NNSA BlogSandia radiation effects researcher Jim Schwank has won the 2014 IEEE Nuclear and Plasma Sciences Society Merit Award, which recognizes outstanding technical contributions to the fields of nuclear and plasma sciences.

The award is based on the importance of individual technical contributions, importance of technical contributions made by teams the individual led, quality and significance of publications and patents, years of technical distinction and leadership, and service in the fields of nuclear and plasma sciences and related disciplines.

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Jul 21, 2014 at 1:00 pm

NNSA this week showcased its twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter during the Health Physics Society’s annual meeting in Baltimore. The helicopter is equipped with gamma radiation sensing technology and used to measure naturally occurring background radiation at various locations throughout the country.

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Jul 16, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Thousands of employees at the Pantex Plant and the Y-12 National Security Complex came together recently to celebrate the formation of a new team joining the two sites under the leadership of Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC. Both sites’ luncheons and safety fairs delivered a strong emphasis on safety. Each employee received a CNS lanyard with the Pantex, Y-12 and CNS logos, along with the slogan “One Team, Better Together.”

CNS assumed responsibility for management and operations at Pantex and Y-12 on July 1 after a four-month transition process. The two sites will be operated jointly under a unique arrangement that will allow the new contractor to focus on its main priorities of safety, security, quality, mission delivery and cost efficiency.



Jul 15, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Hazardous devices teams from around the Southwest recently wrangled their bomb squad robots at the eighth annual Robot Rodeo at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Teams participated in various events and simulations including searching vehicles for explosive devices, recovery of a stolen weapon, navigating obstacle courses and dealing with suicide bombers.

See photos from the event here.

Watch a video of the 2012 Robot Rodeo at Los Alamos National Laboratory.


Jul 10, 2014 at 12:00 am

DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz visited Kansas City today just in time to pack the last crate at the Bannister Federal Complex, marking the final day of an 18-month  move to the National Security Campus eight miles south of the old facility. His crate was one of 30,000 packed since January 2013. In all, more than 3,000 truckloads transported thousands of pieces of equipment, some weighing as little as six ounces to a milling machine weighing 87,000 pounds. Later in the day, General Klotz thanked everyone who was involved in this massive effort at an all-hands meeting at the new facility. He congratulated them on completing 99.9 percent of their deliverables on time and on budget while completing one of the largest industrial moves in the country.


Jul 8, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Learning techniques to combat nuclear trafficking, touring the world’s first plutonium production reactor, and spending time analyzing radiation detection methods in a state-of-the-art underground laboratory are not opportunities available to most students. These are just a few of the activities that students recently participated in at the third annual Radiation Detection for Nuclear Security Summer School.             

Co-sponsored by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development, the program brought 13 graduate students from across the country to Richland, Wash., for hands-on training in detecting radiological signatures relevant to nuclear security. Participants engaged in interactive discussion and activities on a variety of technical, policy, and operational challenges, including the Fukushima incident response, NNSA’s technology-focused threat reduction program, and the nuclear fuel cycle.

The two-week course provides students with a unique understanding of nuclear security challenges and real-world constraints faced in the field. It is designed to expose them to the technical foundations, analysis and insight that will fuel future research and careers in nuclear security.

Shaping the future of nuclear detection
PNNL physicist Bob Runkle (middle) explains the nuances of neutron detection to physics students Matthew Michalak, Univ. of Wisconsin Madison, and Emily Jackson, Univ. of Massachusetts Lowell, during a testing exercise at PNNL’s Large Detector Laboratory.

Shaping the future of nuclear detection
2014 Radiation Detection for Nuclear Security Summer School students and instructors.

Jul 3, 2014 at 10:00 am

Every year, NNSA’s Pantex Plant uses thousands of pounds of paper that must be destroyed to protect sensitive information. For the vast majority of that paper, a trip through the shredder is not the end of its purpose, but only a beginning.

After spending a few weeks composting in a pile of feedlot waste, the paper goes on to help fertilize thousands of acres of crops across the Texas Panhandle and beyond, beneficially reusing a valuable resource and saving massive space in the landfill.

The idea to use waste paper for compost sprouted about 10 years ago when the Waste Ops Department was looking for a better outcome for the paper than burying it in the landfill. Traditional recycling was considered, but it can be expensive and difficult to find a recycler to take paper shredded as finely as security requirements at Pantex mandate.

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Pantex makes paper into compost

Pantex makes paper into compost

Jul 2, 2014 at 3:00 pm

NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security (NIS) received two awards from the National Association of Government Communicators (NAGC) Blue Pencil and Gold Screen Awards Competition. It received First Place in the External Newsletter category and an Award of Excellence in the Annual Report category for its FY 2012 report.

The NAGC Blue Pencil & Gold Screen Awards Competition salutes superior communication efforts of government agencies and recognizes the people who create the products. Blue Pencil Award categories are designed for writing, editing, photography, and published products such as magazines, books, newsletters and other materials. Gold Screen Award categories recognize audiovisual and multimedia products, including broadcast and internet‐based products.

All entries were judged by a team of professional communicators based on criteria including the purpose, target audience, writing, design, cost effectiveness, and determination of success.

Read more about the event here.

Read more about the competition here.


Jul 2, 2014 at 12:00 pm


B&W Y‑12 employee and tour guide Bill Wilburn, left, chats with Teresa Neas, and her husband Kim, whose mother, Audeane Bowers-Neas, worked at Y‑12 in the 1940s. Tours of Y‑12 on June 13 brought almost 500 visitors. Tourists from 23 states and the District of Columbia toured the site as part of Oak Ridge’s 12th annual Secret City Festival. Photo by Scott Fraker


Former Y-12 employee James Spicer points out the various ID badges used at the site during its 70-year history to his grandson Matthew Sellers. Spicer and Sellers joined almost 500 visitors who toured Y-12 as part of the Secret City Festival. Y-12 has been giving tours of the site for almost 10 years with guests traveling from all over the world to see a piece of history and learn how the site still is ensuring our country’s security. Photo by Scott Fraker

Jun 25, 2014 at 3:00 pm

To improve efficiency across the nuclear security enterprise, NNSA recently transferred the mission assignment of several product families from Sandia National Laboratories to the Kansas City Plant. The mission reassignment better aligns responsibilities with each site’s core competencies and will leverage Kansas City’s Supply Chain Management systems and tools.

Leaders from both organizations were at the National Security Campus in Kansas City on June 24 to sign the transfer agreement and finalize the details.

The Production Agency mission transfer includes Frequency Devices, Power Assemblies, Magnetics and certain Custom Pulse Discharge Capacitors. There will be no change in production agency mission assignment for all other Sandia External Production (SEP) product families: Switch Tubes, Electronics Packaging, Power Sources and Explosive Devices.

Pictured left to right: Steve Goodrum, NNSA Asst. Deputy Administrator of Stockpile Management; Chris Gentile, Honeywell FM&T President; Paul Hommert, Sandia Director

NNSA authorizes mission assignment transfer to Kansas City Plant

Jun 25, 2014 at 1:00 pm