NNSA honors Pantex explosives experts

A group of explosives experts have been honored with a Defense Programs Award of Excellence for their help in securing supply of a critical material for the Departments of Energy and Defense.

The four Pantexans, Tod Botcher, Tony Dutton, Ken Franklin and Kathy Mitchell, played a leadership role in a Defense Logistics Agency team that was tasked with developing a supply of a type of high explosives (HE) that has been out of production for 30 years. The Pantex contributors applied expertise developed over decades of work with HE; expertise that made Pantex the DOE’s HE Center of Excellence for Manufacturing.

The HE, known as Triaminotrinitrobenzene (TATB), is used by both the DOD and DOE in conventional and nuclear weapons. TATB was produced in large quantities in the 1970s and 1980s. With a large stockpile on hand, production ceased. Increased usage by the military and by NNSA in nuclear Life Extension Programs meant the supply was expected to be insufficient in the coming years.

Pantex had previously synthesized TATB and participated in scaling up the process for commercial production of the explosives in the 1980s, so the Pantex team had a key role to fill in managing the process of finding a new supplier. Once it is qualified, full production of TATB will take place at Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee.

The DP Award was presented by NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brig. General James C. Dawkins Jr.

About the photo:
NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brig. General James C. Dawkins Jr., center, presents a Defense Programs Award of Excellence to Kathy Mitchell and Tod Botcher. The two awardees, along with fellow Pantexans Tony Dutton and Ken Franklin, were recognized for managing a team that helped procure a new source for a key type of High Explosive that had been out of production for 30 years.

NNSA honors Pantex explosives experts

Mar 12, 2014 at 12:00 pm