ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., March 14 -- Sandia National Laboratories will conduct the first tests at its new Gamma Irradiation Facility (GIF) this week, officially welcoming the facility into the lab's family of experimental nuclear facilities. The facility can be used for space technology development, military systems vulnerability testing, nuclear reactor component development and many other applications. Objects as large as tanks or satellites and as small as microchips can be tested at the GIF for their abilities to withstand the damaging radiation environments they might experience in space, near stored nuclear materials, or during a wartime nuclear exchange. "We are pleased to bring the new GIF on line to support our national security mission and our military, space, and nuclear energy customers," said Sandia Nuclear Facilities manager Ted Schmidt. "This facility has capabilities that will help satisfy many of the nation's experimental gamma radiation needs for decades."