NNSA Blog

Sandia researchers simulate the behavior of weapon componentsCheck out Sandia’s highlights for 2012 by viewing Sandia’s Labs Accomplishments. The publication recognizes some of Sandia’s best work during 2012, as submitted by Sandia center offices and selected by division offices.

See it here.

About the photo:
Sandia researchers use advanced computational capabilities to simulate the behavior of weapon components under a variety of conditions. Photo by Randy Montoya.

Mar 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

The ChemCam mast unit mounted on the Curiosity rover

Members of the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover ChemCam team will present more than two dozen posters and talks this week during the 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas.

Since Curiosity’s successful landing on Mars on Aug. 6, 2012, ChemCam has fired more than 40,000 shots at more than a thousand different locations with its high-powered laser. The ChemCam system is one of 10 instruments mounted on the Curiosity rover—a six-wheeled mobile laboratory that will roam more than 12 miles of the planet’s surface during the course of one Martian year (98 Earth weeks).

The ChemCam team is comprised of researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and the French space agency, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, as well as other researchers from the U.S., France, Canada, and the United Kingdom. ChemCam operations are now commanded from centers at Los Alamos and Toulouse, France.

Read more.

About the photo:
This image shows the ChemCam mast unit mounted on the Curiosity rover as it is being prepared in the clean room prior to the launch of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission. ChemCam fires a powerful laser that can sample Martian rocks and provide critical clues about the Red Planet's habitability. (Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory)

Mar 18, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Stan Maciaszek, SRNS, demonstrates during a teach-in.Engineers, scientists and technicians from the Savannah River Site recently provided science- and engineering-based demonstrations for more than 2,500 students for the 2013 National Engineers Week. 36 employees from Savannah River Nuclear Solutions (SRNS) conducted 99 sessions at 15 middle schools in the Aiken, S.C., area. The interactive programs often include informative discussions and give students a broad understanding of the field of engineering.

Teach-ins are an effective way to promote the importance of a technical education in addition to high-level literacy in math, science and technology. Since its inception in 2009, an estimated 10,000 students in the region have benefitted from the outreach program.

About the photo:
Stan Maciaszek, an SRNS employee, demonstrates the four components required by fire during a teach-in.

Mar 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm

The AAR team poses with one of the OST 737s

AAR Inc., the aviation contractor for NNSA’s Office of Secure Transportation (OST), has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Part 145 Repair Station Certification.

Jeff Harrell, NNSA assistant deputy administrator for secure transportation, said the designation means that OST has opened its facility to FAA oversight, and that they comply with the highest levels of conduct, documentation and safety in conducting the OST aviation mission. “Receiving the Part 145 Repair Station Certification from the FAA is a very proud moment for the entire AAR team and for OST,” he said.

The OST aviation program operates under FAA’s Part 125, which was granted in December 2012. Part 125 governs the operation of large airplanes configured for more than twenty passenger seats. Very few government aviation programs operate with FAA regulations and oversight. The OST aviation program is a government-operated, contractor-maintenance organization with a highly experienced all-federal staff involved in day-to-day operations.

OST’s aircraft provide safe and secure transportation of nuclear weapons components, nuclear limited life components, and transport federal agent task forces who conduct secure ground transportation. The OST fleet consists of two Boeing 737s, a DC-9, and a Learjet. They are housed at DOE’s facility at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque. AAR has a staff of 26 there, including 14 mechanics and inspectors.

About the photo:
The AAR team poses with one of the OST 737s at its Albuquerque hangar.

Mar 14, 2013 at 1:00 pm

A twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter flies by Las Vegas's Mirage.

NNSA is conducting an aerial survey of portions of the Las Vegas Valley. The purpose of the flyovers is to measure naturally occurring background radiation.

A twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System in Las Vegas, is equipped with gamma radiation sensing technology. The helicopter flies at a speed of approximately 80 miles per hour over various portions of the Valley at multiple attitudes.

The flyovers are a part of a research project sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security’s Domestic Nuclear Detection Office (DNDO). The helicopter is scheduled to fly over the Las Vegas Valley for the next few years.

The background data will be used by DNDO to improve aerial radiation measurement capabilities used by local, state and federal entities.

About the photo:
A twin-engine Bell 412 helicopter, operated by the Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System in Las Vegas, was seen yesterday on the Las Vegas Strip. NNSA and DNDO alert the public of the upcoming flights so that citizens who see the low-flying aircraft are not alarmed.

Mar 13, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Read about NNSA Nuclear Physicist Dr. Njema Frazier on the DOE’s 10 questions feature. Learn about her detail at the National Defense University and her decision to pursue a career in physics.

Check it out here.

NNSA Nuclear Physicist Dr. Njema Frazier

Mar 12, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Pantex participated in the 17th Annual Sam Houston Middle School Career Fair in Amarillo, Texas, recently. The Pantex volunteers encouraged the 500 students who attended to stay in school and get a good education. Here, Pantex Community Relations Coordinator Debra Halliday talks with a teacher at the fair.

17th Annual Sam Houston Middle School Career Fair in Amarillo, Texas

Mar 12, 2013 at 10:00 am

NNSA laboratories and HBCU representatives meet on cybersecurity

As part of the DOE strategy to create a sustainable program with the nation’s minority serving institutions, NNSA put together a meeting to discuss its ‘cradle-to-grave’ consortium model and its application to a cybersecurity pipeline. The meeting was held at the Cybersecurity Technology Research Laboratory at the Livermore Valley Open Campus (LVOC). The meeting included faculty and leadership from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), Charleston County Public Schools, Silicon Valley companies and representatives from NNSA laboratories.

Dimitri Kusnezov, NNSA's Chief Scientist and Director of the Office of Science and Policy, said the meeting took important steps in shaping the cybersecurity pipeline by aligning commitments from the front end of the pipeline (K-12) and the back end (DOE labs and industry) with those of the HBCUs. The overall goal of this program is to create a sustainable pipeline between DOE’s sites and Minority Serving Institutions in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) mission areas.

Dimitri Kusnezov

Mar 12, 2013 at 7:00 am

The NNSA quarterly summary of experiments conducted as part of its science-based stockpile stewardship program is now available. The summary presents descriptions of key NNSA facilities that have been recently conducted stockpile stewardship experiments.

The quarterly summary prepared by NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs provides descriptions of key NNSA facilities that conduct stockpile stewardship experiments. These include the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories.

The U.S. Stockpile Stewardship Program is a robust program of scientific inquiry used to sustain and assess the nuclear weapons stockpile without the use of underground nuclear tests. The experiments carried out within the program are used in combination with complex computational models and NNSA’s Advanced Simulation and Computing Program to assess the safety, security and effectiveness of the stockpile.

Mar 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Y-12 construction team honored for safety performance

Y­-12’s Direct-Hire Construction team was recently honored for achieving more than one million hours worked without a lost-time accident and zero recordable injuries throughout 2012.

The Y-12 team achieved the one million-hour milestone in June 2012, and in January 2013, attained 1.4 million hours (more than 800 days) without a lost-time accident. The team’s last lost workday occurred in September 2010.

See more.

About the photo:
Tom Morris, B&W Y-12 vice president of projects, presents Construction’s safety awards to Monica Lewis, Y-12 craft safety lead representative, and Kevin Adkisson, Knoxville Building and Construction Trades Council president.

Mar 7, 2013 at 6:00 pm