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October 2013

Over the last 50 years, scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Biosciences and Biotechnology Division have been instrumental researchers on the Human Genome Project, developing high-tech devices to sort cells and analyze DNA and providing the science for federal programs to defend the nation from biological weapons.

Livermore has compiled a complete list of their biosciences contributions. See more.

About the photo:
In the 1970s, the Laboratory established preeminence in cytometric research. Livermore was the first to use flow cytometry to sort chromosomes.

 Livermore's biosciences celebrates 50th anniversary

The most recent NNSA quarterly summary of experiments conducted as part of its science-based stockpile stewardship program is now available here.

The quarterly summary prepared by NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs provides descriptions of key NNSA facilities that conduct stockpile stewardship experiments. These include some of the most sophisticated scientific research facilities in the world including, the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories. The summary also provides the number of experiments performed at each facility during each quarter of the fiscal year.

The U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program is a robust program of scientific inquiry used to sustain and assess the nuclear weapons stockpile without the use of underground nuclear tests. The experiments carried out within the program are used in combination with complex computational models and NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) Program to assess the safety, security and effectiveness of the stockpile. An extraordinary set of science, technology and engineering (ST&E) facilities have been established in support of the stockpile stewardship program.

Savannah River Tritium Enterprise (SRTE) went above and beyond its FY13 productivity savings goals. Overall, SRTE’s validated productivity savings totaled $2.605 million, which represents more than 116 percent of the goal. Performance against other Continuous Improvement goals was impressive as well, with 20 percent of employees engaged in a Continuous Improvement (CI) action each month and each division initiating at least one Lean Event per month.

Among the 28 CI projects validated in FY13 were:

  • The development of a calibration process that will maintain the Measuring and Test Equipment tools for facility operations, while reducing the overall cost of the program (validated savings more than $377,000)
  • A Glove Test Project to help resolve permeation and glove degradation issues, using SRTE Engineering interns to perform the needed testing (validated savings of nearly $176,000) 
  • The replacement of lead acid batteries in the standby diesel generator with environmentally friendly absorbed gas mat batteries, eliminating the need for a safety shower (validated savings more than $118,000)

About the photo:
P.K. Hightower of SRTE Quality & Performance Excellence presents to Joe Shake of SRTE Engineering a shirt in recognition of his contributions to SRTE's productivity savings.

Savannah River Tritium Enterprise exceeds productivity savings goals for FY13

The National Security Campus design team has been named a global winner of the “Design is…" award program which honors architecture and design firms that are changing the very idea of design.

It’s been less than a year since the building’s completion and Kansas City-based architectural firm, HNTB Inc., has already won three industry awards for their interior design elements. HNTB was tasked with designing a work space that was energizing, reflected our mission, and created a crisp, clean and bright place to work.

The customer focus areas, such as the main meeting center and entries to every pod use either the full hexagon for a literal effect or a fractured, manipulated design of the shape.

The floors of the building are on the raised access floor that allows a more efficient distribution of data, power and HVAC ventilation. This design element was intentionally left as unfinished concrete not only to be a good steward of the budget but to give employees the sense they were seeing the inner workings of the structure. The slanted ceilings in the open office areas, based on the geometric shape tetrahedron, was a mechanism to visually shorten a space equal in length to a football field while creating visual interest. Between the ceiling tile “clouds,” the structure is visible, revealing the tectonic structure of the building.

See the video

 National Security Campus design team wins global award

National Security Campus design team wins global award

NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brigadier General James C. Dawkins, Jr., recently visited both NNSA Production Office sites to present Defense Programs Awards of Excellence. The Defense Programs Awards are given annually to recognize significant achievements in quality, productivity, cost savings, safety, or creativity in support of NNSA’s nuclear weapons program.

At the Pantex Plant, Dawkins presented awards to 88 members of five different teams who worked on projects ranging from metallography of weapons components to analysis of plastic bonded explosives to work on the B53 and B83 weapons. In his comments, he emphasized the importance of the work done at Pantex to help ensure the safety of the country through maintenance of an effective nuclear deterrent. Dawkins was joined by NNSA Production Office Manager Steve Erhart and B&W Pantex General Manager John Woolery in making the presentations.

At the Y-12 National Security Complex, five teams, consisting of more than 90 federal and contractor employees, were recognized for their work the past year. Joining Dawkins to present the awards was Mark Padilla, NNSA Production Office Assistant Manager for Programs and Projects; Chuck Spencer, B&W Y-12 President and General Manager; and Bill Tindal, B&W Y-12 vice President for Production.

NPO recognized by Defense Programs

Pantex has set a new safety record with the lowest recordable case rate in the plant’s history.

The record total recordable case rate of 0.26 is a fitting end to an outstanding year in safety. In January, Pantexans set a record for working more than eight million man hours without a lost time injury. In addition, Pantex was once again honored as one of the outstanding sites in the complex with the Star of Excellence from the Department of Energy’s Voluntary Protection Program.

Read more.

Pantex sets safety record

More than 100 individuals from several Kansas City Plant teams received recognition this week for their work supporting NNSA’s Defense Programs.

Jeff Shoulta, KCFO Manager of Stockpile Management, presented awards in a special ceremony last month to the KCP Production Team, the KCP/Sandia Collaborative Design for Manufacturing Team, and Diana Blackburn for her individual contribution to the KCP Transformation planning process.

The annual awards recognize work that contributes to the Stockpile Stewardship Program. The awards are given for significant achievements in quality, productivity, cost savings, safety or creativity in support of the nuclear weapons program.

 DP awards showcase KCP collaboration

Forty-one SRS and four Sandia employees were honored for excellence in support of NNSA's Defense Programs. Doug Dearolph, manager of the Savannah River Field Office, presented NNSA Defense Programs Awards of Excellence to one individual and two teams for their “significant achievement in quality, productivity, cost savings, safety or creativity in support of NNSA’s nuclear weapons program.”

Honorees included:
- Rick Poland, for leadership of the Federal Working Group on Industrial Digital Radiography
- The Tritium Control Room Operator Training Team, Thomas F. Davis and Shawn P. Adair
- The B83 Alt 353 Implementation Team, led by Jennifer Rice with 38 other Savannah River Tritium Enterprise employees, along with four Sandia employees

Poland was honored for his multi-year work as Director of the Federal Working Group on Industrial Digital Radiography to develop unified standards for digital radiography, allowing this modern replacement for film X-rays to become a truly useful tool across Defense Programs work.

The Tritium Control Room Operator (TCRO) Training Team was honored for developing the training process that qualifies employees as Control Room Operators in multiple facilities. Traditionally, a Control Room Operator was qualified in one facility, then worked there for a period of time before going back into training to achieve the other facility qualification. Simultaneous qualification as a TCRO in both facilities increases proficiency and flexibility. When the first group of multi-facility TCRO trainees took their oral qualification exams, the final step in full TCRO qualification, the qualification board members were impressed at their knowledge and ability to understand not just individual systems, but how all of the various systems interface.

The B83 Alt 353 Implementation Team was honored for significant accomplishments in support of the alteration that will replace the reservoirs and Gas Transfer System hardware in the B83 weapon. The work, which included pinch weld development, function testing to validate new design configuration, and trainer hardware production, was symbolized by excellent partnering and communication among various groups within the Savannah River Tritium Enterprise (including personnel from Tritium Operations and Savannah River National Laboratory) and Sandia National Laboratories.

NNSA honors SRS employees for excellent support

NNSA honors SRS employees for excellent support
Above (left to right): Savannah River Field Office manager Doug Dearolph presents awards to Thomas Davis, Rick Poland and Jennifer Rice.

 LANL counterintelligence officer speaks at Pantex

Dan Cloyd, Senior Counterintelligence Officer at Los Alamos National Laboratory, recently discussed the highly publicized “Russian Illegals” case at a Pantex classified briefing. Cloyd was the executive manager of the Illegals case for the FBI, in which numerous Russian spies lived and worked in the U.S. under assumed names before being arrested in 2010. Cloyd was at that time the assistant director of the FBI Counterintelligence Division.

The Pantex Counterintelligence Department hosted the classified briefing by Cloyd to help reinforce the necessity for all Pantexans to protect sensitive and classified information and to be alert for adversaries who might seek to acquire that information.