Some 23,000 tons of asphalt removed during this summer’s UPF site work have been put to use throughout the site. Potholes and gravel roads are now “paved” with the recycled asphalt that has been ground into a material called base course. Unlike gravel, the material tends to rebind into a solid form as it is packed down, thus sending it back to its former life as asphalt.

Read more about it.


Dec 29, 2015 at 12:00 am

Sandia National Laboratories technologist Catherine Sobczak prepares a silicon wafer to load into a machine. She has been honored with the inaugural Thin Film Distinguished Technologist Award from the American Vacuum Society.

The American Vacuum Society has honored Sandia National Laboratories technologist Catherine Sobczak with its inaugural Thin Film Division Distinguished Technologist Award for providing exceptional technical support of thin film research and development.

Sobczak will be formally recognized next fall by the society’s Thin Film Division at the society’s 63rd International Symposium & Exhibition in Nashville, Tennessee.

“It’s an honor to receive this award. The people who nominated me are high-level folks in the vacuum technology field. It’s nice to be recognized for all your years of service doing this,” Sobczak said.

Read more about it.

Dec 28, 2015 at 12:00 am

SRS contractor employees compete in the fifth annual “Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes” relay race, which has raised $25,000 for the Savannah River Site’s Toys for Tots campaign.

Dozens of contractor employees at the Savannah River Site (SRS) recently combined zany fun with athletic competition to create a race like no other, all for a good cause. Each year, the “Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes” relay race raises thousands of dollars to purchase bicycles and tricycles for the SRS Toys for Tots campaign.

According to event founder, environmental geologist Jeff Ross, this was the fifth Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes race held at the SRS training track. “Most teams wear some sort of costumes, each team with their own theme,” said Ross. “At this point, I feel like we’ve pretty much seen it all, from Christmas elves and super heroes to a bridal party; last year the fire department even ran in full gear wearing air tanks. I’m always impressed with the creativity and enthusiasm displayed by our contestants.”

Read more about it.

Dec 23, 2015 at 12:00 am


On Thursday morning, Dec. 17, NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs’ Office of Secure Transportation (OST) celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the transportation safeguards mission with a ceremony at the Mountain View Club on Kirtland Air Force Base. 

Deputy Secretary of Energy Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall congratulated OST on 40 years of success.

“During these past forty years, OST Agents have literally driven the distance from the Earth to Mars with no fatal accidents and no release of radioactive material,” Dr. Sherwood-Randall said. “Few other agencies can match this outstanding performance record.”NNSA Blog

OST alumni and senior leadership from Albuquerque’s DOE and NNSA community were present for the ceremony, to include the NNSA Office of Defense Programs Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator Mr. Phil Calbos.

In a commemorative address, Mr. Calbos also congratulated the most recent group of Federal Agent Nuclear Material Courier training graduates. The 22 OST graduates represent the less than two percent of all applicants who were chosen for and completed the 21 weeks of training to earn the title of Federal Agent, Nuclear Materials Courier. He mentioned the impressive prior service records of the candidates as well.

“In my book, you represent the best of the Nation and we’re pleased that you’re part of OST. OST is your next step in serving the nation. And it’s a big step with tremendous implications,” Mr. Calbos said. “Yours is a mission that we simply cannot afford to get wrong. We haven’t for the past forty years, thanks to many of the folks in this audience, and we won’t for the next forty years thanks to you and your successors.”

“OST has been at the forefront of this essential national security mission from the beginning,” Dr. Sherwood-Randall said. “I want to thank everyone at OST for your dedication to the safety and security of our country. You have our sincere appreciation for your four decades of organizational excellence.”

Dr. Sherwood-Randall and Mr. Calbos thanked the OST staff and new graduates’ family members, whose support, they said, contributes to success in one of the most essential national security missions undertaken by the U.S. government.

Dec 22, 2015 at 12:08 pm

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and collaborators have found that most climate models overestimate the increase in global precipitation due to climate change.

Specifically, the team looked at 25 models and found they underestimate the increase in absorption of sunlight by water vapor as the atmosphere becomes moister, and therefore overestimate increases in global precipitation.

The team found global precipitation increase per degree of global warming at the end of the 21st century may be about 40 percent smaller than what the models, on average, currently predict.

The research appears in the Dec. 10 edition of the journal Nature.

Learn more about the research.

Dec 21, 2015 at 12:00 am


Earlier this month, Washington State University mechanical engineering students delivered two prototypes developed as part of their senior design projects to their Pacific Northwest National Laboratory mentors. The design projects were supported by the Next Generation Safeguards Initiative Human Capital Development (NGSI HCD) program, which works to recruit, train and retain qualified personnel to meet future international safeguards challenges. To advance the NGSI HCD mission, PNNL identified highly qualified WSU engineering students to work with PNNL experts on projects that support nonproliferation and nuclear safeguards. These student teams worked with PNNL mentors to create two prototypes:

  • A large doughnut-shaped fixture designed to hold gamma ray detectors and surround a 12-foot-long nuclear fuel assembly. In a working model, gamma ray measurements would detect whether any spent fuel is missing.
  • An alignment and orientation fixture and target turntable to hold a system that creates and compares 3D images of a nuclear material container to detect tampering.

The devices will be used in training, workshops and exercises to support nuclear safeguards, security and nonproliferation training in various domestic settings.

PNNL develops innovative technologies and conducts system studies to maintain and enhance international safeguards and the nonproliferation regime. Working with regional universities, such as WSU, PNNL creates opportunities for university students in appropriate program areas to apply their education to real projects that are addressing national security challenges.

WSU conducts an Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, Inc.-approved industrial design clinic in which industry partners sponsor students and faculty to design and develop prototypes that meet specific industry needs. The industrial design clinic provides excellent learning opportunities for the engineering students while delivering a high-value product to industry at minimal cost to the industry partner.

PNNL's NGSI/HCD execution program has worked with the WSU Mechanical Design Program (Industrial Design Clinic) since 2009, with each semester resulting in the design, fabrication and delivery of one or more pieces of national security-applicable equipment that can be used in training, research and other applications.


Dec 18, 2015 at 12:00 am

Lawrence Livermore Laboratory engineer Bryan Moran won an award last month for his 3D printing innovation. It could revolutionize additive manufacturing.

Lawrence Livermore Lab engineer Bryan Moran wasn’t necessarily looking to improve on 3D printing technology when he moved over to Additive Manufacturing three years ago, but he may have done just that.

Moran’s creation, a new take on a process called projection micro-stereolithography, which uses UV light to create 3D objects, won him a coveted R&D 100 award in Las Vegas last month.

“It’s a leap forward because it’s combining two existing techniques in a unique way,” Moran said. “It’s enabling things that you just wouldn’t have thought of because it wasn’t practical before.”

Simply put, Moran’s printer, called the Large Area Projection Micro-Stereolithography (LAPuSL), projects an image onto a liquid resin that hardens when hit by light, to create 3D objects. Because his machine combines the extraordinary detail (resolution on the order of micrometers) inherent to direct light processors with high speed and a larger scan area, it gives operators the ability to make larger and more complex objects at higher speed. This enables the production of large components with fine features such as micro-architected materials with overall sizes around 10 centimeters, containing individual features in the micrometer range.

Read more about it.


Dec 17, 2015 at 12:00 am
Pantexans Caleb Rejino, left, and Danny Caverly, right, and Colin Caverly, Caverly’s son deliver meals to the Eveline Rivers Sunshine Cottages in Amarillo.
A team of Pantex volunteers provided support to families in the Eveline Rivers’ Sunshine Cottages to put healthy meals on the table while the single parents prepared for finals. The cottages are housing for low‑income or homeless single parents who want to finish their education, work and raise their children in a safe environment.

“Finals week can be a difficult time for anyone,” said Pantexan Caleb Rejino. “Eveline asked us to help the Sunshine Cottages by providing pre‑cooked or easy to prepare healthy meals. It is one less thing the parents have to worry about while studying for finals.”

Eveline Rivers, an Amarillo philanthropist, opened the Sunshine Cottages in 2001, with one home that was renovated into apartments. She now has six facilities with the goal to move “the whole family off the government system,” according to Eveline’s Sunshine Cottage website.

Residents of the Sunshine Cottages are required to take at least 12 hours of college classes each semester, work and ensure their children attend school. “These parents are working hard to finish their education and making sure their children learn by example,” Rejino said.

Read more at this link.

Dec 11, 2015 at 4:00 pm

Y-12 Deputy Site Manager Gene Sievers, left, and ProForce's Neal Wolfenbarger pose for photo at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, TN, as Wolfenbarger waits on his uncle to return from Washington, D.C.

Veterans Day is important to all Americans, but it carries an even more elevated meaning to those who have served our country in the Armed Forces. Not only are they recognized for their contribution, but the day demonstrates that the unique bonds brought about through military service remain strong long after the conflicts have finished.

Two Consolidated Nuclear Security managers and veterans, Ken Freeman and Gene Sievers, have volunteered their time to welcome home veterans who have visited Washington, D.C., as part of the HonorAir program. HonorAir Knoxville is a non-profit organization that takes World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to the U.S. capital to see the memorials built in their honor at zero cost to the veteran.

Read more about them.

Dec 10, 2015 at 1:00 pm


The Department of Energy has adopted an enterprise-wide approach to strengthening its preparedness for and its capability to respond to a broad spectrum of potential emergencies, including those resulting from natural phenomena (e.g., adverse weather, earthquakes) and from human actions (e.g., accidents, sabotage, terrorism). 

To help support the Department’s new approach, we have recently reorganized the NNSA Office of Emergency Operations (NA-40) and the NNSA Office of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation (NA-80). 

NA-40 will now focus its efforts primarily on building the capacity to respond to all hazards, including a reinvigorated and a reintegrated emergency management governance structure and a new consolidated emergency operations center. The new organization for NA-40 will include:

  • The Office of Plans and Policy (NA-41), which will oversee the Department-wide Emergency Management System and serve as the Department’s Defense Nuclear Facility Safety Board point of contact.
  • The Office of Operations and Exercise (NA-42), which will support the DOE/NNSA command structure for all hazards emergency management. Additionally, the office will develop and manage with input from other DOE entities the Department wide all-hazards exercise program.
  • The Office of Preparedness (NA-43), which will develop and deliver emergency management training across the Department.
  • The Office of Consolidated Emergency Operations Center (NA-44), which will provide the infrastructure for HQ-level operations, coordination, communications, and control and will operate DOE’s Consolidated Emergency Operations Center (CEOC) to improve the ability to respond to a DOE wide all-hazards emergency.

To ensure NNSA continue to devote priority attention to its unique and continuing responsibility for field deployable nuclear and radiological response assets, several functions previously performed within NA-40 have been placed under NA-80. The new organization for NA-80 will include:

  • The Office of Nuclear Incident Policy and Cooperation (NA-81) which will be a consolidation of the former Office of Counterterrorism Policy and Cooperation and the Office of International Emergency Management and Cooperation Programs (NA-46). NA-81 will develop and implement policy, provide technical solutions, and build capacity to strengthen:
    • domestic and international capabilities in counterterrorism and counterproliferation
    • international nuclear incident capabilities
  • The Office of Nuclear Forensics (NA-83), which was formerly the Office of National Technical Nuclear Forensics (NA-45). It will manage the NNSA's technical nuclear forensics assets and capabilities that support pre-detonation device and post detonation nuclear forensics
  • The Office of Nuclear Incident Response (NA-84), which was formerly the Office of Emergency Response (NA-42). NA-84 will serve as the technical leader in responding to and resolving nuclear and radiological threats worldwide. It will include expertise in the areas of radiological search, render safe, and consequence management.

NA-40 will continue to be led by Associate Administrator Deborah Wilber, and NA-80 will continue to be led by Associate Administrator Steven Aoki.

Frank Klotz and Madelyn Creedon
“Mission First, People Always”

Dec 9, 2015 at 11:00 am