NNSA Blog

Physics World, an international monthly magazine published by the Institute of Physics, has named the National Ignition Facility’s (NIF) achievement of fuel gain one of its top 10 breakthroughs of the year.

NIF — the world’s largest and most energetic laser —  is funded by NNSA and is a key element of NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program to maintain the effectiveness and safety of the U.S. nuclear deterrent without full-scale testing.

Ignition — the process of releasing fusion energy equal to or greater than the amount of energy used to confine the fuel — has long been considered the "holy grail" of inertial confinement fusion science. 

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NNSA Blog

About the photo:
NIF’s target chamber is where the magic happens – temperatures of 100 million degrees and pressures extreme enough to compress the target to densities up to 100 times the density of lead are created there. Photo by Damien Jemison/LLNL.

Dec 16, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Los Alamos National Laboratory has named five new Fellows this week. The honorees this year are Christopher L. Fryer, Herbert O. Funsten, John C. Gordon, Jaqueline L. Kiplinger and David S. Moore.

The Fellows are selected for sustained, high-level achievements in programs of importance to LANL and a fundamental or important discovery that has led to widespread use. In addition, the Fellows are selected for having become a recognized authority in the field, including outside recognition and an outstanding record of publications.

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NNSA Blog(From top) Christopher L. Fryer, Jaqueline L. Kiplinger, Herbert O. Funsten, John C. Gordon, and David S. Moore.

Dec 15, 2014 at 12:29 pm

The Nevada National Security Site (NNSS), Nevada Field Office recently earned the 2014 Federal Energy and Water Management Award for the Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Management Program—making it the only U.S. Department of Energy recipient of this distinguished award.

The NNSS increased its renewable fuel use by 195 percent from its 2005 baseline—an increase that was achieved through the construction of two ethanol (E-85) alternative fuel capable service stations and implementing an innovative fuel lock-out program that identifies flex fuel vehicles and prioritizes the use of E-85. This significant increase in renewable fuel use effectively supports the national objective to reduce dependence on foreign oil.  

John-Paul Martinez and Ricky Medina received the award on behalf of the Nevada Field Office and National Security Technologies, the NNSS Management & Operating contractor. The award ceremony was held by the DOE Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP) at the National Archives in Washington, D.C., yesterday where all FEMP award recipients were recognized.

NNSA Blog

About the photo:
John-Paul Martinez and Ricky Medina representing NNSS (center) accept the 2014 Federal Energy and Water Management Award for the Alternative Fuel Vehicle (AFV) Management Program.

Dec 10, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The NNSA Production Office (NPO) at Y-12 recently entered an agreement earlier this year with NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, to support the design of a small nuclear-powered reactor with potential to lead to small fission power reactors for future space exploration missions.

For the first phase of the project, Y-12 will research materials and manufacturing processes for a physics demonstration of a kilowatt-range nuclear reactor, known as project Kilopower, using an enriched uranium-molybdenum metallic fuel core and a lithium-hydride shield. The Kilopower concept was a 2013 R&D 100 Award winner for proof-of-principle experiments performed at the National Criticality Experiments Research Center in Nevada led by Los Alamos National Laboratory in collaboration with NASA Glenn and National Security Technologies.

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NNSA Blog 

About the photo:
Y-12 Development’s Roland Seals explains Y‑12’s infrared heating capabilities to NASA and DOE Office of Nuclear Energy officials. Photo by Brett Pate.

Dec 9, 2014 at 11:00 am

NNSA BlogDOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz recently presented Robert McKay, director of the NNSA Office of Air Delivered System Acquisitions for Major Modernization Programs, with a NNSA Certificate of Service in recognition of 20 years of dedicated federal service.

McKay leads all air delivered acquisitions for nuclear bombs and cruise missiles. Currently, he is the senior federal program manager for the B61-12 Life Extension Program and leads a team of senior program engineers and analysts responsible for execution of the B61-12 development, production, and certification activities to replace the aging B61 -3, 4, & 10 tactical bombs and the B61-7 strategic bombs.

McKay joined the Department of Energy in October 1994 after working briefly in private industry. He resides in Albuquerque, N.M. He and his wife Stacy McKay have two children, Kaitlin and William.

Dec 8, 2014 at 5:00 pm

An energy-saving retrofit of the main warehouse at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) in Mercury, Nev., is saving taxpayers nearly $58,000 per year. The “Clean Burn System” was installed in FY13 by National Security Technologies (NSTec), the managing and operating contractor for the NNSS. The system heats and cools the facility using recycled oil generated from NSTec’s Fleet, Fuel and Equipment preventative maintenance program. The system was recently recognized with a NNSA Environmental Stewardship Award.

NNSA Blog

About the photo:
The Clean Burn System heats at NNSS and cools the facility using recycled oil from site fleet, fuel, and equipment.

Dec 4, 2014 at 11:38 am

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.  

NNSA Blog

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 4:00 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.

NNSA Blog

Dec 2, 2014 at 1:00 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.”

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Dec 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm

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.

NNSA Blog

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 4:00 pm