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March 2012

Brad PetersonOver the past two days I've heard from many of you with wonderful stories about Brad Peterson.  I've been touched by what he meant to so many people, and I'd like to share your thoughts with his family.

If you have a memory of Brad that you'd like to share, we've created a page on the NNSA website where you can:  You can also email your thoughts to

I plan to have these stories compiled, printed, and presented to his family in recognition of everything he meant to NNSA.  His family has been touched by the outpouring of support they've received so far, and I'm sure they'll appreciate hearing from those who knew him.

Thank you,

Tom D'Agostino





Today the MOX project reached 8,000,000 safe work hours, a new safety record for the project based at Savannah River Site in South Carolina. A typical heavy and engineering construction site in the U.S. would have 64 lost workday cases in the span of 8 million hours worked.

Last year, the MOX project launched a new safety incentive program to increase safety awareness and encourage safety performance. This newest safety milestone is evidence of the ‘safety-first’ commitment and continues to move the project forward in its mission to produce MOX fuel for commercial reactors.


Brad Peterson, a wonderful friend, stellar shipmate, and devoted public servant, passed away today after a traffic accident in Albuquerque over the weekend.  Many of you worked with Brad in his numerous leadership roles within the Department and the NNSA.  Over the past years he had supported Neile and me directly as Chief, Defense Nuclear Security and Associate Administrator for Defense Nuclear Security (NA-70) and more recently as Deputy to the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Secure Transportation (NA-15).

Neile and I relied heavily on Brad for his sound counsel, expertise, and for his visionary leadership and exceptional service to the nation.  Those who had worked with him know that he embodied the values you would want in any supervisor, employee, or co-worker.   He was a man of deep character, unparalleled integrity, and strong faith.  He valued people and made it a point to lift them up, solving problems through a pervasive sense of optimism and teamwork.

Brad started at DOE in 1991 and spent his career in the nuclear security and safety arena.  Prior to his time at the NNSA, he served in the Office of Defense Programs and the Office of Environment, Safety and Health as a nuclear safety engineer.  He then moved to the Office of Health, Safety and Security as the Director of the Office of Cyber Security Evaluations, and ultimately the Director, Office of Independent Oversight, where he led numerous combined security, cyber security, emergency management, and safety assessments of both NNSA and DOE facilities. He had been a member of the Senior Executive Service since 2002.

As Chief, Defense Nuclear Security and Associate Administrator for Defense Nuclear Security, Brad was the driving force in our efforts to reengineer the nuclear security program within the NNSA.  His focus on identifying and implementing fundamental security reforms resulted in the development of new peer review approaches and the implementation of deliberate and defendable processes to assess the threat, evaluate plausible scenarios, and create strategies to ensure the security of our Nation’s most sensitive nuclear assets.  He was a reform-minded leader, and helped transform NNSA into the 21st century, integrated organization it is today.  His work was so exemplary, he was awarded the Administrator’s Distinguished Service Silver Award last year and had previously been awarded the DOE’s Presidential Rank Award – Meritorious Executive.  

I'm sure many of you came to know Brad through his service at the NNSA.  I first met Brad on July 6, 1976 when we joined the Naval Academy along with our classmates.  We were not only classmates but also in the same company for our four years at Navy and we both eventually ended up pursuing careers in the Submarine Force.  During that time Brad displayed the wonderful qualities of leadership that he carried forward in every aspect of his life.  Needless to say Brad had a highly distinguished career in the Navy both as an active duty submarine officer and reserve intelligence officer.

Brad was all about service and never about himself.  His commitment to serve God, serve his family, and serve his country was evident to me and came out frequently in our many conversations. We talked about our children often and his commitment to service is now carried on by his three wonderful children who are each dedicated to serving just as Brad did.  His daughter Claire followed in her father's footsteps and graduated from the Naval Academy in 2010.  His son Josh will graduate from West Point in just a few months.  And his daughter Liz graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 2011.  Their father, our friend and colleague, set an example for them that all of us should strive to maintain.

Details on a memorial service will be provided once they are available.  I consider myself blessed to have known and worked with Brad.

Please keep Brad’s family in your thoughts and prayers.

Tom D'Agostino

Los Alamos High School Bound for Science Bowl Team Nationals
Los Alamos High School from Los Alamos, N.M. bested 39 other teams from around New Mexico in the 10-hour New Mexico Regional Science Bowl, held Saturday, March 3, at the Albuquerque Academy. Los Alamos High School will represent New Mexico in the 22nd Annual Department of Energy (DOE) National Science Bowl in April.

In addition to their travel expenses, the team also won $5,000 for their school. The team consists of Alexander Wang, Micha Ben-Naim, Scott Carlsten, Lorenzo Venneri and Kevin Gao. Paolo Venneri is their coach.

Albuquerque Academy School in Albuquerque, N.M., took second place, and the La Cueva High School from Albuquerque placed third.

In the “Jeopardy!” – style competition, students are asked questions from astronomy, biology, chemistry, earth science, physics, math, trigonometry and calculus.

The Regional Science Bowl is coordinated by Sandia National Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. 

Faith Lutheran Middle School wins Nevada Regional Science Bowl Front row-kneeling: Andrew Kim-8th grade; Back row-standing, Brenda Beery-coach/teacher, Destyni Vincent-8th grade, Mica Oka- 8th grade, Cameron Cruden-8th grade, Henry Stone-8th grade, Dante Pistone-NSTec Public Affairs)

Faith Lutheran Middle School was crowned the champion of Nevada Regional Science Bowl for Middle Schools. The competition was held Saturday, March 3, at Henderson International School. Twenty-nine teams started the double-elimination competition at 7:30 a.m., and by 5 p.m., the field of student teams was whittled down to Faith Lutheran Middle School and Coral Academy of Las Vegas.

Faith Lutheran received $1,000 for the school’s math and/or science department. The students and coach also receive an expense paid trip to Washington, D.C. for the National Science Bowl sponsored by the Department of Energy on April 26-30, 2012. High school students from Advanced Technologies Academy (ATech) in Las Vegas won the Nevada Regional Science Bowl for High Schools last month and will also represent Nevada in the National Science Bowl.

Sponsors of the Nevada Regional Science Bowl include: U.S. Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada Site Office, National Security Technologies (NSTec), Northrop Grumman, U.S. Department of the Interior, WSI-Nevada Team, Desert Research Institute, Nevada Energy, VegasPBS, Henderson International School, the National Atomic Testing Museum and Southwest Gas.


More than 125 students from 13 schools from New Mexico and southern Colorado recently competed in the Department of Energy’s 10-hour Northern New Mexico Middle School Regional Science Bowl at the Albuquerque Academy.

The students competed in a fast-paced “Jeopardy” style competition, answering questions about math, biology, chemistry, earth science, and astronomy.

The winning team received a $5,000 check for their school and an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C. to compete in DOE’s National Science Bowl in early May.

The four students representing Albuquerque Academy are Kainoa Correa, Dylan Hendrickson, Andrew Chu, Thor Larson and team captain Dylan Hendrickson coached by Barbara Gilbert. Second place was Los Alamos Middle school, and Eisenhower came in third.

The Regional Science Bowl is coordinated by Sandia National Laboratories for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. The U.S. Department of Energy created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in Mathematics and science and to pursue career in these fields. More than 200,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl in its 22 year.