National Nuclear Science Week – Jan. 24-28

Each day NNSA will showcase its contributions to the innovations and opportunities in nuclear science


January 24-28 is National Nuclear Science Week, a week-long celebration aimed at promoting local, regional and national interest in all aspects of nuclear science. As one of the nation’s premiere drivers of innovation in nuclear science, technology and engineering, the National Nuclear Security Administration is committed to promoting excellence in nuclear science and attracting the next generation of nuclear security experts to the field.

President Obama and Energy Secretary Steven Chu have outlined the Obama Administration’s commitment reinvigorating math and science education. Since nuclear science is at the core of everything NNSA does, this week we are celebrating National Nuclear Science Week.

Each day NNSA will showcase its contributions to the innovations and opportunities in nuclear science.

NNSA Celebrates National Nuclear Security Week -- Press Release


Friday: Celebrating Science: Cutting-edge facilities 

NNSA is proud of the resources and state-of-art-facilities throughout the nuclear security enterprise. With more than six decades of cutting-edge nuclear security experience, NNSA is able to accomplish its work across its four mission areas. NNSA is fortunate to have various research facilities that help promote excellence in nuclear science and attracting the next generation of nuclear security experts to the field. Some of those facilities are highlighted below.

National Ignition Facility

The National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is considered the world's largest and highest-energy laser. NIF is working on integrated ignition experiments that will focus the energy of 192 giant laser beams on a BB-sized target filled with hydrogen fuel. NIF's ultimate goal is to fuse the hydrogen atoms' nuclei and produce more energy than the laser energy required to spark the reaction.

For video of NIF, please go here:

Fact sheets are at:

Z machine

The Z machine is the world's largest and most powerful laboratory Z-pinch X-ray source.  With the 2007 refurbishment of the Z machine, X-ray energies greater than 2 million joules and X-ray powers exceeding 300 trillion watts have been produced, as well as producing pressures greater than those at the center of the Earth.


NNSA is committed to developing the fastest supercomputing platforms and the most advanced simulation and modeling capabilities in the world. The Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program provides NNSA with leading edge, high-end simulation capabilities. The ASC program helps NNSA to meet nuclear weapons assessment and certification requirements, including: weapon codes, weapon science, computing platforms, and supporting infrastructure.



The Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test facility (DARHT) consists of two large x-ray machines that produce freeze-frame radiographs (high-powered X-ray images) of materials that implode at speeds greater than 10,000 miles an hour. Such radiographs help scientists ensure that weapons in the stockpile are safe and effective and that—if ever necessary—they will perform as designed.

Last LRU installation LANL

For more images of nuclear science workers from across the NNSA enterprise, click here.


Thursday: Science of Nuclear Nonproliferation

President Obama has outlined an ambitious nuclear security agenda that includes securing all vulnerable material around the world, preventing nuclear smuggling, and strengthening international efforts to prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and material. NNSA’s strong expertise in nuclear science and engineering is at the core of that effort.

Using the unique facilities and scientific skills of NNSA and Department of Energy national laboratories, and in partnership with industry and academia, R&D program efforts provide the technical base for national and homeland security agencies to meet their nonproliferation, counterproliferation, and counterterrorism responsibilities.

Learn more about NNSA’s nuclear nonproliferation related R&D here:

See Jan Cerveny, Assistant Deputy Administrator for Nonproliferation and Verification Research and Development, discuss some of NNSA’s nonproliferation work:



For more images of nuclear science workers from across the NNSA enterprise, click here.


Wednesday: Nuclear Medicine

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has leveraged more than 65 years of expertise in nuclear science to tackle some of our nation’s most pressing national security challenges. Our investment in nuclear security provides the tools to tack a broad range of other challenges. 

Over the past year NNSA and the national laboratories have made significant strides in the fight to find answers to the challenges posed by cancer, HIV/AIDS and other diseases.

Cancer Treating Isotopes

The history of NNSA and the history of our nation’s production of cancer treating radioisotopes are directly connected. Learn more about how these treatments, which have saved countless lives, had there beginnings in Building 9731 at the Y-12 National Security Complex.


NNSA Super Computing HIV/AIDS

As part of our stockpile stewardship mission, NNSA has built some of the world’s fastest supercomputers. In addition to developing new fields of predictive sciences, NNSA’s supercomputing resources have also helped track the global spread diseases like HIV/AIDS.

Learn more:
Scientists use world's fastest supercomputer to create the largest HIV evolutionary tree, click here.

Leveraging Nonproliferation R&D to Fight Cancer

NNSA’s investments in research and development continue to drive innovation in medical treatments. For example, NNSA-funded researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) were recently awarded the 2010 North American Frost & Sullivan Award for Technology Innovation of the Year. The award was given to BNL and its commercial partner, Hybridine Imaging Technologies, Inc. for ProxiScan TM, a compact, high-resolution gamma camera currently used for prostate cancer detection but with applications for other cancer diagnostics.

Through their nuclear nonproliferation work, NNSA and BNL developed a specialized cadmium-zinc-telluride (CZT) gamma-ray detection material for the next generation of detectors that are deployed throughout the world to prevent nuclear smuggling and proliferation.

Medical Isotopes

Molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) is a crucial radioisotope that is used in approximately 80 percent of all nuclear medicine diagnostic procedures and in roughly 50,000 diagnostic and therapeutic nuclear medicine procedures performed every day in the United States. Mo-99’s primary uses include the detection of disease, including heart disease and cancer, and to study organ structure and function. While the isotope’s short half-life and excellent binding properties make it uniquely suited for medical procedures, current suppliers use highly enriched uranium (HEU) to produce this material.  The global community is working to eliminate the use of HEU, which is attractive to terrorists seeking to build an improvised nuclear device (IND).

Learn more:
NNSA Works to Minimize the use of HEU in Medical Isotope Production

First LEU-Produced Molybdenum-99 Approved for Patient Use Arrives in U.S.


workers z-machine NUCLEAR ENERGY RESEARCH Water Disrupter


For more images of nuclear science workers from across the NNSA enterprise, click here.

Tuesday: Careers in the Nuclear Fields

NNSA has the best science, technology and engineering in the world, and NNSA is fortunate to have dedicated professionals who are truly leaders in their fields working every day to promote our nuclear security mission. The people who make up the nuclear security enterprise are on the front lines fighting nuclear terrorism and proliferation every single day, keeping us safe at home and abroad.

NNSA's total workforce consists of about 3,000 Federal employees and 30,000 contractors who work in locations across the country and around the world. NNSA’s employees come from a broad variety of educational and professional backgrounds to fill many different types of jobs.

Explore our website for information on NNSA's Federal job opportunities:


NNSA highlights careers in nuclear science:

Check out job opportunities from around the nuclear enterprise:


B61 Neutron Generator Assembly NIF Cover

For more images of nuclear science workers from across the NNSA enterprise, click here.


Monday: Nuclear Science & National Security

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) plays a vital role in advancing nuclear science.  NNSA is responsible for enhancing global security through nuclear deterrence, nonproliferation, counterterrorism, naval nuclear propulsion, and national leadership in science, technology and engineering.  Our ability to succeed in each of these areas is a result of the outstanding nuclear science and technology across our enterprise.

Dr. Njema J. Frazier, an NNSA physicist, provides information about NNSA’s programs:


NNSA has a number of programs that help promote nuclear science throughout the country. To read more about NNSA’s programs see:

B53 and Gen. Harencak

For more images of nuclear science workers from across the NNSA enterprise, click here.