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May 2012

FLP participants

The 2010 Future Leaders Program (FLP) participants recently were honored for completing their two-year program at NNSA.  On May 9, each graduating FLP participant gave a presentation on his or her accomplishments throughout the two-years and each participant were presented with plaques and coins during a graduation ceremony on May 10. NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Neile Miller gave the keynote address. Miller spoke about leadership, understanding the role in NNSA’s mission and discussed the passion for the job they do. 

Bren Tower

A world record will be set at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) on Wednesday, May 23, when a 1,527-foot tower used in above-ground nuclear experiments in the 1960s will be brought down in a planned demolition.

The BREN (Bare Reactor Experiment -- Nevada) Tower will be the tallest structure of its kind ever to be demolished. The tower is  taller than the Empire State Building (1,454 feet, to the top of lightening rod), taller that the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas (1,148 feet) and half-again as tall as the Eiffel Tower (1,063 feet, with antenna).

The tower will be brought down due to safety concerns for personnel working nearby and risk to aircraft flying in the area. Contributing factors include lack of use, maintenance issues, and an uneconomical cost of more than $1 million that would have been required return the tower to a usable state.

DEMCO, Inc. is partnering with Controlled Demolition, Inc. to bring down BREN Tower in a safe, environmentally friendly manner. Because the tower is very tall, highly controlled demolition techniques will be employed. The tower will be demolished by explosively removing a small section of one leg at ground level, then explosively severing the tensioned guy wires and the anchor/stanchions on the opposite side.

About the photo:

A sign near the BREN Tower cites the historical significance of the tower (in the background) which will be demolished next week.


Two devices that delay passage to controlled-access areas at Y-12 recently received significant developmental boosts. The Access Rate Control System (ARCS) and the Delayed Latching Mechanism (DLM) were licensed in February by Knoxville start-up Sustainable Environment Technologies, LLC (SET). About five weeks later, Y-12 and the licensee signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).

The ARCS is a kit designed for installation on existing or new full-height turnstiles. It generates resistance and slows entry if someone enters at faster-than-normal speed. The DLM slows unlatching of gates and doors from the outside, requiring a sequence of actions to retract the latch and giving security personnel time to prevent the door or gate from opening if necessary.

Y-12 President and General Manager Darrel Kohlhorst voiced support to SET President Dan Hurst, said, “Once we know that something we have invented works, we want to make it possible for someone else to use it. It’s our job not only to facilitate a license but also to work with the licensee to get it off the ground. If we are using these devices, there is no reason they are not at every one of the NNSA sites.”

Anticipated markets include other U.S. Department of Energy facilities, commercial nuclear facilities, pharmaceutical manufacturers, correctional facilities, and large sporting venues. Both devices were invented by senior technical advisor and National Security Technology Center director Lee Bzorgi, whom Popular Science magazine has called “DOE’s Gadget Guru” because of his numerous inventions.

About the photo:
Y-12 President and General Manager Darrel Kohlhorst, left, discusses commercialization ideas with SET President Dan Hurst, center, and Lee Bzorgi, right, Y-12 inventor. The DLM and ARCS are in the foreground, left and right.



The last scheduled shipments of remote-handled (RH) transuranic (TRU) waste left Sandia National Laboratories’ New Mexico location on Wednesday, May 2, headed directly for permanent disposal in the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, N.M. These shipments end Sandia’s final stage in DOE’s Legacy TRU Waste Program, which works to safely remove such waste from sites throughout the DOE complex.

Congressman Joe Heck (R-Nev.) receives a briefing from Rhonda Hopkins (right), senior manager for National Security Technologies (NSTec), on the vital national security role played by the company’s Remote Sensing Lab (RSL) at Nellis Air Force Base. RSL is a national leader in radiological emergency response, nuclear and radiological detection, and related technology and electronics development. Looking on are (l-r) Michael Mohar, senior manager with RSL; Ray Juzaitis, president of NSTec; Cheryl Oar, acting director of Global Security for NSTec; Alan Will, manager of RSL; Keith Hughes, senior caseworker for Congressman Heck; and Mike Butchko, chief operating officer for NSTec. NSTec manages and operates the Nevada National Security Site and related facilities for the NNSA’s Nevada Site Office.  


How can government partner with the private sector to control sensitive nuclear technology without blocking legitimate commerce? How could social media be used to target information-driven arms control and nonproliferation? How are nuclear disarmament dynamics shifting?

These were just a few of the intriguing topics that 90 participants tackled at a nuclear security forum on April 18-19. The event, attended by representatives from seven countries, was part of the Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI), an activity of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). CSIS was recently ranked the world’s top security and international affairs “think tank” by a well-respected annual assessment from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Rising experts in the nuclear security field presented research findings on nuclear weapons issues and shared information in interactive forums. Speakers covered work that was funded by NNSA and other agencies. Graduate students from 12 universities also participated, advancing a PONI goal of building a networked community of young nuclear experts. Warren Stern, Director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, provided keynote remarks at the meeting.

This year’s event was held at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and DOE’s Volpentest HAMMER Training and Education Center. During tours, participants experienced an up-close-and-personal view of technologies and facilities to counter nuclear terrorism, prevent proliferation, and verify arms control regimes.


The Nevada Site Office and contractor National Security Technologies recently celebrated the 10,000th sortie aircraft flight from their Remote Sensing Lab (RSL) in southern Nevada in support of Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) missions.  Participating in the commemorative flight were: (l-r): NNSS Fire & Rescue (F&R) Deputy Chief of Operations John Gamby, Chief Charles Fauerbach, NSTec Chief Operating Officer Mike Butchko, Capt. Tom McKissack, F&R Engineer John Dwyer, RSL pilot Capt. Tom Selfridge and F&R Training Deputy Chief John Rynes. The commemorative flight from RSL’s location at Nellis Air Force Base to the Desert Rock Airport at the NNSS was similar to those flown during local wildland fire events at the NNSS.