U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry toured NIF on March 26 during an all-day visit to LLNL. The day’s agenda included meetings with members of Lab management, other facility tours, and a briefing on high performance computing initiatives and collaborations.
One of the Secretary’s key priorities for the visit was to learn more about the contributions the Lab is making to veterans. A U.S. Air Force veteran and longest-serving governor in Texas history, Perry has made veterans’ issues a top priority in his first year at the helm of the Department of Energy (DOE).
During his Livermore Lab visit, he lunched with veterans from LLNL, Lawrence Berkeley and Sandia national laboratories, and SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and was briefed on LLNL’s efforts to use high-performance computing to address veteran-related challenges. Researchers, including collaborators from the University of California, San Francisco, presented Perry with information on collaborations with the National Cancer Institute, including the Accelerating Therapeutics for Opportunities in Medicine (ATOM) consortium for speedier cancer drug discovery, as well as precision medicine and national security.
Perry concluded his day with an all-hands meeting for employees of LLNL, Sandia National Laboratories, and the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Livermore Field Office. He praised Lab employees for “making a difference in people’s lives,” and he reaffirmed DOE’s commitment to securing the future of its national laboratories.
Perry acknowledged that he didn’t completely “know the depth” of DOE’s mission until he took over as secretary, but has grown to appreciate the national laboratories for their ingenuity, innovation and potential.
“I’ve come to understand what they do and have found this great new passion in my life to be a supporter, a cheerleader, a proponent of these national jewels,” Perry said. “You are all fortunate to get to work at a facility like this.
“What you’re doing in a lot of different areas has the potential to change the world,” he said. “The computational capacity, what you have the potential to do, is nothing less than world-changing. This Lab is going to be part of a story, it may not be 10 years from now—it may be sooner than that, of how people’s lives really get affected in a positive way.”
The Laboratory was host to a week-long U.S.-United Kingdom Joint Working Group (JOWOG) meeting on plasma physics and high energy density (HED) physics from March 5 to 9. JOWOGs enable technical exchanges between UK and U.S. collaborators via the two nations’ 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement, which was reaffirmed by the signing of a new Statutory Determination.
The partnership covers experiments and simulations in support of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)’s Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) at HED research facilities. JOWOG37 provides a forum for the presentation and exchange of information on topics such as radiation transport and hydrodynamics, radiation sources and effects, material properties (equation of state, material strength, and opacity), nuclear boost/burn physics, and atomic physics in the HED regime.
Much of the data are obtained on large laser facilities such as NIF, the Omega Laser Facility at the University of Rochester, the Z Facility at Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), and the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE)’s Orion Laser Facility in Aldermaston, UK.
The 140 attendees and presenters at the meeting were from LLNL, Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), SNL, AWE, General Atomics, the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, the Laboratory for Laser Energetics at the University of Rochester, the Nevada National Security Site, and NNSA.
The technical agenda included oral and poster sessions on HED and inertial confinement fusion results from various experiments. A side session and poster session covered a variety of topics on target fabrication at LLNL, AWE, General Atomics, and LANL, including opacity and double-shell targets, advanced foam technologies, aerogels, and robotic target assembly.
“I was delighted to host such an important meeting,” said NIF & Photon Science researcher Hye-Sook Park. “The scientific and technical presentations were excellent, truly representing cutting-edge science in the high energy density physics area. The NIF results were remarkable in terms of scientific quality and importance to the SSP programs. The interactions between the UK and U.S. teams and between the U.S. institutions were very dynamic and positive. Many attendees praised the high-quality scientific program. The fact that this JOWOG was so well received tells us that the NIF results are important to both the NNSA and UK programs.”