Enhancing Nuclear Stockpile Confidence

Jim Lewicki (background) and Brian Mayer along with chemist Sarah Chinn

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory are developing a suite of tiny, rugged sensors that could be embedded inside every nuclear weapon to report on the health of critical components as well as on the external environment. The embedded sensors would relay information, perhaps through a USB-like port, whenever scientists deem it necessary. The sensors would thus make possible for the first time “persistent surveillance,” that is, continuous monitoring of a weapon’s state of health. Livermore’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program funded much of the original proof-of-principle research through the “Transformational Materials Initiative” (06-SI-005).

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