Brookhaven National Laboratory possesses unique facilities, such as the Alternating Gradient Synchrotron (AGS), a particle accelerator and the world's brightest proton source. The Laboratory makes these facilities available to users who have a valid need for them.
Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) approached Brookhaven approximately five years ago with a request to use the AGS to explore the feasibility of a technique called proton radiography, which can make high-resolution "pictures" of objects. LANL wanted to investigate proton radiography for applications in support of the federal administration's science-based stockpile stewardship program. After consideration, Brookhaven approved the LANL request and has been providing AGS services to the LANL group since 1996.
LANL would now like to broaden its program at the AGS to measure additional proton radiography parameters, namely time-dependent studies using the short proton pulses available from the AGS. Such measurements require explosive components to drive materials at the densities and speeds of interest.
Before I make a decision on whether or not to allow LANL to expand its work at the AGS, I have asked my staff to analyze the safety of these experiments in the BNL environment, and also to assess community involvement aspects of the work because of the employee and community sensitivities already expressed in connection with the current program.
I have proceeded under the assumption that no weapon or weapon component would be brought to the Laboratory or used in the experiments. LANL has used "classified objects" in the experiments to date and would continue to do so in the future. The objects are classified because the proton radiography parameter ranges they are designed to test are classified, not because they are weapons or components themselves.
I expect LANL to make a formal proposal. When that occurs, my senior managers and I will consider it thoroughly and seek input from employees and the external community before I make a final decision.
Mona S. Rowe
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Last updated 8/00 by Media & Communications