NNSA Blog

 Pantex demonstrates ‘What’s the Matter’

Pantex scientists Barry Hill, left, and Matt Reyes demonstrate the properties of matter to a group of fifth graders at a recent Windows on a Wider World event at the Don Harrington Discover Center in Amarillo. Hill and Reyes, who both work in the Explosives Technology Division at Pantex, put on the “What’s the Matter” demonstration using liquid nitrogen to freeze a variety of items – including balloons, a banana and a racquetball – to demonstrate the different properties of matter and how they can be changed.

B&W Pantex supports a variety of educational outreach events throughout the year in an effort to foster an interest in science and math among students in the Texas Panhandle.

Dec 11, 2013 at 12:00 pm

President Barack Obama in Prague, Czech Republic April 5, 2009“Today I am announcing a new international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world within four years. We will set new standards, expand our cooperation with Russia, pursue new partnerships to lock down these sensitive materials.”

- President Barack Obama
Prague, Czech Republic April 5, 2009

As President Obama’s Four-Year Effort comes to a close this month, NNSA is highlighting the work carried out by its nonproliferation programs to reduce the threat of vulnerable nuclear material around the world. In support of the Four-Year Effort, NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) led the effort to secure and, when possible, eliminate these dangerous materials. Working at civilian sites in more than 100 countries, GTRI executes its mission by converting research reactors and isotope production facilities from using HEU to using low-enriched uranium (LEU) fuel/targets, removing and/ or dispositioning excess nuclear and radiological materials, and protecting nuclear and radiological materials from theft. As such, GTRI was at the forefront of implementing the Four-Year Effort.

Under the effort, GTRI accomplished the following major tasks:

  • Removed and/or dispositioned nearly 3,000 kilograms of HEU and plutonium, bringing the lifetime total to more than 5,060 kilograms—enough material to produce more than 200 nuclear weapons.
  • Removed all HEU material from 11 countries plus Taiwan, bringing the lifetime total to 27 locations: Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Chile, Colombia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Iraq, Latvia, Libya, Mexico, Philippines, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, and Vietnam.
  • Secured more than 10 metric tons of HEU and 3 metric tons of weapons-grade plutonium from Kazakhstan’s BN-350 reactor and transferred the material to long-term storage.

Click here to read highlights of GTRI’s contributions to President Obama’s Four-Year Effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world. See which countries and areas have had HEU or plutonium removed and secured by GTRI with this interactive map.

Dec 9, 2013 at 11:00 am

By Ben Dotson, Project Coordinator for Digital Reform, DOE Public Affairs

 National Security & Public Safety at the National Labs

For more than 60 years, the Energy Department's National Labs have played a crucial role in the national security of the United States. Founded during the immense investment in scientific research and technical innovation in the period preceding World War II, the National Labs conduct cutting edge research in a diverse variety of fields, advancing the safety and security of the American public. This month on energy.gov, we're highlighting that great work -- from cybersecurity to robotics and beyond.

One of the key missions of the Energy Department is guaranteeing the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. At Los Alamos National Laboratory, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories, scientists develop and employ the tools, technologies and high performance computing resources necessary to support the stockpile stewardship program.

The National Labs also support U.S. national security in other equally important ways. Argonne National Lab has helped local and state governments develop emergency plans, run drills for pandemic outbreaks, and analyzed ways to enhance security at plants and factories across the country. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers study counterterrorism and the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. They have developed a first-of-its-kind framework for major metropolitan areas that covers natural threats and the long term complications arising from biological, chemical and radiological incidents. Scientists and researchers at Idaho National Laboratory have developed a new flash x-ray system that can reveal how a projectile or weapon interacts with armor at the moment of impact.

The national security and public safety work performed at the labs has been recognized with a number of R&D 100 awards, the "Oscars of Innovation." Throughout the month of December, keep checking energy.gov as we feature the National Labs and their innovative work supporting U.S. national security and public safety. To learn more about the National Labs, visit energy.gov/labs.

Originally posted on energy.gov.

Dec 6, 2013 at 4:00 pm

IPRO logo

A new planning tool that minimizes required on-hand inventory, while ensuring that the right product with the right quality is delivered at the right time, has been implemented at Pantex. The NNSA Integrated Production Planning and Execution System (IPRO) was delivered seven months ahead of schedule and approximately $8 million below projected cost.

Pantex developed and deployed IPRO to modernize its Enterprise Resource Planning tool system and reduce cost while improving operational visibility and inventory accuracy. IPRO provides a major hardware and software system upgrade that integrates management of mission critical functions.

The program not only replaces software management systems dating back nearly 25 years, it provides a portable, customizable and flexible ERP solution to sustain the ever-evolving electronic workplace.

See more.

Dec 5, 2013 at 11:00 am

Dr. Kevin Greenaugh, Deputy Assistant Deputy Administrator for NNSA’s Office of Stockpile Management, recently received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Mercer University.

The award is presented to an alum who has served his/her profession in an outstanding manner, serving as an excellent representative of Mercer University in the process. Recipients are recognized for their exceptional service to humanity and dedication, ideals fostered at Mercer University.

Last year's recipient was Nancy Grace of CNN's Nancy Grace Show.

Read more.

About the photo:
Mercer University President William D. Underwood presents Kevin Greenaugh with the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Kevin Greenaugh receives Distinguished Alumnus Award from Mercer University

Dec 4, 2013 at 10:00 am

For the tenth consecutive year, Y‑12 received the National Safety Council’s Occupational Excellence Achievement award. The award recognizes companies, units or facilities with no fatalities during a calendar year and 50 percent or fewer reported lost-time injuries and illnesses than the Bureau of Labor Statistics rating for their industry.

The second award received was the U.S. Department of Energy Voluntary Protection Program Star of Excellence. As the award states, employees have “achieved an outstanding level of performance in meeting established safety and health goals, actively conducting outreach to others and in achieving an injury and illness rate significantly below the average of similar businesses and operations.”

Read more.

Dec 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm

In early November, medical isotope producers met with nuclear explosion monitoring experts at a workshop to improve the effectiveness of the International Monitoring System (IMS). The IMS uses radioactive isotope emissions to detect if a nuclear weapons test has taken place. Unfortunately, not everything that emits radioactive isotopes is a nuclear test. The production of medical isotopes like molybdenum-99 (Mo-99), for example, can result in emissions of xenon isotopes that the IMS interprets as potential nuclear tests. Minimizing these false positives is essential to the effectiveness of the IMS.

The fourth Workshop on Signatures of Medical and Industrial Isotope Production was a great success. Scientists from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) co-organized the workshop with the Preporatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), and helped produce “Zeroing in on Xenon,” a video that explains the effects of xenon isotope emissions. NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security and the CTBTO are working with Mo-99 producers worldwide to reduce emissions.

This year, four additional producers signed a pledge to collaborate and address the problem, including Coquí RadioPharmaceuticals, this first U.S.-based potential Mo-99 producer to sign the pledge. Other U.S. firms that attended were SHINE Medical Technologies and NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, which are working with NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) to establish a domestic supply of Mo-99 without using highly enriched uranium (HEU).

PNNL experts, supported by NNSA and the Departments of State and Defense, will continue to work with the CTBTO and medical isotope producers to minimize radioxenon emissions in order to enhance the effectiveness of the IMS.

About the photo: The five current or potential Mo-99 producers that have signed a pledge to collaborate with the CTBTO.  Photo courtesy CTBTO.

Reducing emissions to improve nuclear test detection

From left:  In-Cheol Lim, Vice President of the Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute (KAERI); Carmen Irene Bigles, CEO of Coquí RadioPharmaceuticals; Lassina Zerbo, CTBTO Executive Secretary; Yudiutomo Imardjoko Bernadib, President Director of PT Batan Teknologi; Emmy Hoffmann, the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation’s (ANSTO) Manager of Nuclear Assurance Services; Benoit Deconninck from the Institute for Radioelements (IRE)

Nov 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm

What do better batteries, reducing fuel consumption, improved cancer treatment, and making metals corrosion and heat resistant have to do with nonproliferation? NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security promotes innovative solutions to global, regional and national security challenges, while at the same time advancing science best practices and applying cutting-edge science to support security policy priorities. NIS supports collaborative R&D projects that draw on expertise from both industry and U.S. national labs.

Recent projects include:

  • The Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology in Ukraine, in partnership with Brookhaven National Lab and GM, developed thermal management systems for Lithium-Ion batteries, extending battery life and output in mobile devices and electric cars.
  • The Russian Institute of High Current Electronics, in partnership with Los Alamos National Laboratory and Leonardo Technologies Inc., developed a highly efficient plasma-torch combustion systemreducing fuel consumption and combustion pollutants.
  • The Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology (KIPT) in Ukraine, in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) and Alphamed Inc., developed a new method for the production of radioisotope copper-67, allowing it to be produced at a scale and proximity useful to U.S. hospitals and cancer treatment centers.
  • The Sukhumi Institute of Physics in the Republic of Georgia recently completed a project with DOE’sKansas City Plant to develop an aluminum-based corrosion and heat resistant coating for various metals.  Currently, most corrosion-proofing methods require increasingly scarce minerals like zinc, nickel and chromium, making abundant aluminum a financially and strategically preferable choice.

 Additional project information: http://nnsa.energy.gov/content/greenweek2011

About the photo: Plasma-torch combustion system at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.


International R&D Collaboration Develops Solutions to Global Challenges

Nov 26, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Employees at the Savannah River Site have combined fun with athletic competition for the third annual “Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes” relay race, which raises thousands of dollars each year for the Savannah River Site’s annual Toys for Tots campaign.

The fun is profitable enough to raise a significant amount of money to surprise local children on Christmas day with a new bike or tricycle.  More than 100 underprivileged children had a wonderful Christmas last year due to the $6,000 that was raised.

This year the Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes race, with a field of ten teams, raised $7,600, enough to buy about 25 additional bikes and trikes over last year’s numbers.

About the photo:
The first heat of runners takes off, toy batons in hand, during this year's SRNS “Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes” relay race at SRS. More than $7,600 was raised and will be contributed to the annual SRS Toys for Tots campaign.

Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes

Nov 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm

More than 86 Y‑12 employees and family members participated at this year’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night walk, held recently at the University of Tennessee. The B&W Y‑12 team, recognized as the largest corporate team at the event, raised more than $20,000. Participating in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk funds therapies and treatment advances for blood cancer patients.

Y-12 team raises more than $20,000 for Light the Night event

Nov 25, 2013 at 4:00 pm