April 23, 2012
The Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experimental Research Facility at the Nevada National Security Site
The Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA), Joint Actinide Shock Physics Experimental Research (JASPER) facility plays an integral role in the certification of the Nation's nuclear weapons stockpile. In February 2009, JASPER, located at the Nevada National Security Site, discontinued operations and all JASPER experiments with Special Nuclear Materials ceased when an abnormal amount of contamination was identified as a result of an alpha plutonium experiment. Our review disclosed NNSA returned the JASPER Facility to full operational status within the budgeted cost and schedule milestones and mitigated the adverse impacts of JASPER's shutdown by obtaining meaningful and complimentary data from other experiments to support NNSA's milestones and the stockpile stewardship program. However; we identified several issues that could affect future operation of the facility. Specifically, we identified problems related to the risk of future contamination and re-categorization of JASPER as a radiological facility rather than its current categorization as a hazard category 3 nuclear facility.
Topic: National Security & Safety