Members of Pantex’s Protective Force on the firing range. The Protective Force successfully completed a recent assessment by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Enterprise Assessments.

The Pantex Plant recently hosted the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Enterprise Assessments, commonly known as EA, for a complete multi-topic inspection. The EA team consisted of approximately 100 subject matter experts in the topical areas of Safeguards and Security.

During the EA inspection, the Protective Force was required to perform a wide variety of tasks to demonstrate proficiency in protecting the site. During the inspection process, the Protective Force performed more than 250 limited scope performance tests.

“During daily inspection update meetings, Protective Force management relayed comments that they had received by the EA team. Some of the comments included that the force was ‘well prepared,’ ‘well trained,’ ‘professional’ and ‘committed’ among other great remarks,” Audy Jones, Safeguards and Security Operations, said.

Read more about Pantex’s performance during this inspection.

Nov 25, 2015 at 9:00 am


At their recent off-site continuous improvement session, the NNSA Livermore Field Office (LFO) in California unveiled their new set of core values:

  • Integrity – Trustworthy, Reliable, Ethical
    • We are responsible stewards of federal resources
  • Collaboration – Communicate, Support, Team-Focused
    • We work together, communicate clearly & help each other achieve our goals
  • Accountability – Ownership, Personal, Commitment
    • We accomplish our work by taking ownership, admitting mistakes, & meeting our commitments
  • Respect – Professional, Courteous, Compassionate
    • We value each other
  • Excellence – High Quality, Sense of Urgency, Dedicated
    • In all our actions, we seek to achieve the best within us

These core values were developed by the LFO Leadership Advisory Working Group (LLAWG), with input from all LFO employees. The LLAWG was established in December 2014 as the result of an earlier off-site continuous improvement session. The purpose of the LLAWG is to provide advice to Leadership in the management of LFO and to develop initiatives to achieve management and operational excellence. In addition to developing the new LFO core values, the LLAWG is working with LFO Leadership on a number of efforts, including succession planning and improving performance management.

Nov 23, 2015 at 9:34 am

R&D Magazine named 15 NNSA lab projects as winners in the 53rd annual R&D 100 Awards, which honor the 100 most innovative technologies and services of the past year.

The winners were selected by an independent panel of more than 70 judges. The R&D 100 Awards are often referred to as the “Oscars of Invention.”

NNSA winners:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Zero-order Reaction Kinetics

This software package speeds up simulations of chemical systems by 1,000-fold over methods traditionally used for internal combustion engine research.

Large-Area Projection Micro-Stereolithography

A three-dimensional printing instrument that can fabricate products of substantial size yet contain highly detailed features in contrast to other 3D printing techniques that generally have to sacrifice overall product size to achieve small features.

High-Power Intelligent Laser Diode System

This laser system employs advances in laser diodes and electrical drivers to achieve two-to-three-fold improvements in peak output power and intensity over existing technology, in a 10 times more compact form that can scale to even larger arrays and power levels.

Los Alamos National Laboratory
SHMToolsStructural Health Monitoring is quickly becoming an essential tool for improving the safety—and efficient maintenance—of critical structures, such as aircraft, pipelines, bridges and dams, buildings and stadiums, pressure vessels, ships, power plants, and mechanical structures such as amusement park rides and wind turbines. Los Alamos engineers have developed SHMTools, software that provides more than 100 advanced algorithms that can be assembled to quickly prototype and evaluate damage-detection processes. It is a virtual toolbox that can be used to detect damage in various types of structures, from aircraft and buildings to bridges and mechanical infrastructure.
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
Columnar Hierarchical Auto-associative Memory Processing in Ontological Networks

Scientists designed CHAMPION to use human analysts and historical data to learn about the company it's protecting. Starting with advanced Semantic Web technologies, which translate human knowledge into something that's machine readable, CHAMPION then uses descriptive logic to reason whether activity is suspicious. For example, if a retail company's HVAC data back-up account tries to access the point-of-sale system, CHAMPION could use historical data to conclude that this is unusual. Once identified, the software alerts an analyst of the suspicious activity — in time to potentially thwart an attack. Cybersecurity isn't CHAMPION's only trick. Change its diet of knowledge and the software can learn to analyze financial services or health care data.

Hydrothermal Processing to Convert Wet Biomass into Biofuels

The ability to make useful fuels out of biological materials like plants has long been possible. The difficulty has been doing so economically. The technology created by the PNNL team hurdles previous challenges by making it possible to skip a long, expensive, energy-intensive step that most processes require — drying out the raw material. Instead, the PNNL process works directly with the wet slurry of raw material, be it a waste stream from thousands of homes, scraps from a food-processing facility, or long strands of algae.

Power Model Integrator: A system for more accurate energy forecasts

The Power Model Integrator is a new forecasting tool that delivers up to a 50-percent increase in accuracy and the potential to save millions of dollars in wasted energy costs. Energy forecasters working for utilities and other power organizations currently rely on a combination of personal experience, historical data and their own preferred forecasting model. Each model tends to excel at capturing certain grid behaviors, but not necessarily the whole picture

Pressurized magic angle spinning technology for nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy

A PNNL team created a way to make a sophisticated scientific tool much more useful for a variety of studies, including several aimed at answering important questions about energy and the environment. The method boosts our ability to look at complex samples under conditions that more closely mimic their real-world environments. The technology brings together the power of nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which yields a remarkable peek into molecular interactions.

Subambient Pressure Ionization with Nanoelectrospray source

SPIN builds on a previous PNNL creation of a device known as the Electrodynamic Ion Funnel. The ion funnel comprises a series of electrically charged rings that effectively funnel charged particles of interest into a small space where they can be measured and manipulated. But collecting those particles and getting them into the ion funnel is challenging. Many escape before passing through the small aperture into the funnel. The new development, known as SPIN or Subambient Pressure Ionization with Nanoelectrospray, eliminates this problem by removing the aperture completely. The ion source now creates and sends particles to the funnel in a single system under the same atmospheric conditions, at just one-tenth the atmospheric pressure on top of Mt. Everest. As a result, nearly 50 times as many gas-phase ions enter the mass spectrometer than without SPIN.

Sandia National Laboratories
6.5kV Enhancement-Mode Silicon Carbide JFET Switch

A low-loss power switch based on a novel silicon carbide junction field-effect transistor will improve the efficiency of next-generation power conversion systems used in energy storage, renewable energy and military applications, as well as data center power distributions.

Lightweight Distributed Metric Service

Monitoring software provides detailed awareness of the system-wide performance of high performance computers and applications in production environments.

Integrated Circuit Identification

Authenticates integrated circuits, detects counterfeit electronics and verifies individuals’ identities and their transactions using a unique device signature and cryptographically secure challenge-response protocol.

CO2 Memzyme

An ultra-thin membrane that is the first cost-effective technology for carbon dioxide separation and capture to meet and exceed the Department of Energy’s (DOE) targets for helping to reduce the threat of climate change. This invention also won the R&D 100 contest’s Green Technology Special Recognition Gold Award.

LED Pulser

Uses light-emitting diodes instead of expensive lasers to provide high-brightness, rapidly pulsed, multicolor light for scientific, industrial or commercial uses. The Pulser’s small LED (light-emitting diode) source permits better detection of ignition via high-speed imaging and already has resulted in better understanding of injection, combustion and emissions formation in diesel engines.

Y-12 National Security Complex
Chemical Identification by Magneto-Elastic SensingThe product of a three-year Y-12-university collaboration, ChIMES is an inexpensive, small and portable chemical sensor with virtually limitless applications, including detection of chemical and biological warfare agents, toxic industrial chemicals, explosives and illegal drugs.
Nov 19, 2015 at 4:00 pm

In training, the Protective Force has looked carefully at this threat to identify trends, courses of action, and response techniques.

Training trumps everything.

Security Police Officers (SPO) at Sandia/California continue to far exceed the minimum standard of required training.

Pablo Maurino, the lead training instructor for the site, says the Protective Force conducts training throughout the year and officers participate in live fire training eight to 10 times a year. Firearms training is typically an eight-hour day; however, SPOs may also receive live fire training on the range in shorter durations while on shift as scheduling permits. Each SPO has to qualify semi-annually with a duty-issued Glock 9mm and the H&K 416 rifle.

“We all understand that 99 percent of an SPO’s career will consist of protecting a facility, its people, and classified documents, constantly deterring but never seeing the enemy,” says Pablo. “We train for the 1 percent, the one time we have to get it right.”

Read more at this link (look on page 3).

Each Security Police Officer has to qualify semi-annually with a duty-issued Glock 9mm and the H&K 416 rifle.

Nov 17, 2015 at 4:00 pm


National Security Campus Relocation Leader Brad Hughes, left, and NNSA Kansas City Field Office Site Manager Mark Holecek

The National Security Campus relocation project was recognized as an industry benchmark last week at the 12th annual Aviation Week Program Excellence Awards competition. Awards were presented Nov. 4 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

The NSC’s contractor, Honeywell, received top honors in the Special Projects category for successfully completing one of the largest and most complex industrial moves in the U.S., the relocation of the National Security Campus in Kansas City.

The Program Excellence Awards recognize aerospace and defense organizations that achieve results and find new ways to be more innovative and efficient in delivering value to customers. Winners were selected by a panel of experts in program leadership and performance from industry, government and academia.

Several years of planning and project management enabled the successful relocation while maintaining a 99.8 percent product delivery record at both facilities. This shining example of private-public partnership saves the taxpayer $150 million annually and provides the greatest strengths of government and industry to be cost-effective, energy-efficient and sustainable while fully supporting a critical national security mission.

The Kansas City team was singled out for safely and securely relocating to the LEED® Gold certified facility from 2012-2014. The move was completed one month ahead of schedule and $18 million under budget, while maintaining site-best safety and security performance.

Nov 13, 2015 at 4:44 pm

LAS VEGAS – National Security Technologies, the management and operating contractor for the Nevada National Security Site, continues to conduct some of the nation’s most important national security work in the safest manner possible as recognized by consecutive safety awards from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The DOE each year recognizes safety at its locations across the United States through its Voluntary Protection Program, which was created in January 1994 to recognize and encourage excellence in occupational safety and health protection. The program closely parallels the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration VPP.

In February 2015, the company participated in a two-week recertification review as required, and in August 2015 it was announced that NSTec has again been awarded the VPP Superior Star for the fifth consecutive year.

Read more at this link.

Nov 12, 2015 at 10:23 am

Don Zecha, center, representative of the Savannah River Site R&D Assembly Load and Test Team, accepts the Defense Programs Award of Excellence from NNSA-Savannah River Field Office Manager Doug Dearolph, left, and NNSA Acting Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Brigadier General S.L. Davis. 

AIKEN, S.C. -- The National Nuclear Security Administration has honored six teams of Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) employees for their outstanding contributions to the nation’s defense, with special kudos for one team’s “exceptional” achievement.

NNSA Acting Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Brigadier General S.L. Davis presented the employees with Defense Programs (DP) Awards of Excellence, which is given for “significant contributions the Stockpile Stewardship Program.”  The award recognized their roles in initiatives that increased efficiency, reduced potential for error, developed new approaches for future work, and enabled safe operations following an unprecedented weather event. Gen. Davis also announced that one of the six teams is among a small number of honorees that he personally selected from all DP Award winners nationwide for special recognition.

Gen. Davis praised all of the award-winning teams for their accomplishments on behalf of the nation’s security, saying, “The extra effort put in by these people is really remarkable.”

Read more about it at this link.

Nov 4, 2015 at 10:37 am


Everything was in motion in Kansas City recently as the National Security Campus’s M&O contractor, Honeywell, brought the award-winning, hip-hop physics education program, FMA Live! Forces in Motion, to more than 1,500 middle school students.

The show brings hip-hop music, dancers, larger-than-life demonstrations and audience participation to illustrate how physics plays a role in everyday life.

FMA Live! takes students on a journey through Newton's Three Laws of Motion and the Universal Law of Gravity. The program engages middle-school students in the wonders of science, technology and math, and demonstrates the relevance of the natural sciences to kids' daily lives.

Over the next decade, job opportunities in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math are expected to grow five times faster than other sectors. To meet this need, Honeywell and NASA developed this show to inspire students to pursue careers in these fields.

FMA Live! has been performed before 415,000 students in more than 1,100 schools in 48 states, as well as in Mexico and Canada, since its creation in 2004. 



Nov 4, 2015 at 9:25 am


Small Business Administration Region VI SBA District Director Calvin Davis and Regional Administrator Yolanda Garcia Olivarez recently presented awards to Pantex’s Supply Chain Management organization. Featured in photo, front row, from left, Kelly Delgado-Goudschaal, Olivarez and Davis. Back row from left, Frances Tillery, Barbara Smith, Teresa Albus, Jeff Gillmore, Tammi Pedro, Randy Lucas, Ashley Hayton and Diane Johnson. 

The Pantex Plant’s Supply Chain Management organization recently received three awards from the Small Business Administration, including:

  • SBA leader in the Lubbock-West Texas District and the SBA Region VI (comprised of Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana),
  • Provider of outstanding stellar access to procurement opportunities for small businesses and
  • SBA Procurement All Star.

Pantex has a long history of working with small business. Kelly Delgado-Goudschaal, acting manager of Supply Chain Management said, “These awards are a direct reflection of the dedication and the commitment of the Procurement personnel at Pantex. We have had a long-standing tradition of supporting small businesses within our community. We also work with the West Texas Procurement Center to develop and mentor small businesses within our community.”

“It is an honor to be recognized by SBA as a leader for promoting small businesses. For the past seven years, we have consistently exceeded our small business goal. Pantexans continue to support SBA initiatives by identifying small businesses with which we can contract,” said Compliance team lead Barbara Smith.

Read more on the Pantex website.

Nov 3, 2015 at 10:00 am


The 2015 Leadership Oak Ridge class recently visited the Y-12 National Security Complex. Members had the opportunity to go on tour and get a glimpse of what employees do at Y-12.

The 2015 Leadership Oak Ridge class recently visited the Y-12 National Security Complex. Members toured and saw a glimpse of what employees do at Y-12.

“The majority of Leadership Oak Ridge participants have never been inside Y-12,” said Greta Ownby, Oak Ridge Chamber of Commerce and Leadership Oak Ridge Program Manager. “So, it is always a highlight of the program year for them to be able to tour the facility.”

According to their website, Leadership Oak Ridge’s mission is to “inform current, potential and emerging leaders about Oak Ridge and its issues and provide them leadership skills development in order to empower them to identify and implement solutions to those community issues.”

“I’ve had the opportunity to visit Y-12 for the last several years, and it is amazing to see the changes that have been made to the site with the demolition of older buildings,” said Pat Fallon, City of Oak Ridge. “I am really looking forward to watching the progression as the Uranium Processing Facility is constructed and the inclusion of the historical buildings as part of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park.”

Read more about their tour on the Y-12 website.

Oct 30, 2015 at 4:25 pm