The simulation program : LMJ, Tera, Airix

August 2012

Our strategy

The nominal energy characteristics of the Megajoule Laser were obtained on an LIL beam: more than 15 kJ per beam in infrared light and 7.5 kJ in ultraviolet light (Annual Report 2003)

CEA plays a major role in sustaining the French nuclear deterrent capability in the long term. Since nuclear testing was finally ended in 1996, the operation and safety of weapons in the French deterrent force have been guaranteed by means of computer simulation. To this end, the Simulation program has been made up of three elements:

  • The development of predictive physical models for each stage of operation of a nuclear weapon.
  • Computer simulation, which uses complex software to integrate these models. This demands a high level of computing power, which is offered by the Tera supercomputer facility based at the CEA's DAM Ile-de-France center.
  • The experimental validation of the calculations, obtained on the basis of the results of past nuclear testing and new experimental facilities. With the Airix x-ray machine (Moronvilliers site), the different models relating to the initial stage of operation of the weapon, the non-nuclear stage, can be validated. The Megajoule Laser (LMJ), which will make it possible to study the nuclear stage of weapon operation, is currently under construction at the CEA Cesta site (Bordeaux). Its prototype, the Laser Integration Line (LIL) began operation in 2002, making it possible to validate the major technological choices for the LMJ.


Our partners

Key elements of the Simulation program, Tera and LIL are also available for use by the national and international scientific community, as will LMJ be in the near future. Opening the installations in this way encourages the development of new regional projects. The DAM Ile-de-France center has attracted other expertise in high-performance simulation, bringing together scientists and industry within the Teratec project. In Aquitaine, around its Cesta center, CEA is seeking to encourage the establishment of links between its laser installations, industry, education and the scientific world as part of the 'Laser Route' project.



  • Tera, Airix, Megajoule Laser, LIL



  • CEA's Military Applications Division (DAM) / Ile de France
  • CEA's Military Applications Division (DAM) / Cesta
  • CEA's Military Applications Division (DAM) / Valduc
  • CEA's Military Applications Division (DAM) / Le Ripault




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