Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories

Sandia National Laboratories, which is managed and operated by the Sandia Corporation (a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation), is a major United States Department of Energy research and development national laboratory with two locations, one in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the other in Livermore, California. Its primary mission is to develop, engineer, and test the non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons. Its main secured campus is ~4.4 square miles (11 km²) and is located on Kirtland Air Force Base. Sandia is a National Nuclear Security Administration laboratory.

It is Sandia's mission to maintain the reliability and surety of nuclear weapon systems, conduct research and development in arms control and nonproliferation technologies, and investigate methods for the disposal of the US's nuclear weapons program's hazardous waste. Other missions include research and development in energy and environmental programs, as well as the surety of critical national infrastructures. In addition, Sandia is home to a wide variety of research including computational biology, mathematics (through its Computer Science Research Institute), materials science, alternative energy, psychology, and cognitive science initiatives. Sandia formerly hosted ASCI Red, one of the world's fastest supercomputers until its recent decommission, and now hosts ASCI Thor's Hammer. Sandia is also home to the Z Machine. The Z Machine is the largest X-ray generator in the world and is designed to test materials in conditions of extreme temperature and pressure. It is operated by Sandia National Laboratories to gather data to aid in computer modeling of nuclear weapons.

Budget and employment

*FY 1997, total funding = $1.352 billion; full-time employees = 7,676
*FY 1998, total funding (projected) = $1.358 billion; full-time employees = 7,500

Breakdown of expenditures

*Defense programs 47%
*Environmental management 8%
*Nonproliferation and national security 9%
*Energy efficiency and renewable energy 4%
*Energy research 3%
*Civilian radioactive waste management 1%
*Fossil energy 1%
*Nuclear energy 1%
*DoD 16%
*Other non-DOE 6%

Lab history

Sandia National Laboratories' roots go back to World War II and the Manhattan Project. Prior to the United States formally entering the war, the U.S. Army leased land near Albuquerque, New Mexico airport known as Oxnard Field, to service transient Army and U.S. Navy aircraft. In January 1941 construction began on the Albuquerque Army Air Base, leading to establishment of the "Bombardier School-Army Advanced Flying School" near the end of the year. Soon thereafter it was renamed Kirtland Field, after early Army military pilot Colonel Roy S. Kirtland, and in mid-1942 the Army acquired Oxnard Field. During the war years facilities were expanded further and Kirtland Field served as a major Army Air Forces training installation.

In the months leading up to successful detonation of the first atomic bomb, the Trinity Project, and delivery of the first airborne atomic weapon, the Alberta Project, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Director of Los Alamos Laboratory, and his technical advisor, Hartly Rowe, began looking for a new site convenient to Los Alamos for the continuation of weapons development - especially its non-nuclear aspects. They felt a separate division would be best to perform these functions. Kirtland had fulfilled Los Alamos' transportation needs for both the Trinity and Alberta projects, thus, Oxnard Field was transferred from the jurisdiction of the Army Air Corps to the U.S. Army Service Forces Chief of Engineer District, and thereafter, assigned to the Manhattan Engineer District. In July 1945, the forerunner of Sandia Laboratory, known as 'Z' Division, was established at Oxnard Field to handle future weapons development, testing, and bomb assembly for the Manhattan Engineer District. The District- directive calling for establishing a secure area and construction of 'Z' Division facilities referred to this as 'Sandia Base' - apparently the first official recognition of the 'Sandia' name.

Vela satellite

Sandia Laboratory was operated by the University of California until 1949, when President Harry S. Truman asked Western Electric, a subsidiary of American Telephone and Telegraph (AT&T), to assume the operation as an 'opportunity to render an exceptional service in the national interest.' Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of AT&T Corporation, managed and operated the laboratory until October 1993. The United States Congress designated Sandia Laboratories as a National laboratory in 1979. Today, Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is managed and operated by Sandia Corporation, a wholly owned subsidiary of Lockheed Martin Corporation, and includes government-owned facilities in Albuquerque, New Mexico (SNL/NM); Livermore, California (SNL/CA); Tonopah, Nevada; and Kauai, Hawaii. SNL/NM is headquarters and the largest laboratory, employing more than 6,600 employees, while SNL/CA is a smaller laboratory, with about 850 employees. Tonopah and Kauai are occupied on a 'campaign' basis, as test schedules dictate.

Legal issues

On February 13, 2007 a New Mexico State Court found Sandia Corporation liable for $4.7 million in damages for the firing of a former network security analyst, Shawn Carpenter. Mr. Carpenter had reported to his supervisors that hundreds of military installations and defense contractors' networks were compromised and sensitive information was being stolen -- including hundreds of sensitive Lockheed documents on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter project. When his supervisors told him to drop the investigation and do nothing with the information, he went to intelligence officials in the United States Army and later the Federal Bureau of Investigation to address the national security breaches. When Sandia managers discovered his actions months later, they revoked his security clearance and fired him.

Technical areas

SNL/NM consists of five technical areas (TA) and several additional test areas. Each TA has its own distinctive operations, however the operations of some groups at Sandia may span more than one TA, with one part of a team working on a problem from one angle, and another subset of the same team located in a different building or area working with other specialized equipment. A description of each area is given below.

TA-I operations are dedicated primarily to three activities - the design, research, and development of weapon systems; limited production of weapon system components; and energy programs. TA-I facilities include the main library and offices, laboratories, and shops used by administrative and technical staff.

TA-II is a 45 acre (180,000 m²) facility that was established in 1948 for the assembly of chemical high explosive main charges for nuclear weapons and later for production scale assembly of nuclear weapons. Activities in TA-II include the decontamination, decommissioning, and remediation of facilities and landfills used in past research and development activities. Remediation of the Classified Waste Landfill which started in March 1998, neared completion in FY2000. A testing facility, the Explosive Component Facility, integrates many of the previous TA-II test activities as well as some testing activities previously performed in other remote test areas. The Access Delay Technology Test Facility is also located in TA-II.

TA-III is adjacent to and south of TA-V [both are approximately seven miles (11 km) south of TA-I] . TA-III facilities include extensive design-test facilities such as rocket sled tracks, centrifuges and a radiant heat facility. Other facilities in TA-III include a paper destructor, the Melting and Solidification Laboratory and the Radioactive and Mixed Waste Management Facility (RMWMF). RMWMF serves as central processing facility for packaging and storage of low-level and mixed waste. The remediation of the Chemical Waste Landfill, which started in September 1998, is an ongoing activity in TA-III.

TA-IV, located approximately 1/2 mile (1 km) south of TA-I, consists of several inertial-confinement fusion research and pulsed power research facilities, including the High Energy Radiation Megavolt Electron Source (Hermes-III), the Z Facility, the Short Pulsed High Intensity Nanosecond X-Radiator (SPHINX) Facility, and the Saturn Accelerator. TA-IV also hosts some computer science and cognition research.

TA-V contains two research reactor facilities, an intense gamma irradiation facility (using cobalt-60 and caesium-137 sources), and the Hot Cell Facility.

SNL/NM also has test areas outside of the five technical areas listed above. These test areas, collectively known as Coyote Test Field, are located southeast of TA-III and/or in the canyons on the west side of the Manzanita Mountains. Facilities in the Coyote Canyon Test Field include the Solar Tower Facility (34.9623 N , 106.5097 W), the Lurance Canyon Burn Site and the Aerial Cable Facility.


ee also

*Titan Rain
*Shawn Carpenter
*Z machine
*Red Storm
*Kirtland Air Force Base
*National Renewable Energy Laboratory
*Test Readiness Program

External links

* [ Sandia National Laboratories]
* [ "Computerworld" article "Reverse Hacker Case Gets Costlier for Sandia Labs"]
* [ "San Jose Mercury News" article "Ill Lab Workers Fight For Federal Compensation"]
* [ "Wired Magazine" article "Linkin Park's Mysterious Cyberstalker"]
* [ "Slate" article "Stalking Linkin Park"]
* [ "" article "Linkin Park, Nuclear Research and Obsession"]
* [ "The Santa Fe New Mexican" article "Judge Upholds $4.3 Million Jury Award to Fired Sandia Lab Analyst"]
* [ ASCI Red]
* [,8599,1589735,00.html "TIME" article "A Security Analyst Wins Big in Court"]
* [ "The Santa Fe New Mexican" article "Jury Awards Fired Sandia Analyst $4.3 Million"]
* [ "HPCwire" article "Sandia May Unwittingly Have Sold Supercomputer to China"]
* [ "Federal Computer Weekly" article "Intercepts: Chinese Checkers"]
* [ "Congressional Research Service" report "China: Suspected Acquisition of U.S. Nuclear Weapon Secrets"]
* [ "Sandia National Laboratory Cooperative Monitoring Center" article "Engagement with China"]
* [ "" article "Yet Another Lab Scandal"]
* [ US Department of Energy]
* [ United States National Nuclear Security Administration] Official Web Site
* [ US DOE Office of Environmental Management Website]
* [ DOE Laboratory Fact Sheet]
* [ "BBC News" "Security Overhaul at US Nuclear Labs"]
* [,2933,90239,00.html "Fox News" "Iowa Republican Demands Tighter Nuclear Lab Security"]
* [ "UPI" article "Workers Get Bonus After Being Disciplined"]
* [ "IndustryWeek" article "3D Silicon Photonic Lattice"]
* [ October 6, 2005 "The Sante Fe New Mexican" article "Sandia Security Managers Recorded Workers' Calls"]
* [ May 17, 2002 "New Mexico Business Weekly" article "Sandia National Laboratories Says it's Worthless"]

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