NNSA uses modern tools and capabilities in the engineering sciences field which are needed to ensure the safety, security, reliability and performance of the current and future U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile. It also provides the solid and sustained engineering basis for stockpile certification and assessments that are needed throughout the entire lifecycle of each weapon.
NNSA develops capabilities to assess and improve the engineering components of both the non-nuclear and nuclear explosive package in nuclear weapons without further underground testing. Additionally, NNSA's engineering capabilities increase its ability to predict the response of all weapons components and subsystems to harsh environments (like underwater or the extreme cold of space) and the effects of aging.
Basic research and concept development are conducted by NNSA to include scientific discovery, and understanding the underlying engineering phenomena that control a weapon's performance. Assessment tools are used for new engineering phenomena introduced by changes to weapons - those that leave large uncertainties or are no longer available (e.g., loss of underground testing or closing of key experimental facilities).
NNSA is developing modern tools and capabilities essential for the success of transforming the complex to be agile for the future. This includes engineering work for the life extension programs and efforts to consolidate special nuclear that requires the highest level of security.
NNSA's engineering focuses on four areas: