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February 2012

More than 300 students recently converged in Kansas City for the annual Science Bowl Regional Competition.

Blue Valley West High School won the Kansas division and The Barstow Academy won the Missouri division. Both teams will advance to Washington, D.C. to compete against 65 other regional winners at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl® from April 26 – 30.

Support for the Science Knowledge Bowl is an important piece of NNSA’s efforts to promote science, math, and technology education in order to keep America technologically competitive and to stoke the pipeline with future employees.


Missouri winner: Barstow Academy, Kansas City, Mo.


Kansas winner: Blue Valley West High School; Overland Park, Kan. 

Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman recently visited the site of NNSA's new National Security Campus at Botts Rd. and 150 Hwy in Kansas City, Mo. Poneman met with GSA Regional Administrator Jason Klumb, NNSA KCSO Manager Mark Holecek, and Honeywell FM&T President Chris Gentile.

On Jan. 23, 2013, the NNSA's Kansas City Plant will begin the carefully orchestrated move from the Bannister Federal Complex to the new site. The relocation, one of the largest and most complex moves in the nation, will involve approximately 2,800 pieces of large equipment and more than 40,000 moving crates filling more than 2,600 semi-truckloads. The move will take place over a 19-month period and will allow for dual operations at both facilities to ensure continued delivery of product in support of national security.

Canyon Junior High students were crowned the champions during this weekend’s Science Bowl competition held in Amarillo, Texas. Pantex has sponsored the bowl for 21 consecutive years in hopes of fostering a love of science and math in the youngsters of the Texas Panhandle.

For months, 29 teams from 14 area schools prepared for the competition, where they squared off for a test of science and math knowledge in a game-show type format.

Around 150 Pantex employees and community volunteers assisted with Science Bowl. The competition features teams of four students answering science and math questions in a round-robin format, followed by a double elimination round after lunch. The team will travel to Washington, D.C., in April to compete with dozens of other teams from across the U.S. for the national title.

Construction has begun on a new facility that will help Los Alamos National Laboratory accelerate the shipment of transuranic (TRU) waste stored in large boxes at Technical Area 54, Area G. Construction is scheduled for completion in March 2012.

The new “375 Box Line” facility will allow the Laboratory to repackage boxes up to 25 feet long that contain TRU waste from as long ago as the 1970s.

The new facility will contain a number of safety features, including fire protection and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtering.

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NNSA federal and contractor counsel gathered at the Savannah River Site recently for the annual NNSA Office of General Counsel conference. Bruce Diamond, NNSA General Counsel, awarded Terri Slack, YSO Site Counsel, the attorney of the year award. The group received updates on topics and issues impacting the NNSA Counsel Enterprise-wide. 

The team from Advanced Technologies Academy (A-Tech) in Las Vegas took first place at the 21st annual Nevada Regional Science Bowl was held recently at VegasPBS in Las Vegas. The A-Tech team was awarded $5,000 (for use in the school’s math or science department) and all team members will receive expense paid trips to Washington, D.C. for the Department of Energy’s National Science Bowl in April.

More than 150 of the best and brightest high school students in Nevada, California and Utah made up the 32 high school teams that started the Nevada Regional Science Bowl competition.

The Nevada Regional Science Bowl participants joined 15,000 other high school students across the United States trying to qualify for the finals of DOE's annual National Science Bowl®. DOE established the Nevada Regional Science Bowl in 1991 to promote math and science education and encourage high school students to pursue scientific and technical careers.

The final round was recorded for television and will be broadcast by VegasPBS in March.

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The New START Treaty between the United States and Russian Federation celebrated its first anniversary of entering into force yesterday. The treaty will cap the strategic deployed nuclear arsenals of each country at 1,550 warheads, a nearly 75% reduction compared with the first START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty), which expired in 2009. As of the most recent update to the treaty’s database on Sept. 1, Russia reported 1,566 deployed nuclear warheads and the United States reported 1,790. New START follows a series of similar treaties between the United States and Russia all with the goal of reducing nuclear weapons in both countries and, ultimately, lowering the global nuclear proliferation risk and increasing international security. The obligations laid out in the treaty must be met within seven years of the treaty’s entry into force on February 5, 2010. 

Tom D'Agostino
NNSA Administrator Tom D’Agostino was featured on NBC’s TODAY Show this morning as part of a Super Bowl security story. NBC met with Tom recently at NNSA’s Remote Sensing Lab at Andrews Air Force Base to discuss NNSA’s state-of-the art detection systems used to help detect radioactive material. The systems will be mounted in vehicles or carried by NNSA responders to help detect any radiation threat at the Super Bowl.

A team NNSA emergency responders will be in Indianapolis to help detect radioactive isotopes that could potentially be used to cause harm at the Super Bowl. NNSA will work with other agencies to increase the responsiveness and awareness during the Super Bowl.

NNSA serves as the premier technical leader in responding to and successfully resolving nuclear and radiological threats worldwide. When the need arises, NNSA is prepared to respond immediately to any type of nuclear or radiological accident or incident. NNSA teams are deployed more than 100 times a year mainly within the U.S. The intelligence driven deployments are for the support of law enforcement at events such as the Super Bowl, the State of the Union, presidential inaugurations or political conventions.

Super-security ahead of Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is the biggest sporting event of the year, and ever since the Sept. 11 attacks, it has created a very complex security challenge. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.


Last month, the NNSA’s Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility project at the Savannah River Site successfully completed 7 million consecutive work hours without a lost day due to injury. According to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a typical construction site in the U. S. experiences one lost workday case for every 125,000 hours worked.  In the span of 7 million hours worked, the typical site would have 49 lost workday cases, but NNSA’s MOX project lost none.

Last year, the MOX project launched a new safety incentive program to increase safety awareness and encourage safety performance.  The MOX BUX reward program recognizes and rewards individual and team achievements in safety performance.  The tokens awarded can be collected and redeemed for a variety of apparel and merchandise items.

Reaching this milestone of completing 7 million safe hours continues to move this complex project forward in its mission to produce MOX fuel for commercial reactors.NNSA Blog

Site Office Managers
NNSA site office managers gathered at Savannah River Site this week as part of their quarterly meetings. Each site office manager provided an update and discussed goals for each lab and site. The group received an update from Bob Osborn, NNSA Associate Administrator for Information Management and Chief Information Officer, concerning 2NV. The group also received updates concerning various NNSA programs.