RealNews

Simulations help ensure nuclear safety, officials say

As the Bush administration grapples with news of nuclear weapons from North Korea, Energy Department scientists say complex software systems have shown the American stockpiles to be fully secure. On a daily basis, three Energy Department facilities—Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national labs—run complicated simulations to study how the nuclear weapons would react under the stress of explosions, floods, fires or even accidental shootings. The sometimes weeks-long simulations, which officials wouldn’t describe because they’re classified, are to ensure the weapons don’t produce nuclear yield, endangering either lab employees in the near term, or the public in the long term. “In every case, we have found the nuclear weapons stockpile to be very, very safe,” said William Reed, acting director of the Office of Advanced Simulating and Computing at the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration. “We have found no circumstances that lead us to concern.” Full Story

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