The United States this week carried out its 100th trial using a nuclear arsenal support system at the Nevada National Security Site, the U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration announced.
The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California is expected to use data from the Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experimental Research firing system test to calculate the behavior of plutonium in certain heat, "strain" and barometric conditions. Forty-one of the 100 JASPER trials completed to date have involved plutonium.
The trials, which involve striking an object within a holding receptacle at speeds approaching five miles per second, enable experts to quantify information relevant to certain aspects of nuclear armaments, according to an NNSA press release. Uses for trial information include confirming electronic simulations of how substances perform in armaments, as well as assessing "material equation of state."
“Data gathered from experiments conducted on JASPER and the other tools and facilities throughout the national nuclear security enterprise helps NNSA meet its mission in ensuring the safety, security and effectiveness of the nuclear deterrent without underground nuclear explosive testing," NNSA Deputy Administrator Don Cook said in the release. "These experiments also help achieve President Obama’s nuclear security objectives.”
The equipment's initial plutonium test took place in 2003. The Livermore facility administers the tests with support from a team comprised of its own personnel and experts from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, as well as from the Nevada location's contract operator.