Follow this link to skip to the main content

NNSA Blog

Posted By Office of Public Affairs

By Ben Dotson, Project Coordinator for Digital Reform, DOE Public Affairs

 National Security & Public Safety at the National Labs

For more than 60 years, the Energy Department's National Labs have played a crucial role in the national security of the United States. Founded during the immense investment in scientific research and technical innovation in the period preceding World War II, the National Labs conduct cutting edge research in a diverse variety of fields, advancing the safety and security of the American public. This month on energy.gov, we're highlighting that great work -- from cybersecurity to robotics and beyond.

One of the key missions of the Energy Department is guaranteeing the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, scientists develop and employ the tools, technologies and high performance computing resources necessary to support the stockpile stewardship program.

The National Labs also support U.S. national security in other equally important ways. Argonne National Lab has helped local and state governments develop emergency plans, run drills for pandemic outbreaks, and analyzed ways to enhance security at plants and factories across the country. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers study counterterrorism and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They have developed a first-of-its-kind framework for major metropolitan areas that covers natural threats and the long term complications arising from biological, chemical and radiological incidents. Scientists and researchers at Idaho National Laboratory have developed a new flash x-ray system that can reveal how a projectile or weapon interacts with armor at the moment of impact.

The national security and public safety work performed at the labs has been recognized with a number of R&D 100 awards, the "Oscars of Innovation." Throughout the month of December, keep checking energy.gov as we feature the National Labs and their innovative work supporting U.S. national security and public safety. To learn more about the National Labs, visit energy.gov/labs.

Originally posted on energy.gov.

Posted on December 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm ET
Posted By Office of Public Affairs

IPRO logo

A new planning tool that minimizes required on-hand inventory, while ensuring that the right product with the right quality is delivered at the right time, has been implemented at Pantex. The NNSA Integrated Production Planning and Execution System (IPRO) was delivered seven months ahead of schedule and approximately $8 million below projected cost.

Pantex developed and deployed IPRO to modernize its Enterprise Resource Planning tool system and reduce cost while improving operational visibility and inventory accuracy. IPRO provides a major hardware and software system upgrade that integrates management of mission critical functions.

The program not only replaces software management systems dating back nearly 25 years, it provides a portable, customizable and flexible ERP solution to sustain the ever-evolving electronic workplace.

See more.

Posted on December 5, 2013 at 12:00 pm ET
Posted By Office of Public Affairs

Dr. Kevin Greenaugh, Deputy Assistant Deputy Administrator for NNSA’s Office of Stockpile Management, recently received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Mercer University.

The award is presented to an alum who has served his/her profession in an outstanding manner, serving as an excellent representative of Mercer University in the process. Recipients are recognized for their exceptional service to humanity and dedication, ideals fostered at Mercer University.

Last year's recipient was Nancy Grace of CNN's Nancy Grace Show.

Read more.

About the photo:
Mercer University President William D. Underwood presents Kevin Greenaugh with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Kevin Greenaugh receives Distinguished Alumnus Award from Mercer University

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 11:00 am ET
Posted By Office of Public Affairs

For the tenth consecutive year, Y‑12 received the National Safety Council’s Occupational Excellence Achievement award. The award recognizes companies, units or facilities with no fatalities during a calendar year and 50 percent or fewer reported lost-time injuries and illnesses than the Bureau of Labor Statistics rating for their industry.

The second award received was the U.S. Department of Energy Voluntary Protection Program Star of Excellence. As the award states, employees have “achieved an outstanding level of performance in meeting established safety and health goals, actively conducting outreach to others and in achieving an injury and illness rate significantly below the average of similar businesses and operations.”

Read more.

Posted on December 3, 2013 at 5:14 pm ET
Posted By Office of Public Affairs

In early November, medical isotope producers met with nuclear explosion monitoring experts at a workshop to improve the effectiveness of the International Monitoring System (IMS). The IMS uses radioactive isotope emissions to detect if a nuclear weapons test has taken place. Unfortunately, not everything that emits radioactive isotopes is a nuclear test. The production of medical isotopes like molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), for example, can result in emissions of xenon isotopes that the IMS interprets as potential nuclear tests. Minimizing these false positives is essential to the effectiveness of the IMS.

The fourth Workshop on Signatures of Medical and Industrial Isotope Production was a great success. Scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) co-organized the workshop with the Preporatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), and helped produce “Zeroing in on Xenon,” a video that explains the effects of xenon isotope emissions. NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security and the CTBTO are working with Mo-99 producers worldwide to reduce emissions.

This year, four additional producers signed a pledge to collaborate and address the problem, including Coquí RadioPharmaceuticals, this first U.S.-based potential Mo-99 producer to sign the pledge. Other U.S. firms that attended were SHINE Medical Technologies and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, which are working with NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) to establish a domestic supply of Mo-99 without using highly enriched uranium (HEU).

PNNL experts, supported by NNSA and the Departments of State and Defense, will continue to work with the CTBTO and medical isotope producers to minimize radioxenon emissions in order to enhance the effectiveness of the IMS.

About the photo: The five current or potential Mo-99 producers that have signed a pledge to collaborate with the CTBTO.  Photo courtesy CTBTO.

Reducing emissions to improve nuclear test detection

From left:  In-Cheol Lim, Vice President of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI); Carmen Irene Bigles, CEO of Coquí RadioPharmaceuticals; Lassina Zerbo, CTBTO Executive Secretary; Yudiutomo Imardjoko Bernadib, President Director of PT Batan Teknologi; Emmy Hoffmann, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Manager of Nuclear Assurance Services; Benoit Deconninck from the Institute for Radioelements (IRE)

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm ET
Posted By Office of Public Affairs

What do better batteries, reducing fuel consumption, improved cancer treatment, and making metals corrosion and heat resistant have to do with nonproliferation? NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security promotes innovative solutions to global, regional and national security challenges, while at the same time advancing science best practices and applying cutting-edge science to support security policy priorities. NIS supports collaborative R&D projects that draw on expertise from both industry and U.S. national labs.

Recent projects include:

  • The Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology in Ukraine, in partnership with Brookhaven National Lab and GM, developed thermal management systems for Lithium-Ion batteries, extending battery life and output in mobile devices and electric cars.
  • The Russian Institute of High Current Electronics, in partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Leonardo Technologies Inc., developed a highly efficient plasma-torch combustion systemreducing fuel consumption and combustion pollutants.
  • The Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology (KIPT) in Ukraine, in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Alphamed Inc., developed a new method for the production of radioisotope copper-67, allowing it to be produced at a scale and proximity useful to U.S. hospitals and cancer treatment centers.
  • The Sukhumi Institute of Physics in the Republic of Georgia recently completed a project with DOE’sKansas City Plant to develop an aluminum-based corrosion and heat resistant coating for various metals.  Currently, most corrosion-proofing methods require increasingly scarce minerals like zinc, nickel and chromium, making abundant aluminum a financially and strategically preferable choice.

 Additional project information: http://nnsa.energy.gov/content/greenweek2011

About the photo: Plasma-torch combustion system at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.


International R&D Collaboration Develops Solutions to Global Challenges

Posted on November 26, 2013 at 2:55 pm ET
Posted By Office of Public Affairs

Employees at the Savannah River Site have combined fun with athletic competition for the third annual “Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes” relay race, which raises thousands of dollars each year for the Savannah River Site’s annual Toys for Tots campaign.

The fun is profitable enough to raise a significant amount of money to surprise local children on Christmas day with a new bike or tricycle.  More than 100 underprivileged children had a wonderful Christmas last year due to the $6,000 that was raised.

This year the Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes race, with a field of ten teams, raised $7,600, enough to buy about 25 additional bikes and trikes over last year’s numbers.

About the photo:
The first heat of runners takes off, toy batons in hand, during this year's SRNS “Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes” relay race at SRS. More than $7,600 was raised and will be contributed to the annual SRS Toys for Tots campaign.

Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm ET
Posted By Office of Public Affairs

More than 86 Y‑12 employees and family members participated at this year’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night walk, held recently at the University of Tennessee. The B&W Y‑12 team, recognized as the largest corporate team at the event, raised more than $20,000. Participating in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk funds therapies and treatment advances for blood cancer patients.

Y-12 team raises more than $20,000 for Light the Night event

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 5:00 pm ET
Posted By Office of Public Affairs

Pantex employees on Saturday got a chance to check out the 2013 Capitol Christmas tree and helped serve snacks to attendees at an event celebrating the visit. The 88-foot tall Engelmann spruce was harvested from the Collville National Forest in Washington and will be erected at the Capitol Building. Babcock & Wilcox was one of the corporate sponsors of the tree tour which will make 22 stops, including Amarillo, Texas, before arriving in Washington, D.C.

Capitol Christmas tree stops in Amarillo

Capitol Christmas tree stops in Amarillo

Posted on November 25, 2013 at 12:00 pm ET
Posted By Office of Public Affairs

Tiffany A. Blanchard-Case has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Linton Brooks Medal for Dedication to Public Service. She was recognized yesterday for her outstanding service to NNSA and the American people. Former NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks and Acting NNSA Administrator Bruce Held presented the medal to Tiffany.

Tiffany has served with distinction within the NNSA’s Office of Global Threat Reduction. She has led efforts within the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus to secure and remove vulnerable radioactive sources. She has spearheaded projects to improve transportation security and regulations on radioactive source security. Her efforts resulted in the recovery and disposition of thousands of radioactive sources representing the equivalent of more than 5,000 dirty bombs thus, making the United States and the international community safer from terrorism. Her dedication, creativity, and innovative spirit have helped to overcome technical and bureaucratic obstacles and furthered the success of the NNSA’s nonproliferation programs.

Prior to her current position, Tiffany worked within the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation as part of the Nonproliferation Graduate Fellowship Program.  Prior to her employment with the U.S. Department of Energy, Tiffany worked in the United States Congress, serving in the office of a legislator in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. 

Tiffany holds a Master of Science in Foreign Service degree from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Spanish Translation from Kent State University.

About the photos:
Top: Blanchard-Case with former NNSA Administrator Linton Brooks (left) and NNSA Acting Administrator Bruce Held (right).
Bottom: Blanchard-Case with her family.

Tiffany A. Blanchard-Case receives 2013 Linton Brooks Medal

NNSA Blog

Posted on November 22, 2013 at 3:13 pm ET