its inception, Livermore focused on new weapon design concepts; as a result, its first three nuclear tests were unsuccessful. The lab persevered and its subsequent designs proved increasingly successful. In 1957, the Livermore Lab was selected to develop the warhead for the Navy's Polaris missile. This warhead required numerous innovations to fit a nuclear warhead into the relatively small confines of the missile nosecone.
During the Cold War, many Livermore-designed warheads entered service. These were used in missiles ranging in size from the Lance surface-to-surface tactical missile to the megaton-class Spartan antiballistic missile. Over the years, LLNL designed the following warheads: W27 (Regulus cruise missile; 1955; joint with Los Alamos), W38 (Atlas/Titan ICBM; 1959), B41 (B52 bomb; 1957), W45 (Little John/Terrier missiles; 1956), W47 (Polaris SLBM; 1957), W48 (155-mm howitzer; 1957), W55 (submarine rocket; 1959), W56 (Minuteman ICBM; 1960), W58 (Polaris SLBM; 1960), W62 (Minuteman ICBM; 1964), W68 (Poseidon SLBM; 1966), W70 (Lance missile; 1969), W71 (Spartan missile; 1968), W79 (8-in. artillery gun; 1975), W82 (155-mm howitzer; 1978), B83 (modern strategic bomb; 1979), and W87 (Peacekeeper/MX ICBM; 1982). The W87, and the B83 are the only LLNL designs still in the U.S. nuclear stockpile.
With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the end of the Cold War, the United States began a moratorium on nuclear testing and development of new nuclear weapon designs. To sustain existing warheads for the indefinite future, a science-based Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) was defined that emphasized the development and application of greatly improved technical capabilities to assess the safety, security, and reliability of existing nuclear warheads without the use of nuclear testing. Confidence in the performance of weapons, without nuclear testing, is maintained through an ongoing process of stockpile surveillance, assessment and certification, and refurbishment or weapon replacement.
With no new designs of nuclear weapons, the warheads in the U.S. stockpile must continue to function far past their original expected lifetimes. As components and materials age, problems can arise. Stockpile Life Extension Programs can extend system lifetimes, but they also can introduce performance uncertainties and require maintenance of outdated technologies and materials. Because there is concern that it will become increasingly difficult to maintain high confidence in the current warheads for the long term, the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration initiated the Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) Program. RRW designs could reduce uncertainties, ease maintenance demands, and enhance safety and security. In March 2007, the LLNL design was chosen for the Reliable Replacement Warhead. Since that time, Congress has not allocated funding for any further development of the RRW.
LLNL conducts research into the properties and behavior of plutonium to learn how plutonium performs as it ages and how it behaves under high pressure (e.g., with the impact of high explosives). Plutonium has seven temperature-dependent solid allotropes. Each possesses a different density and crystal structure. Alloys of plutonium are even more complex; multiple phases can be present in a sample at any given time. Experiments are being conducted at LLNL and elsewhere to measure the structural, electrical and chemical properties of plutonium and its alloys and to determine how these materials change over time. Such measurements will enable scientists to better model and predict plutonium's long-term behavior in the aging stockpile.
The Lab’s plutonium research is conducted in a specially designed facility called the SuperBlock, with emphasis on safety and security. Work with highly enriched uranium is also conducted here. In March 2008, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) presented its preferred alternative for the transformation of the nation’s nuclear weapons complex. Under this plan, LLNL would be a center of excellence for nuclear design and engineering, a center of excellence for high explosive research and development, and a science magnet in high-energy-density (i.e., laser) physics. In addition, most of its special nuclear material would be removed and consolidated at a more central, yet-to-be-named site.
On September 30, 2009, the NNSA announced that about two thirds of the special nuclear material (e.g., plutonium) at LLNL requiring the highest level of security protection had been removed from LLNL. The move was part of NNSA's efforts initiated in October 2006 to consolidate special nuclear material at five sites by 2012, with significantly reduced square footage at those sites by 2017. The federally mandated project intends to improve security and reduce security costs, and is part of NNSA's overall effort to transform the Cold War era "nuclear weapons" enterprise into a 21st-century "nuclear security" enterprise. The original date to remove all high-security nuclear material from LLNL, based on equipment capability and capacity, was 2014. NNSA and LLNL developed a timeline to remove this material as early as possible, accelerating the target completion date to 2012.
The Lab’s work in global security aims to reduce and mitigate the dangers posed by the spread or use of weapons of mass destruction and by threats to energy and environmental security. Livermore has been working on global security and homeland security for decades, predating both the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. LLNL staff have been heavily involved in the cooperative nonproliferation programs with Russia to secure at-risk weapons materials and assist former weapons workers in developing peaceful applications and self-sustaining job opportunities for their expertise and technologies. In the mid-1990s, Lab scientists began efforts to devise improved biodetection capabilities, leading to miniaturized and autonomous instruments that can detect biothreat agents in a few minutes instead of the days to weeks previously required for DNA analysis.
Today, Livermore researchers address a spectrum of threats – radiological/nuclear, chemical, biological, explosives, and cyber. They combine physical and life sciences, engineering, computations, and analysis to develop technologies that solve real-world problems. Activities are grouped into five programs:
LLNL supports capabilities in a broad range of scientific and technical disciplines, applying current capabilities to existing programs and developing new science and technologies to meet future national needs.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has worked out several energy technologies in the field of coal gasification, shale oil extraction, geothermal energy, advanced battery research, solar energy, and fusion energy. Main oil shale processing technologies worked out by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are LLNL HRS (hot-recycled-solid), LLNL RISE (in situ extraction technology) and LLNL radiofrequency technologies.
Over its 60-year history, Lawrence Livermore has made many scientific and technological achievements, including:
On July 17, 2009 LLNL announced that the Laboratory had received eight R&D 100 Awards – more than it had ever received in the annual competition. The previous LLNL record of seven awards was reached five times – in 1987, 1988, 1997, 1998 and 2006.
Also known as the “Oscars of invention”, the awards are given each year for the development of cutting-edge scientific and engineering technologies with commercial potential. The awards raise LLNL’s total number of awards since 1978 to 129.
On October 12, 2016, LLNL released the results of computerized modeling of Mars' moon Phobos, finding that it has a connection with keeping the Earth safe from asteroids.
Throughout its history, LLNL has been a leader in computers and scientific computing. Even before the Livermore Lab opened its doors, E.O. Lawrence and Edward Teller recognized the importance of computing and the potential of computational simulation. Their purchase of one of the first UNIVAC computers, set the precedent for LLNL’s history of acquiring and exploiting the fastest and most capable supercomputers in the world. A succession of increasingly powerful and fast computers have been used at the Lab over the years.
The November 2007 release of the 30th TOP500 list of the 500 most powerful computer systems in the world, has LLNL’s Blue Gene/L computer in first place for the seventh consecutive time. Five other LLNL computers are in the top 100. The November 2008 release of the TOP500 list places the Blue Gene/L supercomputer behind the Pleiades supercomputer in NASA/Ames Research Center, the Jaguar supercomputer in Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and the IBM Roadrunner supercomputer in Los Alamos National Laboratory. Currently, the Blue Gene/L computer can sustain 478.2 trillion operations per second, with a peak of 596.4 trillion operations per second.
On June 22, 2006, researchers at LLNL announced that they had devised a scientific software application that sustained 207.3 trillion operations per second. The record performance was made at LLNL on Blue Gene/L, the world's fastest supercomputer with 131,072 processors. The record was a milestone in the evolution of predictive science, a field in which researchers use supercomputers to answer questions about such subjects as: materials science simulations, global warming, and reactions to natural disasters.
LLNL has a long history of developing computing software and systems. Initially, there was no commercially available software, and computer manufacturers considered it the customer’s responsibility to develop their own. Users of the early computers had to write not only the codes to solve their technical problems, but also the routines to run the machines themselves. Today, LLNL computer scientists focus on creating the highly complex physics models, visualization codes, and other unique applications tailored to specific research requirements. A great deal of software also has been written by LLNL personnel to optimize the operation and management of the computer systems, including operating system extensions such as CHAOS (Linux Clustering) and resource management packages such as SLURM. The Peloton procurements in late 2006 (Atlas and other computers) were the first in which a commercial resource management package, Moab, was used to manage the clusters.
In August 2009 a joint venture was announced between Sandia National Laboratories/California campus and LLNL to create an open, unclassified research and development space called the Livermore Valley Open Campus (LVOC). The motivation for the LVOC stems from current and future national security challenges that require increased coupling to the private sector to understand threats and deploy solutions in areas such as high performance computing, energy and environmental security, cyber security, economic security, and non-proliferation.
The LVOC is modeled after research and development campuses found at major industrial research parks and other U.S. Department of Energy laboratories with campus-like security, a set of business and operating rules devised to enhance and accelerate international scientific collaboration and partnerships with U.S. government agencies, industry and academia. Ultimately, the LVOC will consist of an approximately 110-acre parcel along the eastern edge of the Livermore Laboratory and Sandia sites, and will house additional conference space, collaboration facilities and a visitor's center to support educational and research activities.
Objectives of LVOC
LLNL's principal sponsor is the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) Office of Defense Programs, which supports its stockpile stewardship and advanced scientific computing programs. Funding to support LLNL's global security and homeland security work comes from the DOE/NNSA Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation as well as the Department of Homeland Security. LLNL also receives funding from DOE’s Office of Science, Office of Civilian Radioactive Waste Management, and Office of Nuclear Energy. In addition, LLNL conducts work-for-others research and development for various Defense Department sponsors, other federal agencies, including NASA, Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), National Institutes of Health, and Environmental Protection Agency, a number of California State agencies, and private industry.
For Fiscal Year 2009 LLNL spent $1.497 billion on research and laboratory operations activities:
Site Management/Operations Budget:
The LLNL Director is appointed by the Board of Governors of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS) and reports to the board. The Laboratory Director also serves as the President of LLNS. Over the course of its history, the following scientists have served as LLNL Director:
The LLNL Director is supported by a senior executive team consisting of the Deputy Director, the Deputy Director for Science and Technology, Principal Associate Directors, and other senior executives who manage areas/functions directly reporting to the Laboratory Director.
The Directors Office is organized into these functional areas/offices:
The Laboratory is organized into four principal directorates, each headed by a Principal Associate Director:
Three other directorates are each headed by an Associate Director who reports to the LLNL Director:
The LLNL Director reports to the Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS) Board of Governors, a group of key scientific, academic, national security and business leaders from the LLNS partner companies that jointly own and control LLNS. The LLNS Board of Governors has a total of 16 positions, with six of these Governors constituting an Executive Committee. All decisions of the Board are made by the Governors on the Executive Committee. The other Governors are advisory to the Executive Committee and do not have voting rights.
The University of California is entitled to appoint three Governors to the Executive Committee, including the Chair. Bechtel is also entitled to appoint three Governors to the Executive Committee, including the Vice Chair. One of the Bechtel Governors must be a representative of Babcock & Wilcox (B&W) or the Washington Division of URS Corporation (URS), who is nominated jointly by B&W and URS each year, and who must be approved and appointed by Bechtel. The Executive Committee has a seventh Governor who is appointed by Battelle; they are non-voting and advisory to the Executive Committee. The remaining Board positions are known as Independent Governors (also referred to as Outside Governors), and are selected from among individuals, preferably of national stature, and can not be employees or officers of the partner companies.
The University of California-appointed Chair has tie-breaking authority over most decisions of the Executive Committee. The Board of Governors is the ultimate governing body of LLNS and is charged with overseeing the affairs of LLNS in its operations and management of LLNL.
LLNS managers and employees who work at LLNL, up to and including the President/Laboratory Director, are generally referred to as Laboratory Employees. All Laboratory Employees report directly or indirectly to the LLNS President. While most of the work performed by LLNL is funded by the federal government, Laboratory employees are paid by LLNS which is responsible for all aspects of their employment including providing health care benefits and retirement programs.
Within the Board of Governors, authority resides in the Executive Committee to exercise all rights, powers, and authorities of LLNS, excepting only certain decisions that are reserved to the parent companies. The LLNS Executive Committee is free to appoint officers or other managers of LLNS and LLNL, and may delegate its authorities as it deems appropriate to such officers, employees, or other representatives of LLNS/LLNL. The Executive Committee may also retain auditors, attorneys, or other professionals as necessary. For the most part the Executive Committee has appointed senior managers at LLNL as the primary officers of LLNS. As a practical matter most operational decisions are delegated to the President of LLNS, who is also the Laboratory Director. The positions of President/Laboratory Director and Deputy Laboratory Director are filled by joint action of the Chair and Vice Chair of the Executive Committee, with the University of California nominating the President/Laboratory Director and Bechtel nominating the Deputy Laboratory Director.
The current LLNS Chairman is Norman J. Pattiz - founder and chairman of Westwood One, America's largest radio network, and he also currently serves on the Board of Regent of the University of California. The Vice Chairman is J. Scott Ogilvie - president of Bechtel Systems & Infrastructure, Inc., he serves on the Board of Directors of Bechtel Group, Inc. (BGI) and on the BGI Audit Committee.
The Livermore Action Group organized many mass protests, from 1981 to 1984, against nuclear weapons which were being produced by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Peace activists Ken Nightingale and Eldred Schneider were involved. On June 22, 1982, more than 1,300 anti-nuclear protesters were arrested in a nonviolent demonstration. More recently, there has been an annual protest against nuclear weapons research at Lawrence Livermore. In August 2003, 1,000 people protested at Livermore Labs against "new-generation nuclear warheads". In the 2007 protest, 64 people were arrested. More than 80 people were arrested in March 2008 while protesting at the gates.
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