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January 2014

Aaron Brundage of Sandia National Laboratories has been named a 2013 Black Engineer of the Year Award (BEYA) Minority in Research Science Emerald Honoree in the category of Most Promising Scientist – Government.

The award is intended to provide guidance to young people to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

BEYA awards recognize the nation’s best and brightest engineers, scientists and technology experts. They are a program of the national Career Communications Group, an advocate for corporate diversity, and part of its STEM achievement program. Brundage will receive his award at the 28th BEYA conference Feb. 6 in Washington, D.C.

Read more.

About the photo:
Aaron Brundage of Sandia National Laboratories took to engineering at age 3 when his mom gave him a LEGO 566 kit for Christmas. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

Black Engineer of the Year honoree from Sandia inspires youth to excel in STEM

U.S. Congressman Mac Thornberry joined local dignitaries and other visitors at the Pantex Plant Thursday to make their mark on an important wind project at the Plant. The visitors joined NPO and B&W Pantex leaders, as well as representatives from project contractor Siemens Government Technologies Inc., in signing one of the massive wind turbine blades that will become part of the Pantex Renewable Energy Project (PREP). When it is complete this spring, PREP will be the largest federally owned wind farm in the U.S. and will provide more than 60 percent of the annual electricity needs for the Plant.

The ceremony provided stakeholders an opportunity to receive an update on the project, as well as get an up-close look at the wind turbines that make up the project. Each blade weights 11 tons and is 150 feet long. When completed, the towers will stand over 400 feet tall at the blade tips.

Elected officials visiting the Plant included Thornberry, Texas State Sen. Kel Seliger, Texas State Legislator Four Price, Amarillo Mayor Paul Harpole and Carson County Judge Lewis Powers.

Pantex signing ceremony kicks off wind farm project

Pantex signing ceremony kicks off wind farm project

Pantex signing ceremony kicks off wind farm project

U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) visited the National Security Campus on Tuesday for a tour of the new facility. As part of the tour, KCFO Site Manager Mark Holecek described the transformation to a smaller, more efficient facility that will ensure the longevity of NNSA’s mission while saving taxpayers more than $100 million annually. The move from the Bannister Federal Complex to the National Security Campus is expected to be completed ahead of schedule in July 2014. 

Sen. Blunt also got an inside look at the Fireset and Reservoir manufacturing areas and saw a demonstration of NSC’s 3D printing capabilities. Additive manufacturing and 3D printing have opened up a world of design options for innovative and timely solutions for the broader national security mission. While additive techniques can create traditional parts, they also allow greater flexibility to create parts that are hollow inside, have a complex geometry, or are even a part within a part.

About the photos:
U.S. Senator Blunt holds a metal 3D printed part as Interim Engineering Director David McMindes explains how the National Security Campus is printing parts in less time and for less money than traditional manufacturing.

Kansas City Field Office Site Manager Mark Holecek greets U.S. Senator Roy Blunt during his visit to the National Security Campus.

Senator Blunt visits National Security Campus

Senator Blunt visits National Security Campus

NNSA’s Office of Emergency Operations participated in “DHS Day on the Hill,” sponsored by the House Committee on Homeland Security, last week at the Cannon House Office Building. 

The event was an opportunity for each respective Department of Homeland Security component to demonstrate and showcase to members of Congress their unique capabilities and projects which contribute to the broad mission of DHS.

As part of the event, NNSA helped showcase the RadResponder initiative, which is a FEMA-funded software initiative that provides state and local organizations the ability to report and manage environmental radiation monitoring data. During a large-scale radiological emergency, the state and local data will be available to the Federal Radiological Monitoring and Assessment Center (FRMAC) and integrated into the data collected by the FRMAC, providing decision makers a robust set of data to use when taking action to protect the public.

About the photo:
Representing NNSA (from left to right) was Alan Remick and Dan Blumenthal. Also in photo are Bill Beal, from the Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL) at Joint Base Andrews and Bob Allen and Chris Lee from Chainbridge Technologies.

NNSA takes part in ‘DHS Day on the Hill’

For the first time, some of the world’s most sensitive radiation detection systems and fundamental physics research can be seen from your desktop computer or mobile device.

PNNL recently launched a virtual tour showcasing its Shallow Underground Laboratory (SUL), a facility dedicated in 2011 as part of the $224-million capability replacement project jointly funded by Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The SUL is a one-of-a-kind facility that most people may never get to visit in person in order to protect its sensitive instruments from outside contamination and even the slightest radioactivity.

Scientists in the SUL conduct research which includes the construction of a variety of sensitive detectors that require ultra-low background environments. These can be used for international treaty verification for the Comprehensive-Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty to basic science research such as the search for dark matter in the universe or neutrinoless double-beta decay. The virtual tour allows visitors to witness the development of gas proportional counters or germanium detectors with extraordinary detection efficiencies.

To take the SUL virtual tour, access and click on the facility marked Shallow Underground Laboratory. Once in the virtual environment, you’ll hear a short introduction and then can self-navigate through the dropdown menu, the map or the arrow to enter through the front door. At any point you can jump to the virtual tour by clicking “View Tour.” At each tour stop, you have the ability to zoom and pan 360 degrees within the laboratories. Short video features, interviews, reference information and more are scattered throughout the tour. 

About the photos:
Top (Measurement hall): Scientists use ultra-sensitive germanium detectors to perform low-background measurements on a variety of samples, addressing applications that span from environmental age-dating to international treaty verification.

Bottom (Electroforming): Electroformed parts are fabricated in the Electrochemical Purification Laboratory that was specifically designed to produce radiopure copper.

PNNL offers ‘virtual tour’ of Shallow Underground Laboratory

PNNL offers ‘virtual tour’ of Shallow Underground Laboratory

Admiral Cecil D. Haney, Commander of USSTRATCOM, recently visited Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories. Admiral Haney and Lab Director Charlie McMillan stand in front of the Army-Navy E (as in excellence) Flag awarded to the Lab at the end of World War II. At Sandia, Admiral Haney met with President and Labs Director Paul Hommert and addressed the workforce that afternoon.

Admiral Haney visits New Mexico labs

Admiral Haney visits New Mexico labs

B&W Pantex General Manager John Woolery, center, presents a B&W corporate donation Friday to the United Way of Amarillo and Canyon. United Way Interim Executive Director Jeff Gulde, left, and Campaign Director Stephanie Goins were on hand to receive the gift.

The $57,250 corporate donation supplements more than $650,000 pledged by Pantex employees to United Way for 2013, making Pantex one of the largest supporters of United Way in the Texas Panhandle.

Pantex makes large donation to United Way

Work crews began to erect the first of five wind turbines that will make up the Pantex Renewable Energy Project (PREP). The first wind turbine blade was delivered to the site last week. When completed this spring, PREP will be the largest federally owned wind farm in the country and will provide approximately 60 percent of the average annual electricity need for the Pantex Plant.

First wind turbine blade delivered to Pantex

Lt. Gen. Tom Bostick, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), visited Pantex this week to tour the High Explosives Pressing Facility (HEPF). Bostick toured the facility and said he came away impressed, singling out HEPF as an excellent demonstration of what can happen when federal agencies and contractors work together effectively to manage projects. USACE is managing construction in cooperation with NNSA, B&W Pantex and main construction contractor Kiewit Building Group.

Construction on HEPF is approximately 90 percent complete and is on schedule and under budget. When finished, the $65 million project will combine high explosives work from a half dozen older buildings – two dating back to World War II – into one state-of-the-art facility.

 Commanding general visits Pantex

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited the Z Pulsed Power Facility at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., yesterday. The tour was part of a broader visit to the national laboratory and Kirtland Air Force Base. While at Sandia, Secretary Hagel was provided with briefings and tours of several of the unique capabilities at the laboratory used to assist the Department of Defense in support of the national security mission.

About the photo:
Dr. Paul Hommert, Sandia President & Laboratories Director
Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics
Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense
Dr. Mark Herrmann, Director, Pulsed Power Sciences Center, Sandia National Laboratories
Madelyn Creedon, Assistant Secretary for Global Strategic Affairs
Andrew Weber, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Defense Programs

 Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visits Sandia