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Research and Development

The Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development (DNN R&D) reduces the threat to national security posed by nuclear weapons proliferation and illicit nuclear material trafficking by developing technical capabilities that improve the detection, identification, and characterization of: 

  • Foreign nuclear weapons development programs;
  • Diversion of special nuclear materials; and,
  • Nuclear detonations. 

These technology development efforts include not only meeting U.S.-only nuclear security requirements but also multi-lateral nuclear treaty verification requirements.  DNN R&D investments align with National and Departmental strategic goals for nuclear security.

DNN R&D is organized into two offices:

The Office of Proliferation Detection (PD) develops technologies to detect foreign nuclear weapons development activities; to support nuclear arms control treaties verification and monitoring for compliance; and to support national nuclear security more broadly. 

The Office of Nuclear Detonation Detection (NDD) develops, demonstrates, and delivers advanced technologies and systems to operational monitoring agencies to fulfill U.S. requirements and policies to detect, identify, and precisely locate nuclear explosions. 

DNN R&D leverages the unique facilities and scientific skills of the DOE/NNSA’s Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE), other DOE national laboratories, academia, and industry for the performance of research, conduct of technology demonstrations, and development of prototypes for integration into operational systems.  DNN R&D’s investments reinforce a strong foundational development of the next generation of nuclear engineers and scientists for careers in nuclear security R&D and broader nonproliferation activities across the NSE. 

Banner photo: Burning of a filter paper spiked with a solution of irradiated fissile material is shown. In this dry ashing technique, a carrier gas deposits the radioactive sample to another medium for analysis.