WASHINGTON, DC – A senior official at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today that gas transfer system research, development and design authority will be consolidated to NNSA's Sandia National Laboratories.
"This is one example of our efforts to downsize, streamline, and clarify work throughout NNSA's national security enterprise," said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Robert Smolen. "Like any business, we are taking steps to eliminate redundancies and create focused mission centers at our sites."
The gas transfer system is an essential non-nuclear warhead component that enables tritium, a radioactive isotope of hydrogen, to boost the yield of a nuclear weapon. As part of Complex Transformation, NNSA's plan for a smaller, more efficient national security enterprise, supply management and research support operations involving significant quantities of tritium will be consolidated to the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
However, design and development of gas transfer systems will be made more efficient by consolidating work not requiring the actual presence of tritium at Sandia National Laboratories. The lab was chosen because of its engineering and scientific capabilities and expertise needed for this type of work.
Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation's national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.
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