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December 2013

Pantex Security Police Officers Byron Logan and Randy Stokes completed their annual Run Against Hunger last week. The two officers ran and biked approximately 50 miles Friday to raise awareness of the problem of hunger in the Texas Panhandle and to raise money for the High Plains Food Bank.

On the route, Logan and Stokes stopped talk to the students from Highland Park High School in Amarillo, Texas, about the importance of getting involved to address community problems.

Pantex runs against hunger

Pantex runs against hunger

Preparing the Nuclear Security Science Minds of TomorrowOn a recent Saturday at the Department of Energy, 45 Boy and Girl Scouts earned their Science Merit Badges/Patches, thanks to the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D staff that held an annual class for the scouts. Sponsored by the Energy Information Administration, the class covered the basics of nuclear science from elementary particles to nuclear power generation. Mini-courses, coordinated by Dr. Arden Dougan, included topics on electricity, energy, and nuclear science. The scouts took part in hands-on activities such as building an electroscope to detect charge, completing a circuit, using a Geiger counter, building atom models, and locating their nearest nuclear power plant.

Eight members of DNN R&D (and several of their family members), along with other DOE, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) employees taught the courses that were designed for kids aged 12 to 18. The American Nuclear Society provided informational handouts and Geiger counters that the scouts could take home after the event.

A high point of the day was the demonstration of the “mousetrap reactor” on loan from NIST.  The reactor simulated nuclear fission through the collision of ping pong balls placed atop mouse traps.  When the first trap was set off, the scouts were able to observe a visual representation of an atomic chain reaction. 

You can view the photos and blog from the event here. Additional resources for nuclear science education can be at the following websites:

Preparing the Nuclear Security Science Minds of Tomorrow

This week, NNSA is highlighting its nonproliferation programs that have supported efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world. In support of President Obama’s Four Year Effort, the Office of International Material Protection and Control (IMPC) works with partner countries to establish a first line of defense that secures warheads and weapons-usable nuclear materials at their source, and a second line of defense at strategic border crossing points, ports, and other locations to deter and detect the illicit transfer of nuclear materials. IMPC’s two complementary programs – Material Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) and Second Line of Defense (SLD)—work with partner countries to: significantly increase the security of vulnerable stockpiles of nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear material (WUNM); reduce the quantity of WUNM by downblending non-weapons-origin HEU into LEU; consolidate nuclear materials into fewer, more defensible, and more sustainable secure locations; and improve the deterrence, detection, and interdiction of illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials. 

As part of the Four Year Effort, the MPC&A Program is working collaboratively with our partners to complete security upgrades at nuclear facilities in Russia and the former Soviet Union, and is supporting the downblending of HEU to LEU so that the material can no longer be used for nuclear weapons.  The MPC&A Program is also working with China to establish a Center of Excellence for nuclear security best practices training in China, and with India to incorporate nuclear security elements into India's Global Centre of Nuclear Energy Partnership.  The SLD Program has deployed thousands of fixed radiation portal monitors at hundreds of sites and dozens of mobile detection units around the world.

IMPC also works to  improve partner countries’ nuclear security infrastructure at the site and national level by improving countries’ regulations and procedures, inspections, training, maintenance capabilities, performance testing, life-cycle planning, and nuclear security culture.  A recipient country’s capability to secure, reduce, and interdict nuclear materials must be sustained by that country over the long term.

Click here to read more about President Obama’s Four-Year Effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world.

IMPC began in 1994 as a task force to mitigate the security vulnerabilities of special nuclear material arising from the collapse of the Soviet Union.  Since that time, the program has evolved into a global effort, engaging over 50 countries to deny terrorists the vital materials needed to engage in acts of nuclear terror.

NNSA Defense Programs today presented hundreds of toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve as part of their Toys for Tots Program. The unwrapped toys were donated by employees throughout Forrestal Building. Don Cook, Deputy Administrator for NNSA’s Defense Programs, presented the toys to the Marines at the annual DP holiday party. Dr. Cook thanked everyone who participated in the program and commended the Marines for their commitment to the country and for spearheading the toy drive each year.

NNSA DP does it again! Collects boxes and boxes of toys

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