U.S. Conducts Fifth Nonexplosive Plutonium Test

Sources on Wednesday disclosed the completion between April and June of a fifth Z machine plutonium trial intended for studying the capacities of U.S. nuclear armaments, Kyodo News reported.

Scientists at the Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico scrutinized plutonium activity under high pressure and heat levels like those of a detonating nuclear bomb, the National Nuclear Security Administration personnel said. The Z machine can generate X-rays of unparalleled intensity to mimic the fusion reactions of nuclear warheads, the sources indicated.

Experiments involving the Z machine supplement a separate series of subcritical nuclear trials, the semiautonomous Energy Department office has said.

The United States conducted its most recent nuclear test detonation 20 years ago. It began the subcritical experiments in 1997 and the additional plutonium trials in 2010 to help ensure the upkeep of its aging nuclear weapons.

September 21, 2012
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Sources on Wednesday disclosed the completion between April and June of a fifth Z machine plutonium trial intended for studying the capacities of U.S. nuclear armaments, Kyodo News reported.

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