For the first time, some of the world’s most sensitive radiation detection systems and fundamental physics research can be seen from your desktop computer or mobile device.
PNNL recently launched a virtual tour showcasing its Shallow Underground Laboratory (SUL), a facility dedicated in 2011 as part of the $224-million capability replacement project jointly funded by Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The SUL is a one-of-a-kind facility that most people may never get to visit in person in order to protect its sensitive instruments from outside contamination and even the slightest radioactivity.
Scientists in the SUL conduct research which includes the construction of a variety of sensitive detectors that require ultra-low background environments. These can be used for international treaty verification for the Comprehensive-Nuclear-Test Ban Treaty to basic science research such as the search for dark matter in the universe or neutrinoless double-beta decay. The virtual tour allows visitors to witness the development of gas proportional counters or germanium detectors with extraordinary detection efficiencies.
To take the SUL virtual tour, access http://tour.pnnl.gov/ and click on the facility marked Shallow Underground Laboratory. Once in the virtual environment, you’ll hear a short introduction and then can self-navigate through the dropdown menu, the map or the arrow to enter through the front door. At any point you can jump to the virtual tour by clicking “View Tour.” At each tour stop, you have the ability to zoom and pan 360 degrees within the laboratories. Short video features, interviews, reference information and more are scattered throughout the tour.
About the photos:
Top (Measurement hall): Scientists use ultra-sensitive germanium detectors to perform low-background measurements on a variety of samples, addressing applications that span from environmental age-dating to international treaty verification.
Bottom (Electroforming): Electroformed parts are fabricated in the Electrochemical Purification Laboratory that was specifically designed to produce radiopure copper.
Admiral Cecil D. Haney, Commander of USSTRATCOM, recently visited Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories. Admiral Haney and Lab Director Charlie McMillan stand in front of the Army-Navy E (as in excellence) Flag awarded to the Lab at the end of World War II. At Sandia, Admiral Haney met with President and Labs Director Paul Hommert and addressed the workforce that afternoon.
B&W Pantex General Manager John Woolery, center, presents a B&W corporate donation Friday to the United Way of Amarillo and Canyon. United Way Interim Executive Director Jeff Gulde, left, and Campaign Director Stephanie Goins were on hand to receive the gift.
The $57,250 corporate donation supplements more than $650,000 pledged by Pantex employees to United Way for 2013, making Pantex one of the largest supporters of United Way in the Texas Panhandle.
Work crews began to erect the first of five wind turbines that will make up the Pantex Renewable Energy Project (PREP). The first wind turbine blade was delivered to the site last week. When completed this spring, PREP will be the largest federally owned wind farm in the country and will provide approximately 60 percent of the average annual electricity need for the Pantex Plant.
Lt. Gen. Tom Bostick, commanding general of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), visited Pantex this week to tour the High Explosives Pressing Facility (HEPF). Bostick toured the facility and said he came away impressed, singling out HEPF as an excellent demonstration of what can happen when federal agencies and contractors work together effectively to manage projects. USACE is managing construction in cooperation with NNSA, B&W Pantex and main construction contractor Kiewit Building Group.
Construction on HEPF is approximately 90 percent complete and is on schedule and under budget. When finished, the $65 million project will combine high explosives work from a half dozen older buildings – two dating back to World War II – into one state-of-the-art facility.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited the Z Pulsed Power Facility at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., yesterday. The tour was part of a broader visit to the national laboratory and Kirtland Air Force Base. While at Sandia, Secretary Hagel was provided with briefings and tours of several of the unique capabilities at the laboratory used to assist the Department of Defense in support of the national security mission.
About the photo:
Dr. Paul Hommert, Sandia President & Laboratories Director
Frank Kendall, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology & Logistics
Chuck Hagel, Secretary of Defense
Dr. Mark Herrmann, Director, Pulsed Power Sciences Center, Sandia National Laboratories
Madelyn Creedon, Assistant Secretary for Global Strategic Affairs
Andrew Weber, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear, Chemical & Biological Defense Programs
Warm coats, big thanks
As East Tennessee faces the coldest temperatures seen in a long while, Y-12ers have shown their volunteer spirit for the twelfth straight year by helping countless people stay warm thanks to another successful United Way Coat Drive to benefit the Volunteer Ministry Center. In total, the site donated 589 coats and winter wear items, 64 pairs of gloves, 47 scarves, and 66 hats and toboggans, which VMC makes available to the public through its Knoxville office.
In addition, this year’s efforts were expanded to include collection of toiletries for VMC. Y-12 collected more than 20 copy paper boxes full of soap, shampoo, conditioner, toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotions and many other necessities. With these hundreds of items, VMC was able to restock their supply closet for the winter.
The Volunteer Ministry Center was established in 1987 and offers specialized services to the homeless and those within our community who are in crisis. VMC’s programs support its two-fold mission of facilitating permanent supportive housing for those who are homeless and providing services to prevent homelessness.
About the photo:
Y-12 employees load some of the 589 coats from United Way drive that benefits Volunteer Ministry Center.
Four Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have been selected as 2013 fellows of the American Physical Society (APS). They include Charles Cerjan, Ian Thompson, Eric Schwegler and Marilyn Schneider.
APS fellowships are awarded after extensive review and are considered a distinct honor because the evaluation process, conducted by the fellowship committees of individual divisions, topical groups and forums, relies on nominations and recommendations by one's professional peers.
About the photo:
From left: Charles Cerjan, Ian Thompson, Eric Schwegler and Marilyn Schneider.
On Dec. 18-19, 2013, the United States hosted a visit by delegations from France and the United Kingdom to see experimental facilities at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) related to stockpile stewardship, arms control and nonproliferation. Discussions included technical issues associated with the goals identified in the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference Action Plan.
About the photo:
Policy and technical representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, and France visiting the U1a Underground Research Complex at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Nevada National Security Site.
Wireless networks have become commonplace in homes, restaurants and retail environments, but up until now, they have not been suitable for secure environments. That may be about to change.
NNSA’s Savannah River Tritium Enterprise (SRTE) has begun a year-long test using secure wireless technology in a tritium air monitoring system. The test is an important step in demonstrating the ability to reap the benefits of wireless technology in a secure environment, with potential for applications across the NNSA, other federal agencies and critical manufacturing facilities. The Savannah River National Laboratory designed and fabricated a prototype wireless Tritium Air Monitoring cart, funded by SRTE’s Plant-Directed Research and Development program. NNSA and its sites around the country could benefit greatly from the ability to use this type of wireless technology for radiation monitoring in nuclear facilities, where monitoring is essential for operating the equipment safely and protecting personnel. Advantages of wireless, compared to a wired system, include lower cost, greater reliability and freedom of movement.