Anatomy of a Nuclear Test


Donald Smith’s talk will be a description of the underground nuclear test program at the Nevada Test Site.  He will give a brief description of the methods that were employed to make high resolution time dependent measurements of the gammas, neutrons, and x-rays that were produced during tests of nuclear devices.  The main part of the talk will be pictorial illustrations of many of the operations that were required by the program.


Aboveground diagnostic setup for an underground experiment at the Nevada Test Site.  Data signals from a test explosion moved from the device, 300 meters downhole, up to the surface through cables, and the cables fanned out along the surface to trailers that housed instruments for reading the signals.


Donald Smith has been at LLNL since 1964, and was a physicist in L Division (test division) from 1964 to 1994.  Since 2001 he has been a half time employee as a retiree.  He worked on approximately 30 underground tests, was Project Physicist for 14 of them, and was the group leader for the Reaction History group from 1991 to 1994. He also worked on the atmospheric test readiness program from 1964 to 1967. He holds a BS in physics from Penn State (1962) and an MS in physics from the University of Wisconsin  Madison (1964).