Lawrence Livermore National Lab (CA)
Last year’s runner-up
This pin commemorates the contributions of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab and the NIF laser, the world’s largest and highest-energy laser. The National Ignition Facility (NIF) is a key element in maintaining the reliability, security, and safety of the U.S. as a nuclear deterrent. It precisely guides, amplifies, reflects, and focuses 192 powerful laser beams into a target about the size of a pencil eraser in a few billionths of a second.
Pantex Plant (TX)
This pin commemorates the contributions of the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas. The Pantex Plant played a central role in the Cold War, assembling thousands of nuclear warheads that helped maintain the strained relations between the Soviet Union and the United States. For nearly 30 years, since 1975, Pantex has been the country’s primary facility for final assembly, disassembly, retrofit, and life-extension center for nuclear weapons.
Y-12 Plant (TN)
This pin commemorates the contributions of the Y-12 Plant in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The Y-12 plant was constructed to separate the fissile isotope uranium-235 from uranium-238. More than 22,000 workers worked at the plant, helping separate uranium for use in the Little Boy bomb. In the 1950s, new processes for separating lithium-6 were added. In 1990, with the end of the Cold War, the plant’s mission evolved into weapons reduction and disassembly. Today, the plant is under the jurisdiction of the National Nuclear Security Administration and is focused on remediating mercury and other contaminants that were released into the environment.