Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory scientists have created a new method for detecting and analyzing fission chains to assess and evaluate nuclear material.
The powerful mathematical tools enable the team to detect, analyze and assess unknown objects containing fissionable material in a wide range of applications, from safeguards and border security, to arms control and counterterrorism. The research appears in a recent edition of the journalNuclear Science and Engineering.
Special nuclear materials (SNM) -- highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium 239 -- are unique among radioactive materials in sustaining neutron-induced fission chain reactions. Only SNM naturally create self-perpetuating fission chain reactions and in turn emit bursts of many neutrons and gamma rays.
Their new methods are designed to exploit the burst timing pattern of neutrons and gamma rays emitted by fission chains in HEU and plutonium. One of the goals is to determine the mass and geometric properties of the unknown material and its configurations.
NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz, Dr. Steve Aoki, and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz.
It is with mixed emotions that we announce the retirement of Dr. Steve Aoki, Associate Administrator for Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation. Steve officially retired on December 31st after 33 years of Federal service. He served his country at the State Department and the National Security Council, and helped stand up NNSA in 2000. Steve is a valued colleague and a dedicated public servant who will be greatly missed. He made many significant contributions to the public welfare and advanced the national security throughout his distinguished career.
In accordance with NNSA’s succession policy, Jay Tilden will serve as Acting Associate Administrator for Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation. Jay has supported nuclear counterterrorism and incident response at DOE since 1996, and joined NNSA eight years ago as the Intelligence and Security Advisor to the Deputy Under Secretary of Energy for Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation. He has served as the Deputy Associate Administrator for Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation since 2012. Dave Bowman will fill in as the Acting Deputy Associate Administrator. We have extraordinary confidence and trust in both Jay and Dave.
We wish Steve well on his future endeavors, and welcome Jay and Dave to their new roles.
Frank Klotz and Madelyn Creedon
“Mission First, People Always”
This integrated system would store carbon dioxide in an underground reservoir, with concentric rings of horizontal wells confining the pressurized CO2 beneath the caprock. Stored CO2 displaces brine that flows up wells to the surface where it is heated by thermal plants (e.g., solar farms) and reinjected into the reservoir to store thermal energy.
Researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and its partners think they’ve found an answer to storing energy when the wind doesn't blow and the sun isn't shining.
The team’s paper, published in the December issue of Mechanical Engineering magazine, describes a subsurface energy system that could tap geothermal energy, store energy from above-ground sources, and dispatch it to the grid throughout the year like a massive underground battery, while at the same time storing CO2 from fossil-fuel power plants.
About 50 local business leaders made the second of their two annual trips out to Pantex recently, getting the chance to go tour the plant that remains a mystery for some many local residents.
The organization that arranged for the trip, Leadership Amarillo and Canyon, has been going strong for almost 40 years, providing tours of businesses and industries throughout the region for 10 months out of the year.
They kicked off the tour hearing from Pantex Site Manager Michelle Reichert followed by the history of the plant by Interim Historian Monty Schoenhals. Then the group loaded up in their tour bus and drove over to a replica of the first atomic bomb, dubbed “Fat Man,” where they got a group picture.
From left: Brad Mattie, Bill Collins, Chris Byrd, Gary Guge and Jake Thompson were instrumental in protecting Y‑12 water quality.
Y‑12 recently received two awards at the 33rd Annual Tennessee Chamber of Commerce and Industry Environment and Energy Conference. Representatives from Y‑12’s Infrastructure and Environmental Compliance groups accepted the awards at the ceremony held at Montgomery Bell State Park.
Y‑12 received the following awards for businesses with more than 250 employees: Water Quality Award and Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Award.
The Water Quality Award recognized Y‑12’s reduced water usage and improved water quality. The Solid and Hazardous Waste Management Award, recognized the Uranium Processing Facility for its sustainable practices. UPF has diverted more than 74 million pounds of material from landfill disposal in FY 2015 and more than 89 million pounds since FY 2013.
Read more about these awards on the Y-12 website.
Two NNSA supercomputers—Trinity and Sequoia—are among the top six systems in the world, according to the 46th edition of the twice-yearly TOP500 list of the most powerful supercomputers released this month. Sequoia has been the world’s third most powerful computer since June 2013, while Trinity is new to the top-ten list this fall in sixth place.
NNSA’s newest champion supercomputer was named after the Trinity Test of 1945—the world’s first nuclear detonation. Since the U.S. no longer conducts underground nuclear testing, Trinity’s primary purpose is to enable NNSA perform full-physics, 3-dimensional simulations to assess the nuclear weapons' performance, as their continued mission to ensure the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent.
"I really just love to help people," said Erik Timpson of the National Security Campus in Kansas City. "whether that’s teaching, researching, STEM, being an artist or scientist, being a husband or a dad...all that is just semantics ... I help people.”
National Security Campus Engineer Erik Timpson isn’t your typical engineer; he carries around a bag of supplies ranging from mini-scissors to tape, a flashlight and a wide-array of colored pens and pencils. Always with a new gizmo or gadget to help stimulate the mind for students and employees...Erik himself reminds you of a modern-day, Inspector Gadget.
Timpson followed the path of his father and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering with minors in Math, Physics and Biology.
With his doctorate complete, Timpson knew he wanted to focus his extra time towards engagement, outreach and metrology. He became the engagement focus area lead for the People Center of Excellence and increased his involvement with STEM activities.
“I think it is so important to introduce electrical engineering at a young age. I truly believe soon electrical engineer and computer classes will be a part of the elementary curriculum...technology is bound to benefit us.”
A math project at the school included cake baking. The approach to education is interdisciplinary, pulling subjects like algebra, physics, and language arts into a single, hands-on assignment.
Technology Leadership High School, a public charter located close to Sandia National Laboratories and technology-based businesses, opened in August with 90 students in grade 9. The school will add a grade level each year until it reaches 12th grade.
Sandia donated refurbished laptop computers and other equipment, and its scientists are working with the school's teachers on curriculum.
“Our focus is to engage students who have been disengaged, students who might fall through the cracks at traditional schools,” said Velina Chavez, director of community engagement. “We know students can succeed, and it’s great to see that happen.”
Los Alamos National Laboratory recently received a second presidential award as a climate champion. From left are: Mathew Moury, Associate Under Secretary for Environment, Health, Safety and Security; Michael Sweitzer, NNSA; Josh Silverman, Director, DOE Office of Sustainability Support; Christy Goldfuss, Director, White House Council on Environmental Quality; Denny Hjeresen, LANL Waste Management Division; Leslie Hansen, LANL Environmental Protection Division; Jessica Arcidiacono and NNSA Sustainability Program Eric Bradley, DOE Office of Sustainability Support.
In recognition of their proactive commitment to protecting the environment of Northern New Mexico from the potential impacts of a changing climate, a consortium of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s federal and contractor staff received the GreenGov Presidential Award.
“We recognized the need for a different approach after a devastating wildfire and a series of impactful environmental events,” said Michael Brandt, associate director for the Laboratory’s Environment, Safety and Health directorate. “As a laboratory, we seek to be good stewards of the environment by implementing scientific, engineering and operational measures that mitigate the impacts of climate change and by managing our natural and cultural resources.”