Nuclear fission is the process in which an atom’s nucleus splits into smaller fragments including other smaller atoms. Fission is one of the most complex quantum phenomena in physics. The present description of nuclear fission is based largely on observation and not on a fundamental understanding of the physical processes. Still waiting for a microscopic description since 1939, nuclear fission is relevant to an impressive range of fields: basic energy needs, nuclear waste disposal, national security, stockpile stewardship, nuclear forensics, fundamental problems in the non-equilibrium dynamics of strongly interacting quantum many-body systems, nuclear reactions, understanding in astrophysics the nucleosynthesis of about half of the elements heavier than iron produced in the r-process in core-collapse supernovae and neutron star mergers. These questions can be answered only by a microscopic theory based on fundamental properties of nuclear forces, since important fission observables cannot be measured in the laboratory. The information content of the wave function of a fissioning nucleus is immense and it cannot be stored in a classical digital computer, which would be larger than the size of the Universe. The alternative is the Density Functional Theory, which has been implemented on leadership class supercomputers. This project supports real-time nuclear fission simulations will provide crucial and reliable information for basic science and energy needs, national security, stockpile stewardship, nuclear forensics, nuclear waste disposal, and other applications. This project will bring together the efforts at LANL, LLNL, PNNL, and universities to develop a fundamental understanding of nuclear fission.
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