NNSA Blog

B&W Pantex continued its remarkable safety record in 2013, once again receiving honors from the Department of Energy Voluntary Protection Program (DOE VPP).

For the second year in a row, DOE awarded B&W Pantex the VPP Star of Excellence for its safety performance, singling out the plant as one of the top safety performers within the DOE. This is the fourth year Pantex has been honored by the VPP.

Read more.

 Pantex once again awarded Star of Excellence for outstanding safety record

Sep 12, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Employees of the NNSA Production Office (NPO) have donated 17,348 pounds of food as part of the annual U.S. Department of Energy’s “Feds Feed Families” campaign. The campaign, which ended on Sept. 6, surpassed the goal of 17,000 pounds.

The NPO donations are supporting the efforts of the High Plains Food Bank, Amarillo, Texas, and the Second Harvest Food Bank, Maryville, Tenn.

The Feds Feed Families campaign is a voluntary effort undertaken by federal employees across the country to provide non-perishable food items to local food banks. Since the start of this effort five years ago, federal employees have donated more than 15 million pounds of food to support families across America.

NNSA Production Office tops Feds Feed Families campaign goal

NNSA Production Office tops Feds Feed Families campaign goal

Sep 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

Members of the Aspiring Mid-Career Professionals (AMP) at the Savannah River Site took to the streets to clean up a roadway near SRS as part of their commitment to the local community.

AMP’s Outreach Committee chose the Adopt-a-Highway program as one of its activities for the year, selecting a 2-mile stretch of road beginning just outside the SRS barricade. Seventeen volunteer members gathered and, after the distribution of reflective safety vests and protective gloves, filled 13 bags with the litter they found by the road. As adopter of this stretch of road, AMP will conduct pickup days twice a year.

The stretch of Atomic Road was chosen because it's right at the site boundary and is what people first see as they approach the site.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions launched AMP in April of this year to provide mid-career professionals – those with five to twenty years of work experience – a forum for professional networking and opportunities for career growth and development.

About the photos:
Aspiring Mid-Career Professionals members receive cleanup tools, helpful materials, reflective vests and a safety briefing prior to beginning work.

Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Aspiring Mid-Career Professionals members clear debris from Atomic Road near the Savannah River Site boundary.

 Aspiring SRS professionals adopt, clean up road

Aspiring SRS professionals adopt, clean up road

Sep 11, 2013 at 10:00 am

Leigh Outten, Y-12 Legal intern, is something of a degree collector. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering; two master’s degrees from MIT — one in nuclear engineering, the other in technology and policy; and an MBA from a French school. Now she’s in her third year of UT’s law program. What does one do with such a wide array of degrees?

Outten said her dream is to work at the International Atomic Energy Agency, and she thinks the laws associated with the handling of nuclear materials are really interesting.

Thanks to the Y-12/UT Field Placement Program, a unique collaboration between Y-12 and the University of Tennessee College of Law, she was able to find a setting that puts each of her unique educational experiences to use.

Y-12 Lawyer Chuck Young, who’s also an adjunct professor at UT’s law school, says the program offers students experience with things they can’t get elsewhere. A good example is the Federal Acquisition Regulation, a massive book governing the ways federal entities and often their contractors, like B&W Y-12, conduct their business and procurement operations. It details everything from how to plan for and solicit an acquisition to how the resultant bids are evaluated.

Young says he’d been practicing law for 15 years before coming to Y-12 and is still learning about the FAR. He also estimates that fewer than two dozen practicing attorneys in the Knoxville legal community understand them. He said that for a second-year law student to be exposed to things that some lawyers never encounter is a huge advantage.

The Field Placement Program is designed to give students a unique internship opportunity centered on the contractual, commercialization and compliance activities that take place at a federal site like Y-12. That includes work on numerous technology transfer initiatives, patent applications and other site-wide efforts to commercialize Y-12 innovations.

For Outten, the internship is an opportunity to work toward her IAEA dream. Young says the program not only gives law students experience in the federal complex, but Y-12 is putting more people out into the world who understand what we do, and that ultimately benefits NNSA as a whole.

About the photo:
Y-12 lawyer Chuck Young discusses the Federal Acquisition Regulation with intern Leigh Outten

Y-12 lawyer Chuck Young talks with intern Leigh Outten.

Sep 10, 2013 at 11:00 am

Y-12 recently collected thousands of individual items for Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties’ annual school supply drive as part of the United Way Days of Caring drive. The total includes more than 230 boxes of crayons and markers, 320 notebooks, 300 glue sticks, and 220 packs of pens and pencils. Employees also donated more than $2,500.

After being counted and sorted on-site, the supplies were delivered to ADFAC, where they were made available to qualifying area students. The program has served more than 20,000 disadvantaged students since it began in 1989, including more than 1,900 K–12 students this year alone.

About the photo:
From left to right: Y-12 employees Stacy DeMonbrun, Judy Allen, Stacy Cotton, Dana Davis, Becky Hook (ADFAC), Janie Hoard, Susan Beckham, Telesa Kaye Weaver, and John Fellers deliver school supplies to ADFAC. Photo by Scott Fraker

Y-12 collects back to school supplies

Sep 10, 2013 at 10:00 am

Pantex firefighters flush water from a fire hydrant at the Plant this week. Each of the 250 hydrants on the Plant are flushed and tested annually to ensure they function properly and flow enough water to provide fire protection capabilities at Pantex.

 NNSA Blog

NNSA Blog

Sep 10, 2013 at 10:00 am

The Savannah River Tritium Enterprise took advantage of a recent multi-week outage to safely complete a complicated array of tasks.

During the long-planned outage to start up the replacement to the Automated Reservoir Management System (ARMS), SRTE took advantage of the shut-down conditions to perform an assortment of needed upgrades, replacements and maintenance in the Tritium Facilities without impact to operations. Through careful attention, making use of a “War Room” approach that provided central coordination of all the tasks, SRTE personnel completed the complex ballet of simultaneous work with zero injuries.

SRTE's last injury requiring time away from work was back in 2008. That's more than four million safe work hours.

The careful use of good radiological practices meant that the work was also completed without employees receiving any radiation dose and without allowing the escape of contamination. For one major task, which involved opening a glovebox designed to isolate contaminated items, a large containment hut was placed around the glovebox, which effectively controlled contamination. Employees made almost 300 entries into the hut, wearing plastic suits for protection against airborne exposure, receiving no dose.

About the photo:
Savannah River Nuclear Solutions President and CEO Dwayne Wilson congratulates Savannah River Tritium Enterprise employees on the safe completion of the ARMS Outage.

Savannah River maintains safety focus through multiple tasks

Sep 6, 2013 at 11:00 am

Members of the Savannah River Tritium Enterprise's Fire Protection department have taken their expertise out into the local community, joining with other members of the local Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE) to install a new sprinkler system in the sleeping quarters of a local fire station.

The Silver Bluff Volunteer Fire Department station in rural Aiken County, S.C., was destroyed by a tornado in 2009. One of the last steps in the long rebuilding effort was to design and install a new fire protection sprinkler system in the area where on-call firefighters sleep. The Central Savannah River Area (CSRA) chapter of SFPE adopted the project as one of their volunteer activities, and spent two Saturdays installing the new equipment.

The Silver Bluff Volunteer Fire Department is a 100 percent volunteer department that serves 4,000 people. The CSRA Chapter of SFPE includes fire protection engineers from the Savannah River Site contractors Savannah River Nuclear Solutions and Savannah River Remediation, as well as other engineering firms from the local area.

About the photo:
Don Shelley and Eric Johnson, both of SRNS Savannah River Tritium  Enterprise, install a sprinkler system at the Silver Bluff Fire Station. Johnson is incoming president of the CSRA Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers.

 Savannah River Site Fire Protection engineers work in the community

Sep 6, 2013 at 10:00 am

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz visited Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories this week. While in Los Alamos, he visited LANL and the new biological laboratory built by the New Mexico Consortium to explore alternative fuel sources from algae and other plants. Secretary Moniz said that Los Alamos and all the DOE labs have a major role in addressing two key initiatives of the President. While at Sandia, Moniz held a meeting with labs staff and saw presentations from researchers showcasing Sandia technology in topics ranging from solar and photovoltaics, to energy and climate.

About the photos:
(top) Dick Sayre, left, of Los Alamos National Laboratory's Bioscience Division and the New Mexico Consortium, briefs DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology President Daniel Lopez, New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan and Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan Tuesday at the New Mexico Consortium biological laboratory.
(bottom) Mark Taylor, Lead Developer for Numerical Analysis & Applications at Sandia, gives a presentation to Sandia President & Laboratories Director Paul Hommert, Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry, New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, DOE Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Jill Hruby, Vice President, Energy, Nonproliferation & High Consequence Security and the International, Homeland & Nuclear Security Mission).

Energy Secretary Moniz visits Los Alamos, Sandia labs

Energy Secretary Moniz visits Los Alamos, Sandia labs

Sep 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm

DOE and NNSA employees still have the opportunity to participate in DOE’s Feeds Families campaign. The deadline for the campaign has been extended through Friday, Sept. 6. The goal is to collect more than 212,000 pounds of non-perishable items.

Employees can drop off non-perishable items in boxes located throughout the Forrestal, Germantown and L’Enfant buildings or at field offices. Collected items will be donated to local food banks and distributed to those in need.

DOE Feeds Families campaign extended through Friday, Sept. 6

DOE Feeds Families campaign extended through Friday, Sept. 6

Sep 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm