William Goldstein confirmed Tuesday he will retire as director of the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, as soon as the nation’s second nuclear-design facility finishes the potentially lengthy search for a replacement.

Goldstein became the Livermore, Calif., lab’s 12th director on March 31, 2014. He joined the lab’s Physics Directorate in 1984 and remained at Livermore for 36 years, according to the press release announcing his retirement. Linda Bauer is the current deputy director.

The nationwide search for Goldstein’s replacement “will take some time,” a lab spokesperson said Tuesday afternoon by email.

Lab prime Lawrence Livermore National Security will be on the job at the Bay Area design operation until at least Sept. 30, 2024, under the roughly $2-billion-per-year contract awarded in 2007 by DoE’s semiautonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The team, led by the University of California and Bechtel National, earned that one-year contract option in fiscal 2019 and can earn another two: one each in 2020 and 2021, potentially stretching the contract out as far as Sept. 30, 2026. 

Among a number of roles at Livermore, Goldstein has led the site’s Laboratory Directed Research and Development Program, its Physical and Life Sciences Directorate, its Physical Data Research Program — which he established, the lab said in Tuesday’s presser — and creation of the Jupiter Laser Facility that scientists can book to study the behavior of materials in nuclear-weapon-like conditions. He also currently serves as president of Lawrence Livermore National Security.

Livermore has two major weapons-modernization programs coming down the pike in the twilight of Goldstein’s leadership: the W87-1 warhead that will tip future Ground-Based Strategic Deterrent intercontinental ballistic missiles; and the W80-4 warhead slated for use on the Long-Range Standoff weapon, which will replace the AGM-86B air-launched cruise missile now carried by B-52H bombers.