National Nuclear Security Administration

Meet a Machine: Z-Machine creates conditions found nowhere else on Earth

October 17, 2016

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Sandia National Laboratories' Z-Machine.

Sandia National Laboratories' Z-Machine plays a key role in NNSA’s mission to assure the reliability and safety of our nuclear stockpile as it ages. Z-Machine allows scientists to study materials under conditions similar to those produced by the detonation of a nuclear weapon, and produces key data used to validate physics models in computer simulations. Researchers can use Z-Machine to study the effects of nuclear radiation on different materials and under varying conditions to understand how to validate and secure U.S. weapons. Z-Machine just reached an important milestone: the 3,000th shot in support of stockpile stewardship.

Sandia workers check the Z-Machine test for any energy irregularities as they set it up for another experiment.