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July 2012

NNSA Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (SSGF) annual fellows’ conference

The NNSA Stewardship Science Graduate Fellowship (SSGF) annual fellows’ conference this week brought together its fellows, alumni, academic advisors and DOE laboratory and headquarters staff. Participants gathered to learn about current research in the areas of high energy density physics, nuclear science and materials under extreme conditions and hydrodynamics.

Now in its seventh year, five new fellows were recently welcomed into the program and participated in the annual conference. Each fellow is afforded the unique opportunity to complete a three-month practicum at one of the DOE's national defense laboratories. During the practicum experience, fellows are able to use some of the nation's largest and most sophisticated experimental and computational facilities to conduct their research.

Funded by NNSA and founded in 2006, the SSGF program is administered by the Krell Institute. The SSGF recognizes an ever-increasing demand for highly trained scientists in fields within science and engineering that are critical to stewardship science.

Read more about the conference.

About the photo:
Jennifer Shusterman, nuclear chemistry Ph.D. candidate at University of California, Berkeley, answers questions about her research.

Five individuals from NNSA’s national laboratories have been named recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States Government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Among the 96 recipients announced by President Obama are: Jeffrey W. Banks and Heather Whitley, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory; Amy J. Clarke, Los Alamos National Laboratory; and Stanley Atcitty and Daniel B. Sinars, Sandia National Laboratories.

The Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers embody the high priority the Obama Administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the Nation’s goals, tackle grand challenges and contribute to the American economy.

Read more about the awards.

Savannah River Site (SRS) Tritium Programs recently completed a project to design, build and relocate a new system for separating and capturing helium-3. This form of helium gas is primarily used in radiation detectors employed by the United States Department of Homeland Security to detect neutron activity from nuclear material.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC, the management and operations contractor at SRS, is responsible for the recovery and management of helium-3 as one of its key missions for NNSA. The recovery system upgrade project paves the way for a larger initiative to maintain and modernize Tritium operations while reducing operational footprint and costs.

The Tritium Responsive Infrastructure Modifications initiative will leverage technology advancements, so that the large, aging and more expensive processes will move from Cold War-era facilities into newer, smaller and less expensive accommodations, thereby reducing operating expenses by $28 million annually.

Read more about the upgrade.

Helium-3 Cylinder Loading at Savannah River Site

Helium-3 Glove Box at Savannah River Site

Construction crews prepare to pour concrete at the new High Explosives Pressing Facility (HEPF) project at Pantex this month. Workers have performed several major concrete pours on the site and are beginning to erect the walls of the 45,000-square-foot facility.

The HEPF project, which is being managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, is on budget and on schedule for completion in 2014. The project will combine the operations of half a dozen aging buildings into one state-of-the-art facility, greatly reducing the movement of high explosives at Pantex. Reduced movement benefits safety and also aids in production, as high explosives moves can restrict other plant operations.

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