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Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

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U.S. Completes Two Nonexplosive Plutonium Trials

The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration on Monday noted a pair of Z machine plutonium trials completed in the last quarter of 2012 in support of continuing work to ensure the nation's nuclear deterrent remains viable without explosive testing.

The Z machine can generate X-rays of unparalleled intensity to mimic the fusion reactions of nuclear warheads, allowing for analysis of plutonium reactions under conditions like those of a detonating nuclear bomb.

The trials -- revealed in newly published data -- brings to eight the quantity of the trials completed since 2010, Kyodo News reported on Tuesday. A separate series of subcritical tests has examined how plutonium responds to conventional explosive detonations.

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