July 13 2016 0comment

Nuclear Profile: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

In our last post, we profiled the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). Today, we will look at one of INL’s sister labs: The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL).

The LLNL is located in the foothills east of California’s Bay Area, tucked away in the Lawrence Livermore Valley. It was founded in 1952 by the University of California and is a federally funded facility. It’s main funding comes from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

The manager/operator is Lawrence Livermore National Security, which is comprised of a working group that includes the University of California and several government contractors. Among them are Bechtel, Babcock and Wilcox, and URS. Texas A&M also plays a roll at the lab.

The lab is surrounded by the city of Livermore, which makes it different than other national labs that are located far away from the closest towns and communities, in sparsely populated areas such as the deserts of Idaho (the INL) and New Mexico (Sandia National Laboratories). The lab is by far the biggest employer in Livermore.

LLNL’s purpose is the research and development of national security-focused science and technology. Among the biggest projects at the lab those focused on nuclear weapons and plutonium research. There are no nuclear reactors or plants at LLNL.

The lab is home to the National Ignition Facility (NIF) which houses the largest and highest-energy laser in the entire world. Among the other interesting and unique facilities are the Biosecurity and Nanoscience Laboratory, the High Explosives Applications Facility, the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center, and the Titan Laser.

Since it was opened, the LLNL has also been a world leader in computer technology. Over the years, the lab has been home to the fastest and most powerful supercomputers in the world.

With an annual budget of $1.5 billion, the LLNL employs a staff of some 5,800 workers on its 1-square-mile campus.

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