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.
“Discovery and Innovation for National Security” is the theme of the fifth annual NNSA Laboratory Directed Research and Development (LDRD) Symposium set for June 12 at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS Center) in Washington, D.C.
The symposium will feature highlights of game-changing, mission-relevant research supported by the LDRD Program from throughout the enterprise. Emphasis will be on scientific discovery and technological innovation that benefits DOE and NNSA missions of national security. Technical topics will include adiabatic quantum architectures; sensing and modeling for national security; uncertainty quantification for science-based stockpile stewardship; and optical velocimetry for nuclear security.
The symposium features LDRD technology advancements from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories. It also includes research, development, and demonstration projects from the Site Directed Research and Development Program at Nevada National Security Site, and from the Plant Directed Research and Development Program at the NNSA plants. NNSA researchers will provide briefings and a poster session at noon.
Dr. Victor Reis, Senior Advisor in the Office of the Secretary, will lead a panel discussion on discovery and innovation issues for national security. Keynote presenters will include Neile L. Miller, NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator; Charles V. Shank, Senior Fellow, Janelia Farm Research Campus, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Former Director, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; Norman R. Augustine, retired Chairman & CEO, Lockheed Martin Corporation; and Thomas A. Kalil, Deputy Director for Policy, White House Office of Science & Technology Policy.
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A conservation garden that features a rare, endangered plant native to the Savannah River Site (SRS) was dedicated today at the Mixed Oxide (MOX) Fuel Fabrication Facility in celebration of Earth Day last week. The MOX Conservation Garden is located at the entrance of the MOX project’s administration building and was established to promote the preservation and awareness of a federally endangered plant species, the smooth purple coneflower. The MOX administrative building, where the conservation garden is located, is certified as a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold building. The building is the first at SRS to be LEED Gold Certified. Two additional buildings of the MOX project will pursue certification.
Other SRS plant species in the conservation garden include scaly blazing star, sky-blue lupine and beargrass. Another unique feature of the garden are the stone that were created from cobblestones collected near the MOX construction site that were deposited by high-energy rivers more than 10 million years ago.
The Physical Sciences Facility Project, funded in part by NNSA, recently received the DOE Secretary’s Award of Excellence in Project Management. Deputy Energy Secretary Daniel Poneman presented the award to DOE’s Pacific Northwest Site Office and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL). Deputy Secretary Poneman stands at left in the photo, next to DOE’s Chad Henderson, PNNL’s Jeff Pittman, and DOE officials Marcus Jones, Daniel Lehman and Ingrid Kolb.
The seven-year, $224 million project was co-funded by NNSA and other federal agencies. It was managed by an integrated team consisting of the DOE’s Office of Science, the NNSA, the Department of Homeland Security, and PNNL.
The 200,000-square-foot complex houses unique, state-of-the-art equipment to support national and homeland security and energy research missions, particularly the development and advancement of radiation detection technologies. Scientists use the Radiation Detection and Ultra-Trace laboratories to help identify weapons of mass destruction and terrorist activities. The Large Detector Laboratory and accompanying Test Track are used to develop and test radiation detection technologies for deployment. Entrenched 40 feet below ground is the Underground Lab, which supports homeland and national security missions in radiation detection. The complex also includes a Materials Science & Technology Laboratory to develop and test high-performance materials used in future energy, construction, and transportation technologies and systems.
The facility project, which was completed ahead of schedule and within budget, allowed for a smooth transition of a large group of PNNL researchers and equipment to new facilities while minimizing impacts to mission-critical research.
DOE gives the award annually to management teams that have demonstrated exceptional results in completing a project within cost and schedule.
Nearly 100 sons and daughters of DOE and NNSA employees participated in today's "Bring our Daughters and Sons to Work" day. The event is geared for children to see what their parents do when at work, and it is also is intended to start a conversation about his or her own future. This year, the foundation that created this event is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Several activities planned for the DOE event include face painting, fitness activities, educational programs include a health and nutrition talk and a presentation on solar energy.