Sandia researchers are tackling one of the biggest barriers to the use of robots in emergency response: energy efficiency.

The researchers are developing technology that will dramatically improve the endurance of legged robots, helping them operate for long periods while performing the types of locomotion most relevant to disaster response scenarios.

Read more.

NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
Steve Buerger is leading the Sandia project to demonstrate how energy efficient biped walking robots could become. Increased efficiency could enable bots to operate for much longer periods of time without recharging batteries, an important factor in emergency situations. Photo by Randy Montoya.

Watch a video describing the early development and initial integration of the Sandia Transmission Efficient Prototype Promoting Research (STEPPR) robot. 

Dec 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

NNSA BlogDr. Wendy Pemberton, a scientist from the Nevada National Security Site, recently served as a key trainer for a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) first responder program in the Czech Republic. 

The primary goal of the course was to ensure that first responders such as police officers, fire fighters and paramedics have a common knowledge base and a basic level of preparedness when responding to CBRN incidents.

Watch the video to see how Dr. Pemberton is helping to make the world a safer place.

Dec 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm

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. 

Read more.


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 11:00 am

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.

Read more.

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

Dec 15, 2014 at 11:29 am

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.


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 2:00 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.

 Read more.

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 10:00 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 4:00 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.


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 10:38 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.  


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 3:00 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.


Dec 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm