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National Nuclear Security Administration

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Overview Edit

The National Nuclear Security Admistration (NNSA) was established in 2000 as a separately organized agency within the Department of Energy (DOE) and is responsible for the nation’s nuclear weapons, nonproliferation, and naval reactors programs.

Supercomputing capabilities Edit

The NNSA provides classified supercomputing capabilities for assessing the performance of nuclear weapons. In the absence of nuclear weapons testing — which ceased in 1992 — the simulation capabilities of NNSA’s supercomputers are a necessary means to determine the effects of changes to current weapons systems and to determine a level of confidence in the performance of future untested systems. These simulation capabilities also contribute to the enhancement of NNSA’s ability to predict the performance of weapons systems to ensure the systems meet all military requirements established by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD).

NNSA’s three nuclear weapons laboratories — Los Alamos National Laboratory (Los Alamos) in New Mexico, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (Livermore) in California, and the Sandia National Laboratories (Sandia) with locations in New Mexico and California — use these supercomputing simulation capabilities to obtain a comprehensive understanding of the entire nuclear weapons life cycle, from design to safe processes for dismantlement. These classified supercomputing capabilities are a considerable investment and serve as a cornerstone for NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program.

In addition, classified supercomputing capabilities are essential for informing critical decisions related to the nuclear stockpile, including all stockpile modernization and warhead studies. NNSA classified supercomputing capabilities are also used to address other areas of national security, including intelligence analyses, nuclear forensics, and emergency response. Because of the importance of these classified supercomputing capabilities to issues central to national security, contingency disaster recovery planning are key to ensuring that, when unexpected events occur, NNSA can recover and reconstitute its classified supercomputing systems, data, and operations.

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