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NNSA Leaders, Lab Researchers to Participate in Leading Plasma Physics Conference

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today highlighted the prominent role NNSA leaders and researchers from its national laboratories will play in the American Physical Society’s Plasma Physics conference in Chicago. Established in 1899, APS is one of the largest and most prestigious organizations of physicists in the world.

This year’s 52nd Annual Meeting of the APS’s Division of Plasma Physics will feature presentations from some of NNSA’s most senior leaders and abstracts from papers presented by more than 250 researchers from NNSA’s three national laboratories. NNSA’s prominent role in this year’s conference is a reflection of the cutting edge scientific research at the core of its national security mission.

On Sunday, Nov. 7, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook will present “The NNSA Perspective of the Future of High Energy Density Laboratory Plasma (HEDLP)” during the High Energy Density Science Association’s 3rd HEDLP Symposium as part of the APS meeting. In addition, NNSA Assistant Deputy Administrator for Stockpile Stewardship Programs Dr. Chris Deeney will give a programmatic review of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s National Ignition Facility (NIF) on Wednesday, Nov. 10.

NIF – the world’s largest and highest-energy laser system -- is expected to be the first laser system to demonstrate reliable fusion ignition – the same force that powers the sun and the stars – in a laboratory environment. Built as a part of the NNSA’s program to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the nuclear weapons stockpile without underground testing, NIF also holds the potential for advancements in fusion energy technology and could provide scientists a better understanding of the life of stars in the universe. 

In addition to the presentations by Dr. Cook and Dr. Deeney, the APS meeting’s website lists 254 abstracts from researchers at NNSA’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories.

“The breadth and depth of NNSA participation in this year’s APS meeting is a reminder of the groundbreaking scientific research going on across the nuclear security enterprise,” said Deputy Administrator Cook.  “NNSA is fortunate to have some of the most talented and dedicated scientists in the world working to tackle some of the country’s most important challenges.”

Among the 139 abstracts by Livermore scientists listed on the APS meeting’s website are presentations from scientists working at NIF detailing the results of the latest integrated shot and what that means for NIF’s efforts to achieve fusion ignition.

Los Alamos has 75 abstracts listed on the APS meeting’s website, including investigations of the nature of carbon ion beams created when high-energy, ultra-intense, short-pulse lasers interact with hemispherical diamond shells. LANL researchers will present on what happens when intense laser light strikes ultra-thin (nanometer-scale) solid foils.

Sandia has 40 abstracts listed on the APS meeting’s website, including a discussion by researchers at Sandia’s Z machine on a new capability to image a critical experimental instability that can rip apart a contracting (“pinching”) plasma. The experiments provided data to validate and improve computer simulations used to support NNSA’s stockpile stewardship program.

For more information about the APS meeting see:

For a complete list of speakers see:

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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.