The United States on Wednesday completed a nuclear test that did not involve the fission process necessary for atomic detonations, the National Nuclear Security Administration said.
The trial, dubbed "Pollux," would yield findings critical for ensuring the dependability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, the semiautonomous Energy Department agency said in a press release. The study took place at the Nevada National Security Site and involved personnel based at that complex, as well as with specialists from the Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories in New Mexico.
“Challenging subcritical experiments maintain our capabilities to ensure that we can support a safe, secure and effective stockpile without having to conduct underground testing,” NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino said in provided remarks. “I applaud the work done by the men and women who worked to make this experiment successful. Experiments such as this help deliver President Obama’s nuclear security agenda.”
The subcritical test was the 27th in a series of exercises completed to examine how plutonium responds to a conventional explosive detonation. The last such trial, "Barolo B," took place on Feb. 2, 2011.
“Diagnostic equipment fielded by our scientists resulted in more data collected in this single experiment than all other previous subcritical experiments,” NNSA Deputy Administrator Don Cook said in the statement. “This type of data is critical for ensuring our computer simulations can accurately predict performance, and thus continued confidence in the safety and effectiveness of the nation’s stockpile.”