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NNSA Seeks Greater Nuclear Arms Focus for Laser Array

The Obama administration late last year recommended increasing a massive laser array's focus on conducting nuclear-weapon experiments after the system failed to meet a 2012 deadline for achieving fusion "ignition," the Livermore Independent reported on Friday.

Certain congressional insiders previously expressed doubts over the National Nuclear Security Administration's three-year proposal for funding and operation of the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California.

"Decreasing funding for the ignition program, or more broadly, NIF experiments in support of the NNSA weapons science program, would run counter to the longstanding judgment of the nuclear weapons policy community on the importance of maintaining scientific expertise in support of U.S. national security goals," the semiautonomous Energy Department office said in a December report to lawmakers. "It is imperative for the stockpile stewardship [program] to continue an ignition effort focused on improving the understanding of the science underlying ignition."

Stockpile stewardship is the ongoing technical effort to ensure the U.S. nuclear arsenal remains safe, secure and reliable.

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