NNSA BlogTeams from 17 area Texas schools competed for a regional title Saturday at the Pantex Middle School Science Bowl at West Texas A&M University (WTAMU). In the end, two of the Bonham Middle school’s three teams met in the final round with the White team taking first place. The winning team and their coach will receive an all-expenses paid trip to DOE’s National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C., in April and $1,000 for the school’s science program. The Bonham Blue team will receive $500, and Bushland Middle School Gold team earned $250 for third place. Panhandle Junior High School won the Sportsmanship Award. The event was sponsored by Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC. CNS will also sponsor a high school Science Bowl Feb. 21 at WTAMU.

Feb 12, 2015 at 4:00 pm

NNSA BlogA Congressional delegation, comprised of Congressmen Mike Rogers, Rick Larsen, Doug Lamborn from the House Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Chuck Fleischmann of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, visited the Naval Reactors Facility (NRF) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The legislators were accompanied byDr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Deputy Secretary of Energy; Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz (ret.), DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator; and Admiral John Richardson, Deputy Administrator, Office of Naval Reactors.

The group observed NRF processes at the Expended Core Facility (ECF). This facility is vital to national security, as it is the only location with the capability to receive, examine, and process naval spent nuclear fuel, necessary for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program to support continuous, day-to-day operations of the Navy’s nuclear powered fleet.

The 55-year-old ECF is maintained and operated in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, but the facility must be recapitalized to ensure continuous and efficient support of the fleet. It currently cannot support receipt of full-length aircraft carrier spent nuclear fuel, necessary to support the Navy’s refueling and defueling schedules for nuclear powered submarine and aircraft carriers. 

The delegation discussed the Spent Fuel Handling Recapitalization Project (SFHP), designed to recapitalize the spent fuel handling infrastructure at NRF for receipt, preparation, temporary storage, and packaging of naval spent nuclear fuel for secure dry storage and eventual shipment to a geologic repository. This project will retain the capabilities for naval spent nuclear fuel handling that currently exists in the ECF and its support facilities. The SFHP will help guarantee the operational availability of the nuclear fleet to fulfill military missions worldwide.

Additionally, the group received briefings on the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation work conducted at INL. The lab provides facilities and capabilities that are vital to the nonproliferation mission.  The complex provides substantial resources and technical expertise to help achieve highly enriched uranium minimization both domestically and abroad and continues to play a critical role in DNN’s efforts to strengthen cyber security activities at nuclear facilities and installations. NNSA provides 23 percent of the total INL budget.

Feb 9, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Mary Ann Fresco, Senior Advisor to NNSA’s Management and Business Office (NA-MB), was recently recognized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for her contributions to creating and fostering inclusive diversity in the federal government.

She recently participated in an interagency detail to OPM where she led change and influenced the path forward in executing the President’s Executive Order 13583- Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce.

Her leadership has proven instrumental in influencing, addressing, and impacting federal policy in furthering the strategic objectives of the entire federal government.  She led OPM’s external initiative by partnering, collaborating and networking with more than 60 agencies, four Dodd-Frank agencies, and more than 51 stakeholders. Face-to-face interaction with federal agencies allowed her to gain government-wide knowledge on how to effectively change organizational cultures, to improve workforce morale with progressive management practices, and to dismantle silos and boundaries within organizations and across the federal government.

More recently, she served as an effective executive facilitator leading the 2015 Update of the Government-wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. She has proven to be a driver of both employee engagement and workplace transformation by laying the foundation necessary to integrate diversity and inclusion throughout the federal government.

Mary Ann continues to serve as the federal government lead with the University of Southern California to advance the scientific foundation of diversity and inclusion research as it relates to workforce engagement. The success of her efforts government-wide produced innovative, high-impact strategies and developed new solutions to complex challenges.

NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
OPM Director Katherine Archuleta presents Mary Ann Fresco with an award for her contributions to creating and fostering inclusive diversity in the federal government.

Feb 5, 2015 at 3:00 pm

NNSA BlogIt’s amazing what can be accomplished when the government, contractors and academia come together for a great cause.

The Kansas City Engineering Zone, which officially opened last week, is a great example of community partnership to ensure urban students have a safe place and the resources to compete in the upcoming FIRST Robotics competition in March.

NNSA donated surplus machining equipment from the Bannister location to ensure high school students from Kansas City’s inner city schools have access to the equipment to participate in STEM activities, including FIRST Robotics.

KC EZ was pioneered by the KC STEM Alliance, a collaborative network of educators, business partners and affiliates that inspires interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math careers.

Feb 3, 2015 at 2:24 pm

Consolidated Nuclear Security’s donation of $25,000 to the Helen Ross McNabb Center’s Veterans Housing Project served as one of the final building blocks in the $1.83-million effort to provide permanent housing to homeless veterans who have mental illnesses. Late last year, the ribbon was cut on the first apartment building, and the first four homeless veterans moved into their new homes in time to celebrate Christmas.

The CNS donation helped fund the newly constructed Cedar Crossing apartment building in Knoxville, Tenn., which provides eight one-bedroom units. The second phase of the project is rehabilitating a former apartment complex that will provide another 15 apartment homes.

CNS assumed responsibility for management and operations at the Pantex Plant and the Y-12 National Security Complex last summer.

Read more.

About the photo:
This eight-unit apartment building in Knoxville, Tenn., was built to house homeless veterans who have mental illness or a behavioral health disability. 

Jan 28, 2015 at 4:00 pm

NNSA BlogSr. Quality Engineer Brenette Wilder and Lead Project Engineer Dwight Drake from NNSA’s National Security Campus in Kansas City, Mo, were among seven individuals recently recognized as the 2015 Black Achiever’s Society Honorees. They were chosen for their educational, social and economic contributions to the community. 

The two join nearly 500 African American businessmen and women in the Black Achiever’s Society who were nominated by their employers over the past 40 years as exemplary leaders in their corporate roles as well as their involvement in the community.

Wilder, a 17-year NSC veteran, serves the local community in a multitude of ways. Her main focus is the Kansas City Teen Summit, an organization she founded in 2005, with the mission to help teens and battered women.

Throughout Drake’s 31-year tenure at the NSC, he has been a wealth of knowledge for his colleagues and has been called on countless times to lead teams and activities to improve business results. He leads projects tied to recent transformation and mentors employees seeking LEAN, Six Sigma or Project Management Professional certifications.

Jan 26, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Carol Sohn is the new Deputy Manager for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Nevada Field Office. 

Ms. Sohn has an extensive background in nuclear safety analysis and nuclear materials processing.  Ms. Sohn obtained her BS in Chemical Engineering from Purdue University.  She also completed her Masters of Science in Management from the Purdue Krannert School. 

Prior to joining the Nevada Field Office Ms. Sohn served on assignment to the Office of Science as their Senior Nuclear Safety Advisor responsible for establishing nuclear safety policy, safety culture monitoring, interface with the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board and overseeing nuclear safety operations for the Office of Science.  She recently served on a detail to NNSA as the Acting Deputy Manager for the Nevada Field Office where she made gained valuable insight of the missions under the purview of the Field Office and used her experience to help drive key improvements in operations conducted at the Nevada National Security Site.  Other notable achievements include receipt of a Secretarial Award of Excellence for her contribution to the Argonne National Laboratory Nuclear Footprint Reduction, and identification of significant nuclear safety and conduct of operations issues at New Brunswick Laboratory in 2014 that resulted in a major overhaul of management, oversight of the facility, and conduct of operations leading to improved operations of the laboratory. 

Her career started at Los Alamos National Laboratory working in plutonium processing at Technical Area 55.  In 1995 she became a DOE employee with the Richland Operations office.  In 1999, Ms. Sohn transferred to the DOE-Oakland Operations office as their Senior Nuclear Safety Advisor for oversight of the nuclear facilities at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Ms. Sohn transferred to Pacific Northwest National Laboratories in 2006 and helped revise the Preliminary Hazards Analysis for the Capabilities Replacement Laboratory.  Following this task she served on assignment to the Office of Science as the Office of Science Senior Nuclear Safety Advisor. 

At the Nevada Field Office Ms. Sohn will be responsible for providing executive leadership and mentoring in operational oversight to a diverse set of technical and professional employees responsible for overseeing a wide range of national security missions.  Key emphasis areas will include continued improvement in performance oversight, operational excellence, and cultural improvements.

The Nevada Field Office is responsible for the Nevada National Security Site and its national security work. 

Jan 23, 2015 at 2:41 pm

NNSA BlogMichael Duvall has been selected as the new deputy manager for the NNSA Sandia Field Office.

Duvall joined the NNSA in 2012 and most recently served as the acting deputy manager and chief operating officer for the Los Alamos Field Office. In addition to his position as chief operating officer, he was also responsible for the performance evaluation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s management and operating contractor. Prior to his detail as acting deputy manager, Duvall served as assistant manager of Safeguards and Security for the Los Alamos Field Office where he was responsible for federal oversight for physical security, emergency management, information systems and cyber security activities at LANL.

In 2011, Duvall served as the secretary of the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management overseeing and coordinating the state’s efforts for the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery for all hazards, disasters, emergencies and terrorist acts.

Duvall retired from the U.S. Air Force in 2010 as a colonel after 26 years of military service. He was commander of the 377th Air Base Wing, Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. As base commander, he was responsible for security, emergency management and support operations for the installation that included Sandia National Laboratories.

Duvall graduated from the U.S. Air Force Academy with academic and military honors. His flying assignments included duties as an F-4 pilot, F-15E instructor pilot and an instructor at the U.S. Air Force Weapons School. He accumulated more than 3,300 flying hours and was awarded a distinguished flying cross for flying operations in Desert Storm. Duvall was also awarded a bronze star for his role as a vice wing commander in Afghanistan. In addition to multiple flying and command assignments, he served as an air operations planner and analyst at the Pentagon. Duvall holds Master’s degrees in Strategic Studies from Air University and Military History from the University of Alabama.

Jan 20, 2015 at 1:00 pm

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) hosted a roundtable today with 13 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to discuss new funding that will strengthen American cybersecurity expertise.

A five-year, $25M grant will support a partnership between the HBCUs, Charleston County School District, and two NNSA laboratories; Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory in California and New Mexico. Vice President Biden and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz highlighted DOE/NNSA’s Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline Consortium at a Norfolk State University ceremony on Thursday of this week.


“This undertaking by NNSA is an important investment in the future,” said DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz. “It will help ensure a sustainable pipeline of cybersecurity experts to protect the information systems that are a critical part of our Nation’s nuclear security infrastructure.”

The cybersecurity consortium was established by DOE/NNSA’s Minority Serving Institutions Partnerships Program (MSIPP), and allows participating schools to open doors to DOE sites and facilities to student members of the consortium. The partnership will strengthen & expand MSI institutional capacity and research in DOE/NNSA missions and increase participation of MSI faculty in DOE/NNSA activities; such as collaborative research, technical workshops, expert panel reviews/studies, and competitive processes, as well as drawing DOE scientists and engineers into the MSIs for curriculum development, teaching, mentoring and research.

The 13 HBCUs will receive the first allocation of the $25 million award in FY2015. The grants will help NNSA to institute a partnership with the next generation of future leaders and increase the number of minority students pursuing cyber security careers, and support NNSA in meeting its cyber security demands.  The grants will also help to attract minority graduates for employment within NNSA laboratories and plants. 


Jan 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm

Working at temperatures matching the interior of the sun, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine have been able to determine experimentally iron’s role in inhibiting energy transmission from the center of the sun to near the edge of its radiative band.

Sandia’s Z machine creates the temperature of the sun’s interior —about 2.1 million degrees —in a target about the size of a grain of sand. From that small sample, Sandia researchers can do what theorists cannot: hold in a hand tangible evidence for the way iron atoms behave inside stars.

Read more.

NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
Physicist Jim Bailey of Sandia National Laboratories observes a wire array that will heat foam to roughly 4 million degrees until it emits a burst of X-rays that heats a foil target to the interior conditions of the sun.

Jan 15, 2015 at 10:00 am