Secrecy News

JASON on the Physics of Nuclear Weapons

Despite the extensive data obtained through the conduct of more than 1000 nuclear explosive tests, there is still much that is unknown or imperfectly understood about the science of nuclear weapons.

A newly disclosed report prepared in 2011 by the JASON science advisory panel assessed efforts by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to “develop improved understanding of the underlying physics of the materials and components in nuclear weapons.”

The study was released in redacted form last week in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the Federation of American Scientists. See Hydrodynamic and Nuclear Experiments, JASON report JSR-11-340, November 2011.

More recently, JASON performed “a short study of the science and technology enabling improved measurement, characterization, and understanding of the state of stress in engineered subsurface systems of the Earth’s crust.” See Subsurface Characterization, Jason letter report JSR-14-Task-013, September 2014.