DOE selects Livermore as site for $1.1 billion laser

Groundbreaking is expected soon at Lawrence Livermore for construction of the National Ignition Facility (NIF). The 192-beam, $1.1-billion laser will play a central role in the nation's science-based strategy for maintaining the safety and reliability of the country's stockpiled nuclear weapons.
The NIF is designed to achieve fusion ignition and push the boundaries of high-temperature and high-density physics while helping researchers validate advanced weapons codes, evaluate specific problems that may develop in warheads as they age, and maintain expertise about nuclear weapons. NIF will also support Laboratory missions in energy, basic science, and technology.
Livermore's selection as the site for NIF was announced by the Department of Energy last December in conjunction with the issuance of a formal decision on a comprehensive plan for managing the nation's nuclear weapons, including a makeover of the nuclear weapons complex. The Stockpile Stewardship and Management Program is DOE's blueprint for using scientific means to maintain the safety and reliability of the stockpile in the absence of nuclear testing.
Over 75% of NIF's cost will be spent in the construction and manufacturing industries. More than 6,000 jobs will be created during the 1996-2002 design and construction phase of the project; about 2,800 of those jobs will be in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Contact: Bill Hogan (510) 422-1344 (

Lab sensors help find possible lunar ice

Livermore researchers contributed to the discovery, announced last year, that a perpetually dark, frigid region at the Moon's South Pole could be a cold trap harboring ice crystals carried there by comets or asteroids.
Sensors developed at the Laboratory were used on Clementine I, the lunar mapping satellite that orbited the Moon in 1994, to determine the depth of a large area of craters and basins at the lunar South Pole.
Stewart Nozette, deputy program manager for Clementine I, proposed the novel idea of using Clementine's communications transmitter as a radar to test a theory that ice crystals might be trapped there. Nozette and fellow scientists succeeded in acquiring radar signatures that indicated the presence of "volatiles" in the polar region, probably in the form of water or methane ice.
The Clementine mission was sponsored by the Department of Defense and NASA as a way to test sensor technology to be used by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization. The Lab created the package of six sensors used to map the Moon and gather various data.
Contact: Stewart Nozette (510) 424-4964.

Partnership aids in port-wine birthmark treatment

Doctors soon will be able to individually tailor treatments for removal of port-wine-stain birthmarks thanks to a research partnership between Lawrence Livermore and the University of California at Irvine's Beckman Laser Institute and Medical Clinic.
A birthmark that affects about 12,000 Americans born each year, port-wine stains result from an excessive number of oversized blood vessels near the skin's surface. In the past, doctors have had to treat the light pink to deep purple discolorations by simply estimating the laser energy and pulse length needed to remove them.
The medical community's newest tool is a computer code that helps doctors pinpoint the precise laser parameters needed to remove port-wine stains on an individual patient basis. Originally developed by Livermore electronics engineer Dennis Goodman to improve astronomical imaging, the code has been converted by Goodman and Beckman researchers into a diagnostic tool for birthmark removal.
Goodman started working with Beckman researchers in 1993 under a partnership arrangement and has continued to conduct research with the clinic's medical staff. Clinical trials using the three-dimensional diagnostic technique to treat patients have started and will continue for about a year.
Contact: Dennis Goodman (510) 423-7893 (

Livermore cosponsors environmental security workshop

A broad cross section of scientists, government leaders, and academics met in Monterey, California, last December to identify local, regional, and global environmental concerns relevant to U.S. national interests and to discuss the role of science in understanding and resolving them.
Entitled "Environmental Security and National Security: An International Challenge to Science and Technology," the workshop attracted over 100 representatives from the environmental, national security, and research communities. They were exposed to an array of environmental security issues by scholars in international law, policy analysis, industrial ecology, energy, global systems, and public health.
The event was cosponsored by the Laboratory, the University of California, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University's Institute for International Studies, Columbia University, the Woodrow Wilson Center, and the U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense, and State.
Contact: Shin-yee Lu (510) 422-6882 (
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