NNSA Blog

NNSA Blog

Earlier this month, Washington State University mechanical engineering students delivered two prototypes developed as part of their senior design projects to their Pacific Northwest National Laboratory mentors. The design projects were supported by the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative Human Capital Development (NGSI HCD) program, which works to recruit, train and retain qualified personnel to meet future international safeguards challenges. To advance the NGSI HCD mission, PNNL identified highly qualified WSU engineering students to work with PNNL experts on projects that support nonproliferation and nuclear safeguards. These student teams worked with PNNL mentors to create two prototypes:

  • A large doughnut-shaped fixture designed to hold gamma ray detectors and surround a 12-foot-long nuclear fuel assembly. In a working model, gamma ray measurements would detect whether any spent fuel is missing.
  • An alignment and orientation fixture and target turntable to hold a system that creates and compares 3D images of a nuclear material container to detect tampering.

The devices will be used in training, workshops and exercises to support nuclear safeguards, security and nonproliferation training in various domestic settings.

PNNL develops innovative technologies and conducts system studies to maintain and enhance international safeguards and the nonproliferation regime. Working with regional universities, such as WSU, PNNL creates opportunities for university students in appropriate program areas to apply their education to real projects that are addressing national security challenges.

WSU conducts an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.-approved industrial design clinic in which industry partners sponsor students and faculty to design and develop prototypes that meet specific industry needs. The industrial design clinic provides excellent learning opportunities for the engineering students while delivering a high-value product to industry at minimal cost to the industry partner.

PNNL's NGSI/HCD execution program has worked with the WSU Mechanical Design Program (Industrial Design Clinic) since 2009, with each semester resulting in the design, fabrication and delivery of one or more pieces of national security-applicable equipment that can be used in training, research and other applications.

NNSA Blog

Dec 18, 2015 at 1:00 am

NNSA Blog
Lawrence Livermore Laboratory engineer Bryan Moran won an award last month for his 3D printing innovation. It could revolutionize additive manufacturing.

Lawrence Livermore Lab engineer Bryan Moran wasn’t necessarily looking to improve on 3D printing technology when he moved over to Additive Manufacturing three years ago, but he may have done just that.

Moran’s creation, a new take on a process called projection micro-stereolithography, which uses UV light to create 3D objects, won him a coveted R&D 100 award in Las Vegas last month.

“It’s a leap forward because it’s combining two existing techniques in a unique way,” Moran said. “It’s enabling things that you just wouldn’t have thought of because it wasn’t practical before.”

Simply put, Moran’s printer, called the Large Area Projection Micro-Stereolithography (LAPuSL), projects an image onto a liquid resin that hardens when hit by light, to create 3D objects. Because his machine combines the extraordinary detail (resolution on the order of micrometers) inherent to direct light processors with high speed and a larger scan area, it gives operators the ability to make larger and more complex objects at higher speed. This enables the production of large components with fine features such as micro-architected materials with overall sizes around 10 centimeters, containing individual features in the micrometer range.

Read more about it.

 

Dec 17, 2015 at 1:00 am
NNSA Blog
Pantexans Caleb Rejino, left, and Danny Caverly, right, and Colin Caverly, Caverly’s son deliver meals to the Eveline Rivers Sunshine Cottages in Amarillo.
 
A team of Pantex volunteers provided support to families in the Eveline Rivers’ Sunshine Cottages to put healthy meals on the table while the single parents prepared for finals. The cottages are housing for low‑income or homeless single parents who want to finish their education, work and raise their children in a safe environment.
 

“Finals week can be a difficult time for anyone,” said Pantexan Caleb Rejino. “Eveline asked us to help the Sunshine Cottages by providing pre‑cooked or easy to prepare healthy meals. It is one less thing the parents have to worry about while studying for finals.”

Eveline Rivers, an Amarillo philanthropist, opened the Sunshine Cottages in 2001, with one home that was renovated into apartments. She now has six facilities with the goal to move “the whole family off the government system,” according to Eveline’s Sunshine Cottage website.

Residents of the Sunshine Cottages are required to take at least 12 hours of college classes each semester, work and ensure their children attend school. “These parents are working hard to finish their education and making sure their children learn by example,” Rejino said.

Read more at this link.

Dec 11, 2015 at 5:00 pm

NNSA Blog
Y-12 Deputy Site Manager Gene Sievers, left, and ProForce's Neal Wolfenbarger pose for photo at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, TN, as Wolfenbarger waits on his uncle to return from Washington, D.C.

Veterans Day is important to all Americans, but it carries an even more elevated meaning to those who have served our country in the Armed Forces. Not only are they recognized for their contribution, but the day demonstrates that the unique bonds brought about through military service remain strong long after the conflicts have finished.

Two Consolidated Nuclear Security managers and veterans, Ken Freeman and Gene Sievers, have volunteered their time to welcome home veterans who have visited Washington, D.C., as part of the HonorAir program. HonorAir Knoxville is a non-profit organization that takes World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to the U.S. capital to see the memorials built in their honor at zero cost to the veteran.

Read more about them.

Dec 10, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Colleagues:

The Department of Energy has adopted an enterprise-wide approach to strengthening its preparedness for and its capability to respond to a broad spectrum of potential emergencies, including those resulting from natural phenomena (e.g., adverse weather, earthquakes) and from human actions (e.g., accidents, sabotage, terrorism). 

To help support the Department’s new approach, we have recently reorganized the NNSA Office of Emergency Operations (NA-40) and the NNSA Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation (NA-80). 

NA-40 will now focus its efforts primarily on building the capacity to respond to all hazards, including a reinvigorated and a reintegrated emergency management governance structure and a new consolidated emergency operations center. The new organization for NA-40 will include:

  • The Office of Plans and Policy (NA-41), which will oversee the Department-wide Emergency Management System and serve as the Department’s Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board point of contact.
  • The Office of Operations and Exercise (NA-42), which will support the DOE/NNSA command structure for all hazards emergency management. Additionally, the office will develop and manage with input from other DOE entities the Department wide all-hazards exercise program.
  • The Office of Preparedness (NA-43), which will develop and deliver emergency management training across the Department.
  • The Office of Consolidated Emergency Operations Center (NA-44), which will provide the infrastructure for HQ-level operations, coordination, communications, and control and will operate DOE’s Consolidated Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) to improve the ability to respond to a DOE wide all-hazards emergency.

To ensure NNSA continue to devote priority attention to its unique and continuing responsibility for field deployable nuclear and radiological response assets, several functions previously performed within NA-40 have been placed under NA-80. The new organization for NA-80 will include:

  • The Office of Nuclear Incident Policy and Cooperation (NA-81) which will be a consolidation of the former Office of Counterterrorism Policy and Cooperation and the Office of International Emergency Management and Cooperation Programs (NA-46). NA-81 will develop and implement policy, provide technical solutions, and build capacity to strengthen:
    • domestic and international capabilities in counterterrorism and counterproliferation
    • international nuclear incident capabilities
  • The Office of Nuclear Forensics (NA-83), which was formerly the Office of National Technical Nuclear Forensics (NA-45). It will manage the NNSA's technical nuclear forensics assets and capabilities that support pre-detonation device and post detonation nuclear forensics
  • The Office of Nuclear Incident Response (NA-84), which was formerly the Office of Emergency Response (NA-42). NA-84 will serve as the technical leader in responding to and resolving nuclear and radiological threats worldwide. It will include expertise in the areas of radiological search, render safe, and consequence management.

NA-40 will continue to be led by Associate Administrator Deborah Wilber, and NA-80 will continue to be led by Associate Administrator Steven Aoki.

Frank Klotz and Madelyn Creedon
“Mission First, People Always”

Dec 9, 2015 at 12:00 pm

From left, Tamra Barela, Chelsea Murphy, Tracy CDeBaca and Clay Burgess.

Contracting professionals from the NNSA Acquisition & Project Management (APM) Field Program Section (FPS) recently served as role players for Office of Secure Transportation (OST) training exercises in Arkansas and Oklahoma. OST Federal Agents transport U.S. nuclear weapons, components and special nuclear materials throughout the U.S. The APM volunteers helped OST create real-life training scenarios to enhance the skills of Federal Agents in working with civilians and mitigating any risk of terrorist activities during their convoys. For example, during the scenarios an opposing force might sabotage or attempt to sabotage a convoy to which the agents must respond.

The training not only provided the OST agents with motivated volunteers to assist with their training, but also provided FPS contracting staff an up-close look at the OST mission that they support. Through these exercises FPS gained hands-on insight into the vehicles, protective gear and weaponry that OST uses to keep the nuclear stockpile safe. Participants from FPS were Tracy CDeBaca, Clay Burgess, Chelsea Murphy, Tamra Barela, and Chris Grubbs.

Ms. CDeBaca said, “This training made an impact on me by showing the importance of the products and services that are contracted and purchased by APM-12 and gave me insight that what we do on a day-to-day basis is extremely important to the missions carried out by the agents. The work that we complete in contracts is more than just pushing paper and creating files. I had the opportunity to learn and see things that I would have never been able to experience outside of this training opportunity. I cannot thank OST and APM-12 management enough for providing this training opportunity.”

 

Dec 9, 2015 at 11:00 am

NNSA Blog

Dr. Njema Frazier walked the red carpet at the Ebony Power 100 event in Los Angeles Dec. 2.

 

Dr. Njema Frazier is a physicist in the NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs, leading scientific and technical efforts to ensure that the United States maintains a credible nuclear deterrent without nuclear explosive testing. In addition to her day job in national security, she is a member of the National Advisory Board of the National Society of Black Engineers; the Chair of the Algebra by 7th Grade Initiative for grades 3 through 7; the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Diversity Science, LLC, an expert-based network of scientists and engineers dedicated to broadening participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Ebony magazine honored Dr. Frazier as one of its Ebony Power 100 at a ceremony in Los Angeles last week. She joined such icons as Drake, Loretta Lynch and Viola Davis. Dr. Frazier was recognized in the “Miracle Mile” category, as one of “the 2015 mavericks in medicine and science who literally keep hope alive,” according to the Ebony Power 100 website.

“This is outstanding recognition for Njema’s efforts in the overall science field, and for her contributions to DoE, NNSA and the Office of Defense Programs, and a tremendous example of having an impact far beyond her normal duties,” said Phil Calbos, Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs.

Click to read more about Dr. Frazier in her interview earlier this year for the Energy.gov series, Women@Energy.

Dec 7, 2015 at 1:00 am
NNSA Blog
From left, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington; Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO); and NNSA Acting Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Brigadier General Stephen L. Davis standing in a pipe in a test tunnel that was formerly used for underground nuclear explosive testing at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS).

 

Dr. Lassina Zerbo, Executive Secretary of the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), recently visited three National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites—Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), and Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL)—to discuss NNSA’s support for CTBT-related efforts and learn more about how the Stockpile Stewardship Program (SSP) enables the United States to maintain its nuclear deterrent while observing a moratorium on nuclear explosive testing. The SSP marked its 20th anniversary this year and draws extensively on technical assets across the NNSA complex.

The United States conducted its last nuclear explosive test in September 1992, and was the first country to sign the CTBT when it opened for signature in September 1996. Although the Treaty has not entered into force, the United States, in large part with NNSA expertise, supports all aspects of the CTBTO Preparatory Commission’s nuclear explosion monitoring and verification mission.  

The Executive Secretary’s visit kicked off at LLNL, and then continued to NNSS and LANL, with experts from Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) joining at LANL. After a visit to the National Atomic Testing Museum in Las Vegas, Nevada, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington and Acting Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Brigadier General Stephen L. Davis welcomed Dr. Zerbo and his CTBTO colleagues to NNSS.

The NNSS visit was Dr. Zerbo’s first to the site and provided the unique opportunity to highlight how it has transformed. Once known primarily as the site of more than 900 nuclear explosive tests, NNSS currently serves as an experimental testing facility and training ground for a variety of missions vital to U.S. and international safety and security. Joining Dr. Zerbo were Randy Bell, Director of the International Data Centre (IDC) Division at the CTBTO, and other CTBTO staff.

Ms. Harrington welcomed the CTBTO visitors: “I’m pleased that we can demonstrate for Dr. Zerbo, the CTBTO and the international community our significant commitment to maintain the safety and security of our nuclear deterrent in the absence of nuclear explosive testing. We will continue to work closely with the CTBTO to support their mission to deter and detect nuclear explosions, and we appreciate the opportunity to show Dr. Zerbo the many ways in which NNSA is working to make the world a safer place by reducing nuclear and radiological dangers.”

General Davis added, “Driven by the commitment to no longer perform nuclear explosive testing, we recently marked twenty years of success in the Stockpile Stewardship Program. Dr. Zerbo and his team saw some of our most important facilities and capabilities and met the men and women of NNSA who maintain our Nation's nuclear capabilities while complying with international commitments. In addition, we were able to clearly demonstrate how these same Stockpile Stewardship capabilities directly contribute to NNSA’s nonproliferation mission.”

Dr. Zerbo shared his perspective on the Treaty’s benefits with NNSA experts as he toured the three NNSA sites. At LLNL, he visited the National Atmospheric Release Advisory Center (NARAC), National Ignition Facility (NIF), and viewed high performance computing capabilities in support of both SSP and nonproliferation, in addition to discussions of CTBT support. At NNSS, he saw the up-close effects of decades of atmospheric and underground nuclear explosive testing, visiting Yucca Flat, Frenchman Flat, and the Sedan Crater. He also visited the U1a Facility, an underground laboratory for subcritical experiments, to see how the United States uses science to maintain the safety and security of its stockpile rather than nuclear explosive testing. Dr. Zerbo also learned about nuclear explosion monitoring and verification efforts conducted at NNSS in collaboration with the NNSA National Laboratories. At LANL, he toured the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) Facility and heard about both LANL and SNL’s extensive technological and scientific work in support of CTBT and SSP, in addition to touring the Bradbury Science Museum.

At the conclusion of his visit to the NNSA sites, Dr. Zerbo said, “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to visit NNSA’s sites to learn more about the work being done there in support of the nuclear test-ban including how the Stockpile Stewardship Program allows the United States to continue to forgo nuclear explosive testing. The U.S. has been a great partner to the CTBTO, and during this trip we discussed ways to broaden and deepen our cooperation. Visiting Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory again allowed me to see the National Ignition Facility and learn more about Lawrence Livermore’s extensive work in support of CTBT. My first ever visits to the Nevada National Security Site, where so many nuclear explosive tests were conducted, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, the birthplace of the atomic bomb, allowed me to see firsthand not only the history at those sites but also the cutting-edge science and technology that will help to continue improving the CTBTO’s monitoring and verification capabilities.”

Senior officials at each site joined the meetings and tours, presenting overviews of the sites’ missions and activities. LLNL’s Director, Dr. William Goldstein, welcomed Dr. Zerbo on the first stop of his visit. At NNSS, Nevada Field Office Manager Steve Lawrence and Jim Holt, Acting President of National Security Technologies, LLC (NSTec) joined Dr. Zerbo for the day. At LANL, Principal Associate Director for Global Security Dr. Terry Wallace served as the host. Sandia National Laboratories Director Jill Hruby also met with Dr. Zerbo and the CTBTO visitors.

NNSA’s support for the CTBTO focuses on strengthening all aspects of the international nuclear explosion monitoring and verification regime. For example, NNSA provided substantial support for the preparation and execution of the CTBTO’s recent large-scale on-site inspection Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14). NNSA experts also work regularly with CTBTO staff to improve the capabilities for on-site inspections and of the International Monitoring System, supported by the International Data Centre in Vienna, Austria.

To see the NNSA’s Press Release for this visit, click here.

NNSA Blog
Charles Carrigan of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), shows Zerbo some of the monitoring equipment used for verification during on-site inspections.
NNSA Blog
Tom Anklam, an LLNL engineer, explains to Zerbo how the 192 laser beams inside the National Ignition Facility ignite a target.
NNSA Blog
At the target bay of the National Ignition Facility at LLNL.
NNSA Blog
From left, Zerbo, Harrington and Davis prepare to enter a tunnel that was formerly used for underground nuclear explosive testing at the NNSS.
NNSA Blog
Stuart Rawlinson, a facility manager for the NNSS, gives a briefing in a tunnel formerly used for underground nuclear explosive testing.
NNSA Blog
Terry Priestly of Los Alamos National Laboratory's (LANL) Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) Facility explains the function of an imaging component.
NNSA Blog
Priestly showing Dr. Zerbo and his staff a cathode from the DARHT facility at LANL.
Dec 4, 2015 at 11:00 am

NNSA Blog
The Smithsonian Associates Study Tour.

This year marks the second year that the Smithsonian Institution has featured an Oak Ridge tour for its annual Associates Study Tour. Forty-three teachers and two tour leaders traveled from Washington to Oak Ridge for the three-day workshop packed with history and filled with new technological advances such as additive manufacturing, neutron science and computational science.

The group began their visit to Oak Ridge at the American Museum of Science and Energy. After seeing the orientation video and exploring the museum’s Oak Ridge Room and other exhibits, they next stopped at the Y-12 History Center in the New Hope Center.

Their visit to Y-12 included a stop in Building 9201-3 (Alpha 3), giving them the experience of seeing inside an original Manhattan Project facility at Y-12. Read more about their visit

Dec 3, 2015 at 1:00 am

NNSA Blog
Linton Brooks, left, chats with the recipients of the 2015 Linton F. Brooks Medal for Public Service: Ross Matzkin-Bridger and Na’ilah Bowden.

The National Nuclear Security Administration honored two employees this week with the 2015 Linton F. Brooks Medal for Public Service: Na’ilah Bowden and Ross Matzkin-Bridger. Brooks Medal nominees are 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. The medal was established in 2008.

“Presenting this award is one of the great pleasures of this job,” said NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Madelyn Creedon. "Its recipients truly embody commitment to public service and professional excellence. They also remind us that the rising generation of public servants is fully equal to the challenges that will confront our nation in the future.”

Na’ilah Bowden is a Program Manager in the NNSA Office of Infrastructure Planning & Analysis. Bowden is responsible for implementing the BUILDER Sustainment Management System across the Nuclear Security Enterprise to reform NNSA’s ability to manage its infrastructure. The cutting-edge program helps NNSA make critical asset management investment decisions. This tool will better enable NNSA employees to be effective stewards of taxpayer money, using sound management practices, as we turn the Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a 21st century Nuclear Security Enterprise.

Bowden began her career in NNSA with the former Office of Facility Operations, where she led Program Readiness activities for the Readiness and Technical Base Facilities program. Bowden then moved on to lead NNSA’s climate change efforts in the Office of Sustainability. She participated in both the Future Leader Program and the Department’s Minority Serving Institutions Program and is a certified Project Management Professional and Contracting Officer Representative. Bowden earned a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering with a concentration in Sustainability and Building Efficiency.

Ross Matzkin-Bridger is a Foreign Affairs Specialist in the Office of Material Management and Minimization. Matzkin-Bridger leads efforts to remove and eliminate highly enriched uranium and plutonium from facilities worldwide. Most recently, he has worked to negotiate and implement an agreement with Japan to remove and dispose of high-risk nuclear materials from its Fast Critical Assembly. Such efforts are critical as NNSA implements President Obama’s nuclear security agenda to reduce global nuclear dangers.

Previously, Matzkin-Bridger worked throughout Europe and Asia to minimize weapons-usable nuclear materials. These efforts have led to the removal and elimination of hundreds of kilograms of highly enriched uranium and plutonium, enough to build dozens of nuclear weapons. Prior to his current position, he served as an interpreter for a local government in Japan and as a research assistant at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Matzkin-Bridger earned a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Arts in International Affairs from George Washington University.

NNSA Blog
NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Madelyn Creedon said Na’ilah Bowden and Ross Matzkin-Bridger "remind us that the rising generation of public servants is fully equal to the challenges that will confront our nation in the future.”
NNSA Blog
NNSA Blog
 Na’ilah Bowden speaks at the awards ceremony.
NNSA Blog
Linton Brooks and Madelyn Creedon present the Brooks Medal to Ross Matzkin-Bridger.
NNSA Blog
Linton Brooks and Madelyn Creedon present the Brooks Medal to Na’ilah Bowden.
NNSA Blog
Ross Matzkin-Bridger speaks at the award ceremony.
Dec 2, 2015 at 1:00 pm