Lawsuit alleges scientific misconduct at weapons lab


An unusual lawsuit alleges scientific misconduct at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, one of the United States’s three nuclear weapons labs. Peter Williams, a 50-year-old physicist, worked at Livermore from January 2016 until May 2017, when he says he was fired in retaliation for complaining that his superiors were mishandling a computer program that simulates the detonation of high explosives, undermining their ability to predict how a particular refurbished nuclear weapon would perform if used. Williams, who now works at a private research lab, has sued Livermore and seven individuals for reinstatement and $600,000 in damages. The controversy touches on the issue of whether the United States can maintain and refurbish its nuclear arsenal without resorting to new nuclear tests, which it gave up in 1992 under the unratified Comprehensive Nuclear-Test–Ban Treaty.

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