This week Neile Miller, Acting Administrator for NNSA, spoke to the elected leaders of the communities that host NNSA facilities at the Energy Communities Alliance annual meeting in D.C. Acting Administrator Miller thanked the communities for their support over the past year and indicated that their partnership is essential to helping NNSA execute its mission.
Acting Administrator Miller noted that in his FY14 budget request delivered to Congress this week, President Obama reaffirmed his commitment to leading the global effort to reduce the threat of nuclear terrorism, ensuring the safety of the American people, and guaranteeing that the United States’ nuclear weapons stockpile remains safe, secure, and effective while it is still needed. His request includes $11.7 billion for NNSA, an increase of 1.6 percent over FY13.
She also provided insight into NNSA's priorities for the coming year emphasizing three core things NNSA will be focused on accomplishing in 2013.
First, as always, NNSA is keeping the American people safe, and our communities are the pillars that support our nuclear deterrent, nonproliferation, and counterterrorism efforts. Second, NNSA is also modernizing in every way, as many have probably seen with construction jobs, subcontractor support, and changes to the nature and scope of work at our facilities. And, finally, NNSA is holding our people - Federal employees and Management & Operating contractors - accountable. NNSA must do more with less, so we owe it to our communities and the American taxpayers to rethink and revise everywhere we can.
NNSA recognizes that our community partners have a great interest in how we communicate and engage on issues of mutual interest. NNSA is committed to operate in a manner that is open, proactive, responsive, and well-coordinated in managing relationships with state, local and tribal government stakeholders.
Nearly 100 Kansas City Plant employees and family members turned out to “rescue” Kansas City’s Blue River last Saturday. The annual Blue River Rescue event successfully cleaned up approximately 100 tons of trash along its banks.
Each year the NNSA and Honeywell join hundreds of business and residential volunteers to help pick up trash and plant trees during the largest one-day stream clean-up in Missouri.
The effort calls on community volunteers to be environmental stewards of a 22-mile stretch of land that surrounds the waterway which flows near Kansas City Plant.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Director Parney Albright recently honored LLNL scientists and engineers who won six R&D 100 awards for 2012 at a reception at the Livermore Valley Open Campus.
LLNL served as the principal developer for four of the awards, while the other two were joint submissions with individual Laboratory researchers.
Before noting that the R&D 100 awards, often called the "Oscars of invention," are international awards, Albright said the lab performs amazing scientific and engineering feats every day and it's fantastic to receive unique external recognition like the R&D 100 awards.
About the photo: The LEOPARD (Laser Energy Optimization by Precision Adjustments to the Radiant Distribution) technology has been developed to enhance the operability of laser facilities. Shown are members of the team.
The Nevada Field Office (NFO) and U.S. Air Force staff recently conducted inspections of a historic rocket located at Clean Slate III on the Tonopah Test Range. Clean Slate III, a plutonium dispersal test, was part of Operation Roller Coaster and was conducted on June 9, 1963. The origin of the rocket in the photo and the time frame when it was launched are unknown. Based on interviews with TTR personnel, however, the rocket has been present at the site since at least the mid-1980s.
This morning, the White House issued the below statement regarding NNSA's recent removal of the last remaining highly enriched uranium from the Czech Republic:
Statement by NSC Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden on the Removal of Highly Enriched Uranium from the Czech Republic
Today we can announce that the United States, with the cooperation of our international partners, successfully removed 68 kilograms of highly enriched uranium (HEU) – enough material for two nuclear weapons - from the Czech Republic. The HEU was securely transported to Russia, where it will be downblended into low enriched uranium (LEU) for use in nuclear power reactors. Unlike highly enriched uranium, low enriched uranium cannot be used to make a nuclear weapon. With this shipment, the Czech Republic becomes the tenth country from which all HEU has been removed since President Obama announced the international effort to secure all vulnerable nuclear material around the world.
This achievement comes on the anniversary of President Obama’s remarks in Prague on April 5, 2009, where he stated that nuclear terrorism remains our greatest threat. The President called on the world to act with a sense of purpose and without delay to secure vulnerable nuclear material. The United States and the global community have responded with an unprecedented effort that has secured thousands of kilograms of HEU and plutonium, enough for dozens of nuclear weapons.
The removal of highly enriched uranium from the Czech Republic was the culmination of a multi-year effort by the United States’ National Nuclear Security Administration, the Czech Republic’s Nuclear Research Institute, Russia’s Federal Atomic Energy Agency, and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The United States is grateful to these partners and to the Czech and Russian governments for their outstanding cooperation.
Two senior leaders of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC) today visited the Pantex Plant to tour the facility and deliver a message of support to the workers.
U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.) told an assembled group of Pantexans he was aware of the critical work done at Pantex through his role as the HASC chairman, but seeing it firsthand really made an impact.
McKeon traveled to Pantex with HASC vice chairman, U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, whose district includes the Pantex Plant. Thornberry talked about the challenging budget situation facing all levels of government and the importance of maintaining the capabilities of facilities like Pantex.
After taking questions from several Pantexans, the two congressmen concluded the all-hands meeting with a few final words of encouragement.
This weekend, Roadrunner, the World's Fastest Supercomputer from 2008, will be switched off but not be forgotten.
Without ceremony, the first supercomputer to reach the once elusive petaflop - one million billion calculations per second - a feat accomplished in 2008 by Roadrunner, an IBM system installed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, will be decommissioned. Advancements made possible by Roadrunner have informed current computing architectures and will help shape future designs.
During its five operational years, Roadrunner, part of NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program, was a workhorse system providing computing power for stewardship of the U.S. nuclear deterrent, and in its early days, a wide variety of unclassified science.
Read more about Roadrunner here.
Measurements from two recent aerial flyovers to determine the presence of background and man-made radioactivity brought good news for Los Alamos County and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The radiological surveys, conducted in August 2011 and June 2012, found that radioisotopes and their associated exposure rates are consistent with those expected from normal background radiation.
The survey provided valuable data in several areas. First, the information updates a radiological survey conducted in 1994. Secondly, the survey showed the Las Conchas fire from 2011 did not impact background radiation levels. It also provides additional confirmation that the Rendija Canyon area remains at natural background radiation levels. There is an area north of Rendija Canyon under evaluation for return to public use.
The information will be incorporated into the lab’s Long-Term Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Strategy report.
A group of Pantex female engineers held a Smart Cookie workshop for Girl Scouts this weekend. The objective of the workshop was to foster a love of science and math in young girls who might make up the next generation of engineers at Pantex.
The Smart Cookie program started in January with a half dozen young women engineers from Pantex who decided to expose engineering to the next generation with a workshop for Girl Scouts. Since then, the number of women engineers who are involved in the project has doubled. Plans are underway to enlist experts from Pantex in math, science and information technology, for future events with the Girl Scouts.
About the photo:
Female engineers from Pantex this weekend demonstrated a scientific principle known as nucleation. The engineers used Mentos dropped into Diet Coke to demonstrate the principle. The surface texture of the Mentos causes the carbon dioxide to be explosively released.
Participants in Sandia’s Weapon Intern Program recently visited and toured NNSA's Kansas City Plant. The program, established in 1998, was created to meet Sandia's changing mission needs. Through a combination of classroom study taught by active and retired weaponeers, site visits and individual and team projects, weapon interns have honed their skills, broadened their knowledge base and expanded their network of colleagues in the nuclear weapons community.