Mark Hart, a scientist and engineer in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s (LLNL) Defense Technologies Division, has been awarded the 2015 Surety Transformation Initiative (STI) Award from the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Enhanced Surety Program.
The STI award aims to stimulate and encourage the development of potentially transformational nuclear weapon surety technologies and explore innovative, preferably monumental shift solutions, to unmet surety needs.
“STI’s task is to reach beyond the traditional stockpile stewardship function of maintaining existing nuclear weapon capability in the absence of supercritical testing,” said Robert Sherman, enhanced surety federal program manager in NNSA’s Technology Maturation Division. “STI is intended not to maintain or polish ‘your grandfather’s Oldsmobile,’ but to go beyond it: to invent devices and technologies that serve the 21st century nuclear security needs of the American people better than they are served by existing Cold War legacy technologies.”
Hart’s winning proposal is for Intrinsic Use Control (IUC), a concept that is capable of providing improved quantifiable safety and use control within a nuclear weapon. Nuclear weapons exist, therefore control is essential. Use control of a weapon is focused on providing unencumbered authorized use while restricting unauthorized use. Safety, use control and physical security work in concert for the weapon’s surety. IUC provides a less than 10-18 chance of controlling or operating an individual protected component, and a less than 10-72 chance of controlling or operating the entire protected system.