NNSA Blog

NNSA’s current 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 facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Ignition Facility 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 sustains and assesses 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.  

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About the photo:
Sandia’s Z machine is the world's most powerful and efficient laboratory radiation source. It uses high magnetic fields associated with high electrical currents to produce high temperatures, high pressures, and powerful X-rays for research in high energy density science. Photo by Randy Montoya.

Dec 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Y-12 environmental efforts recently were recognized in two areas at the 32nd annual Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry Environment and Energy Conference awards ceremony. Y-12 was among several businesses that were honored for outstanding achievement toward environmental protection and enhancement, as well as proactive and innovative energy projects.

Representatives from the Y-12 Sustainability and Stewardship Program and Environmental Compliance were in attendance to accept the Solid and Hazardous Waste Award for “Sustainable Disposition of Unneeded Materials and Chemicals at Y-12.” An achievement certificate in Environmental Excellence also was presented for “Y-12 Sweeping It Clean,” which is Y-12’s holistic approach to facilitate reuse/recycling and prevent the accumulation of unneeded materials and equipment across the site.

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Dec 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Gil Herrera and Steve Rottler, two members of Sandia National Laboratories’ senior leadership team, have 

been elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The honor is bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers.

Herrera, director of Sandia’s Microsystems Science, Technology and Components Center and head of Sandia’s Microsystems and Engineering Sciences Applications (MESA) complex, was cited for “distinguished contributions to microelectronics for national security applications and professional service to the national security community."

Rottler is vice president of Sandia’s California laboratory and serves as lead of the Laboratories’ Energy and Climate Program. AAAS recognized him for his “outstanding contributions through the leadership of science and engineering organizations in a national security laboratory.”

Read more.
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Dec 2, 2014 at 11:00 am

Madelyn Creedon, NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator, recently recognized Pantex Plant Security Police officers Jessie Longoria and Lt. Zach Mayo for providing off-duty aid to a shopping mall security guard in disarming and detaining an alleged assailant earlier this fall.

Creedon recognized the Pantex officers for risking their personal safety and for helping to protect the public while being off-duty from Pantex.

Gary Wisdom, Senior Director of Pantex Safeguards, Security, and Emergency Services, said Pantex security police officers are some of the best trained and dedicated people within the NNSA enterprise. “That these two individuals risked their personal safety to save others is consistent with what I know of both and typical of the caliber and character of people we have protecting the Plant,” he said.

Pantex Security Police officers receive intense training which helped aid in their swift response to the shopping mall incident. The Pantex officers are uniformed individuals authorized to carry firearms and are able to make arrests at Pantex without warrants. They are are employed for the protection of special nuclear material, or other government property.

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About the photo:
Pantex Security Police officers Lt. Zach Mayo (left) and Jessie Longoria were recognized by Madelyn Creedon during a recent site visit. Each officer received a signature Pantex insignia ball cap as a token of NNSA’s appreciation for their off-duty heroics.

Dec 1, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Experts from U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratories, including Sandia National Laboratories, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, are participating in the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14), a large-scale field exercise under way from November to December in Jordan.

At IFE14, more than 200 technical experts from over 40 countries are conducting a mock on-site inspection (OSI) in the Dead Sea Area for evidence of a nuclear explosion. Under the CTBT, any country party to the Treaty can submit an OSI request to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) in order to verify whether a suspicious seismic event is a nuclear detonation. Once an OSI request is submitted to the CTBTO, the clock starts ticking; an international team of 40 inspectors has to receive a comprehensive briefing about the suspicious event, within nine days travel to the area of the suspected nuclear explosion, and help the CTBTO move and set-up about 120 tons of inspection equipment and supplies at the base of operations. Keeping time is pivotal during the first few days of an OSI, as some of the conclusive evidence of a nuclear explosion, such as seismic aftershocks and short-lived radionuclides, can only be found during the first several days.

Members of the international IFE14 Inspection Team conduct environmental samplin

The inspection phase immediately follows the prep-work; inspectors have 25 days to probe the site using techniques such as visual observation, multi-spectral imaging and radioactivity measurements. The inspectors then submit a progress report, which can extend the inspection period and open up a gamut of new, more intrusive inspection techniques depending on the report’s findings. Inspectors at IFE14 will apply most of the inspection techniques listed in the Treaty, which is more comprehensive compared to the previous IFE in Kazakhstan in 2008, making IFE14 the largest and most technologically advanced field exercise ever conducted by the CTBTO.

Once the inspection phase is over, the inspectors work with the CTBTO to develop the final inspection report, which will help the CTBT Executive Council determine whether the Treaty was violated. Although the Treaty has not yet entered into force, inspection exercises such as IFE14 play a critical role in improving the mechanics of the inspection process and ensuring the operational capability and readiness for entry into force of the Treaty.

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DOE/NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, Anne Harrington, visited IFE14 in mid-November to observe parts of the exercise at the designated base of operations. Along with U.S. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller and other VIP Observers from over 25countries and international organizations, Deputy Administrator Harrington had an opportunity to discuss the IFE14 exercise with CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo and HRH Prince Feisal Bin Al Hussein of Jordan during a VIP Observers event.

Regular IFE14 updates can be found at http://ctbto.org/specials/integrated-field-exercise-2014/.

Vist CTBTO Flickr page for additional pictures: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ctbto

More detail about the IFE14 process can be found at: http://www.ctbto.org/fileadmin/user_upload/pdf/IFE-14_Final_corrected_SinglePages_WEB.pdf

Nov 28, 2014 at 9:00 am

Sandia National Laboratories President and Labs Director Paul Hommert signs a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science’s executive director Charles Walter and foundation executive director Jotina Trussell.

In the MOU, Sandia agrees to serve as a technical resource in identifying and developing programs, exhibits and speakers that will help extend the education of the community in the fields of space and space exploration, energy and alternative energy, water, and micro- and nanotechnology. The museum will help evaluate technological and educational initiatives of possible interest to Albuquerque and the region.

Read more.

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About the photo:
Sandia National Laboratories President and Labs Director Paul Hommert (center) with the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science’s Executive Director Charles Walter and Foundation Executive Director Jotina Trussell ink an MOU.

Nov 22, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Melissa A. Scholz has been selected as the recipient of this year’s Linton F. Brooks Medal for Dedication to Public Service. Established in 2008, the medal recognizes newer employees whose actions and deeds exemplify the spirit of public service commitment.

Scholz is a Foreign Affairs Specialist assigned to Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation’s Office of Nuclear Safeguards. She joined NNSA after a year as a Fellow in the NNSA Graduate Fellowship Program. Since 2010, she has managed the Human Capital Development program of NNSA’s Next Generation Safeguards Initiative (NGSI) and is the Department’s point person for implementing DOE’s obligations under the Additional Protocol to the U.S.-IAEA safeguards agreement. Recently, she assumed responsibilities for NGSI’s Concepts and Approaches portfolio as well as managing the Eligible Facilities List for the U.S.-IAEA safeguards agreement.

Nominees for the Linton F. Brooks Medal for Public Service must be NNSA employees, with fewer than five years of civilian federal service and fewer than five years of professional experience, whose work achievements demonstrate an exceptional commitment to public service excellence.

Scholz holds a Master of Arts from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science from the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs at the Georgia Institute of Technology. She lives in Manassas, Va, with her husband and their three dogs.

 NNSA Blog

About the photo:
Former NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks (left) and DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz  present the Linton F. Brooks Medal for Dedication to Public Service to Melissa A. Scholz, Foreign Affairs Specialist assigned to NNSA's Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation’s Office of Nuclear Safeguards. Photo by Kenneth Shipp.

Nov 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Bob Raines, NNSA Associate Administrator for Acquisition and Project Management (APM), recently presented the Gold Medal of Excellence to Scott Samuelson, Senior Advisor for APM. The medal is the highest honorary award granted by NNSA and was presented to Samuelson in recognition to his dedication and commitment to NNSA.

Samuelson will retire at the end of November with more than 30 years of dedicated federal service. Nearly 25 of those years have been in senior leadership positions within the Department of Energy, serving within DOE’s Offices of Nuclear Energy and the Office of Science and NNSA’s Offices of Defense Programs and Acquisition and Project Management. 

Samuelson was honored for his accomplishments in establishing an effective oversight organization for the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to negotiating the close out of the Uranium Atomic Vapor Laser Isotope Separation Program. He was also recognized for helping to deliver the $3.5 billion National Ignition Facility (NIF) for which he was selected as the DOE Federal Project Director of the Year in 2009, the next year the NIF Project was recognized by the prestigious Project Management Institute as the Project of the Year.

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About the photo:
Bob Raines (right) presents the Gold Medal of Excellence to Scott Samuelson.

Nov 20, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Mark Hart, a scientist and engineer in Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory’s Defense Technologies Division, has been awarded the 2015 Surety Transformation Initiative (STI) Award from the NNSA Enhanced Surety Program.

The STI award aims to stimulate and encourage the development of potentially transformational nuclear weapon surety technologies and explore innovative, preferably monumental shift solutions, to unmet surety needs.

Read more. See Hart on YouTube.

NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
Mark Hart, from LLNL, has developed a new approach for ensuring nuclear weapons and their components can't fall prey to unauthorized use. The beauty of his approach: Let the weapon protect itself.

Nov 20, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists’ search for new ways to solve large complex national security problems led to the top ranking on Graph 500 and new techniques for solving large graph problems on small high performance computing (HPC) systems, all the way down to a single server.

Lawrence Livermore’s Sequoia supercomputer, a 20-petaflop IBM Blue Gene/Q system, achieved the world’s best performance on the Graph 500 data analytics benchmark, announced yesterday at SC14 in New Orleans, La.

Read more.

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About the photo: Lawrence Livermore's Sequoia ranked No. 1 on the Graph 500 list for using new techniques to solve large complex national security problems.

Nov 19, 2014 at 11:00 am