IN THE NNSA NATIONAL
Committee on Peer Review and Design Competition
Related to Nuclear Weapons
Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001
This study was supported by Contract No. DE-PI0000010/DE-DT0006061 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Department of Energy. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of the agency that provided support for the project.
International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-37843-7
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-37843-5
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Suggested citation: National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2015. Peer Review and Design Competition in the NNSA National Security Laboratories. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.
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COMMITTEE ON PEER REVIEW AND DESIGN COMPETITION
RELATED TO NUCLEAR WEAPONS
PAUL S. PEERCY, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Co-Chair
JILL P. DAHLBURG, Naval Research Laboratory, Co-Chair
JOHN F. AHEARNE, Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
MICHAEL R. ANASTASIO, Los Alamos National Laboratory (retired)
CHRISTINA A. BACK, General Atomics
JOHN M. CORNWALL, University of California, Los Angeles
PAUL A. FLEURY, Yale University
DAVID HAMMER, Cornell University
CHERRY A. MURRAY, Harvard University
ROBERT E. NICKELL, Applied Science & Technology1
DAVID OVERSKEI, Decision Factors, Inc.
K. LEE PEDDICORD, Texas A&M University
ROBERT SELDEN, Independent Consultant
STEVEN J. ZINKLE, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
SCOTT WEIDMAN, Responsible Staff Officer
GREG EYRING, Senior Program Officer
RICHARD ROWBERG, Deputy Director, Division of Engineering and Physical Sciences
RODNEY HOWARD, Administrative Assistant
1 Resigned November 7, 2014.
LABORATORY ASSESSMENTS BOARD
JOHN W. LYONS, U.S. Army Research Laboratory (retired), Chair
ROSS B. COROTIS, University of Colorado at Boulder
PAUL A. FLEURY, Yale University
C. WILLIAM GEAR, NEC Research Institute, Inc. (retired)
WESLEY L. HARRIS, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
JENNIE S. HWANG, H-Technologies Group, Inc.
W. CARL LINEBERGER, University of Colorado at Boulder
C. KUMAR N. PATEL, Pranalytica, Inc.
ELSA REICHMANIS, Georgia Institute of Technology
LYLE H. SCHWARTZ, University of South Florida
JAMES P. McGEE, Director
LIZA HAMILTON, Associate Program Officer
EVA LABRE, Administrative Coordinator
ARUL MOZHI, Senior Program Officer
ANDREA SHELTON, Administrative Assistant
In the FY2013 National Defense Authorization Act, Congress directed the administrator of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to reach an agreement with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine1 to “conduct a study of peer review and design competition related to nuclear weapons” at its national security laboratories (see Appendix C for the legislation language). The NNSA laboratories involved are Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), and Sandia National Laboratories (SNL). The full Statement of Task is discussed in Chapter 1.
The Administrator commissioned the Academies to conduct this study on peer review and design competition in the context of nuclear weapons. In response, the Academies formed the Committee on Peer Review and Design Competition Related to Nuclear Weapons, which began work on June 10, 2014. For the backgrounds of committee members, see Appendix A. The committee had the benefit of presentations from a number of individuals with knowledge and experience related to its tasks; the agendas of the committee’s public meeting sessions are listed in Appendix B.
As the committee was conducting this study, it was mindful of other
1 Effective July 1, 2015, the institution is called the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. References in this report to the National Research Council (NRC) are used in a historical context to refer to activities before July 1.
ongoing studies with overlapping mandates.2 In particular, another Academies study, Aligning the Governance Structure of the NNSA Laboratories to Meet 21st Century National Security Challenges, was mandated in the same legislation and dealt in part with peer review issues at the NNSA laboratories; the staff of the two studies coordinated with each other
We wish to thank all of the committee members for their dedication in producing this report in a short time. Also, we particularly want to thank Michael Bernardin of LANL, Mike Dunning of LLNL, Gary Sanders and Ron Hartwig of SNL, and Robert Hanrahan of NNSA for their time and efforts in organizing the presentations that the committee received during its laboratory visits, for attending and contributing to the committee’s public meetings, and for responding in a timely way to the committee’s requests for additional information. The committee is well aware of the burdens imposed by the laboratories’ support of outside groups seeking to review them—including this committee—and hopes that the laboratories will feel that the time spent was worthwhile. Finally, the outside reviewers and the National Academies monitor provided insightful comments that improved the quality of the report. A sincere thank you is due to the Academies staff: Scott Weidman, Dick Rowberg, Greg Eyring, and Rodney Howard.
Paul S. Peercy and Jill P. Dahlburg, Co-Chairs
Committee on Peer Review and Design
Competition Related to Nuclear Weapons
2 Three other related, congressionally mandated studies were under way or completed as this study progressed: (1) Congressional Advisory Panel on the Governance of the Nuclear Security Enterprise, A New Foundation for the Nuclear Enterprise, November 2014, available at http://knoxblogs.com/atomiccity/2014/12/11/reforming-nuclear-security-enterprise/ (its final report); (2) Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, Interim Report of the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, February 27, 2015, http://energy.gov/labcommission/downloads/interim-report-commission-review-effectiveness-national-energy-laboratories; and (3) NRC, Aligning the Governance Structure of the NNSA Laboratories to Meet 21st Century National Security Challenges, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 2015. In addition, there is a Secretary of Energy Advisory Board Task Force on DOE National Laboratories; see http://energy.gov/seab/secretary-energy-advisory-board-seab-task-force-doe-national-laboratories.
Acknowledgment of Reviewers
This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:
Everett H. Beckner, Independent Consultant, Santa Fe, New Mexico,
Philip E. Coyle, Private Consultant, Sacramento, California,
Thomas O. Hunter, Sandia National Laboratories (retired),
Raymond Jeanloz, University of California, Berkeley,
John Kammerdiener, Independent Consultant, Marble Falls, Texas,
Steven Lamoreaux, Yale University,
Charles V. Shank, Howard Hughes Medical Institute,
Merri Wood-Schultz, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and
Joan B. Woodard, EDT Consulting, LLC.
Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report
before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Stephen Robinson, University of Wisconsin, Madison, who was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.