Criticality experiment succeeds at CEF in Nevada

June 28, 2011
Criticality experiment succeeds at CEF in Nevada
The Los Alamos criticality team at the Planet control panel in Nevada. From left, Joetta Goda, Rene Sanchez and David Hayes, all members of LANL's Advanced Nuclear Technology group.

On June 15 a team of researchers at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory brought the Planet criticality assembly machine located at the Nevada National Security Site to a supercritical point for approximately eight minutes, successfully repeating an experiment last conducted at Los Alamos in 2004.

This experiment, bringing a small amount of nuclear material into a using the Planet assembly, demonstrated the restoration of a national capability to perform critical operations that was lost with the closure in 2005 of Technical Area 18 at Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Los Alamos team has been working since that time to move four criticality assemblies and more than a ton of associated nuclear material to the Criticality Experiments Facility (CEF) operated by the Laboratory at the Nevada National Security Site.

Experiments at CEF help support a variety of missions, including validating the performance of specific radiation detection instruments and providing hands-on training for criticality safety engineers and nuclear-material handlers.

These experiments address issues including criticality safety processes; criticality safety for storage, transportation, and disposition of ; criticality issues in device assessment and performance; domestic and international safeguards technology; safety guidelines for the nuclear power industry worldwide through research, modeling and ; and arms control and treaty verification.

Explore further: Security breach at Los Alamos

Related Stories

Security breach at Los Alamos

June 15, 2007

The Los Alamos, N.M., National Laboratory reportedly breached national security by sending classified nuclear weapons information over the Internet.

Audit says Los Alamos Lab broke rules

August 1, 2006

U.S. Department of Energy auditors say the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico violated administrative procedures involving data protection.

Better Los Alamos monitoring urged

March 4, 2006

A geologist says new monitoring wells and an independent company should monitor the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico for contamination.

Los Alamos contract to be decided soon

November 17, 2005

The fate of U.S. nuclear exploration is waiting on the Department of Energy to decide who will get a contract to operate Los Alamos National Laboratory.

100 evacuated as NM fire threatens Los Alamos lab

June 27, 2011

(AP) -- Federal forest officials say a wind-driven wildfire has forced the evacuations of about 100 people in northern New Mexico and the closure of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Second Z plutonium 'shot' safely tests materials for NNSA

May 12, 2011

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced that researchers from Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories have completed their second experiment in the past six months at Sandia’s Z machine ...

Recommended for you

High-precision magnetic field sensing

December 2, 2016

Scientists have developed a highly sensitive sensor to detect tiny changes in strong magnetic fields. The sensor may find widespread use in medicine and other areas.

LIGO back online, ready for more discoveries

December 1, 2016

Today (November 30), scientists restarted the twin detectors of LIGO, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory, after making several improvements to the system. Over the last year, they have made enhancements ...

A friend of a friend is... a dense network

December 1, 2016

It's a familiar request in the digital age: one of your friends on social media has a friend who wants to be your friend. Frequent linking among friends of friends can cause a rapid increase in social network connectivity.

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

rawa1
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
I'm missing "Don't do this at home" label here... BTW The control panel illustrating the article is from Flattop device.
Doug_Huffman
5 / 5 (2) Jun 28, 2011
Why? By all means, if you can acquire sufficient fissionable material then, don't delay, assemble your own critical mass. It is so much cheaper than heating with gas, non-toxic too.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.