NNSA Blog

speakers at podium

Last week representatives from NNSA briefed the Governors Homeland Security Advisors Council (GHSAC) in Glynco, Ga. Kristina Hatcher, Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) Regional Manager for Northern U.S. Programs; and Dan Blumenthal, Consequence Management Program Manager, discussed issues relating to nuclear security and emergency response, strengthening the relationship with governors’ senior advisors on issues of mutual significance for NNSA and governors.

Ms. Hatcher educated the GHSAC on GTRI’s assets available to help train states’ officials and make their states more secure. She encouraged the development and reinforcement of the federal-state partnership including through outreach to new high-activity radiological source facilities and enhanced communication with local fusion centers. As a result of the briefing, GTRI was approached by many homeland security advisors that were eager to learn more about NNSA’s domestic security program and help set up outreach meetings within their states.

Dr. Blumenthal emphasized that NNSA’s office of emergency response program provides a single resource to support the states over the full range of radiological emergency response activities from crisis response through consequence management. There was recognition among the homeland security advisors that one of the key resources that NNSA assets provide is technical assessments needed for leaders to make public safety decisions.

Feb 4, 2013 at 11:00 am

A ribbon-cutting at the Savannah River Site opened the door to the first of two new buildings that the Savannah River Tritium Enterprise (SRTE) has scheduled for occupancy this year as part of its modernization program.

The Tritium Engineering Building is one of the cornerstones of NNSA's long-term plan to modernize and consolidate the Savannah River Site tritium facilities as part of its mission to turn a Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a 21st Century nuclear security enterprise.

Addressing the crowd of employees gathered to witness the ribbon-cutting, NNSA Savannah River Field Office Manager Doug Dearolph credited the excellent partnership, teamwork and collaboration among NNSA, construction contractor Akima Construction Services and SRS management and operating contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions for completing the building with zero accidents and on budget.

The new Tritium Engineering Building, which will provide office space for nearly 100 engineers, is the first building in the Tritium Limited Area that will meet the Guiding Principles for Federal Leadership in High Performance and Sustainable Buildings. The guiding principles cover: integrated design principles, optimized energy performance, water conservation, indoor environmental quality and reduced environmental impact of materials.

About the photo:
(From left) Savannah River Nuclear Solutions Senior Vice President for NNSA Operations & Programs Dennis Donati, NNSA Savannah River Field Office Manager Doug Dearolph, and Akima Construction Services President Paul Karmanzinski open the Savannah River Site’s new Tritium Engineering Building.

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Feb 1, 2013 at 12:00 pm

NNSA BlogThe Center for Strategic & International Studies has selected two NNSA employees as part of its 2013 class for the Nuclear Scholars Initiative. The recently selected scholars hail from NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Security and Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation programs.

Craig Wiener, a Defense Nuclear Security specialist, is a doctoral candidate in Biodefense at George Mason University, and specializes in national security technology policy, international security, counterproliferation, and intelligence studies. His research as a CSIS Nuclear Scholar will involve countering Uranium-233 proliferation pathways for states seeking to acquire nuclear weapons.

Alicia Swift, a Global Threat Reduction Initiative fellow and nuclear engineering PhD candidate at University of Tennessee, is currently conducting physical protection upgrades at sites within the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean that house nuclear and radiological material. She is also NNSA Blogworking on the conversion of U.S. high performance research reactors from HEU to LEU fuel as part of her fellowship.

Each year, CSIS selects roughly 20 graduate students and young professionals throughout the U.S. to participate in the initiative. During the six-month program, the Scholars meet regularly to discuss nuclear weapons issues and prepare individual papers that are published in a CSIS-produced journal.

Read more about the CSIS Nuclear Scholars Initiative here.

Jan 31, 2013 at 3:00 pm

NNSA earlier this month conducted a training course on Consequence Management (I-CM) in Israel. The training, held in the Soreq Nuclear Research Center, was attended by 25 Israeli participants. The training focused on how to respond to a radiological terrorism event.

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Jan 29, 2013 at 1:00 pm

NNSA BlogSidney Drell, physicist, arms control expert and adviser, is one of 12 eminent researchers recently named by President Obama as a recipient of the National Medal of Science. In addition, 11 inventors are recipients of the National Medal of Technology and Innovation. Both awards represent the highest honors bestowed by the United States government upon scientists, engineers and inventors.

Drell was recognized for his research on quantum electrodynamics and quantum chronodynamics and for applying basic physics to public policy, national security and intelligence. 

Drell, who until he retired last March was a member of the Board of Governors for both Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, and Los Alamos National Security, LLC, the managing contractors for the Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories since 2008 and 2007, respectively, is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution where his work has focused on nuclear nonproliferation. He also is a professor of theoretical physics (emeritus) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center.

Drell will formally receive his award from President Obama at a White House ceremony to be scheduled in early 2013.

Read more about Drell also see the complete list of award recipients.

Jan 29, 2013 at 11:00 am

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Sandia principal technologist Richard Simpson has filled a canyon with soap bubbles, shot photos of flaming liquefied natural gas from a helicopter, floated balloons hundreds of feet in the air to calibrate cameras, chopped out pieces of a Cape Canaveral launch pad to haul across the country for tests, and hoisted a beer with Paul Tibbets, pilot of the B-29 that dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan in World War II.

He also has been audited for buying such things as party bubble juice on his government procurement card.

“You buy 20 party bubble machines, they kind of wonder why. You buy 50 gallons of party bubble juice, and they really wonder why,” he said.

Simpson has worked with NASA, DOE, United Launch Alliance, the Air Force and others at Sandia and Cape Canaveral to help solve problems and sign agreements.

Read more about Simpson.

About the photo:
Principal Technologist Richard Simpson adjusts an igniter assembly at a lake Sandia built a few years ago to conduct the world’s largest liquefied natural gas fire tests ever done on water.

Jan 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Seven individuals recently graduated from the Y-12 Apprentice Program at a ceremony held at Y-12. Each graduate spent three to four years with a journeyworker and attended between 144 and 246 hours of classroom training. Read more.

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Jan 28, 2013 at 2:00 pm

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Y-12 historian Ray Smith, left, joins Lincoln Memorial University board of trustees chairman Pete DeBusk in front of the “Scientists Who Changed the World” exhibit in the university’s Math and Science Building. Smith contributed to the permanent display on the main campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. Located in LMU’s new Math and Science Building, the display pays tribute to nuclear energy research and the subsequent creation of what is now the U.S. Department of Energy. Read more about his work.

Jan 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm

NNSA BlogNNSA welcomes Air Force Col. James C. Dawkins Jr. as Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application. He will assist Don Cook, NNSA’s deputy administrator for Defense Programs, in directing the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which maintains the safety, security and effectiveness of the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile without underground nuclear testing.

Dawkins has been nominated for appointment to the rank of brigadier general.

Most recently, Dawkins served as the commander of the 5th Bomb Wing, Minot Air Force Base, N.D. He was responsible for providing combat-ready B-52H Stratofortress aircraft, crews, and associated combat support for deterrence, crisis response, global power projection, major theater war and maritime operations and Air and Space Expeditionary Force deployments. He also served as the installation commander.

Dawkins was commissioned in 1989 from the Air Force Officer Training School. He is a command pilot with more than 3,000 flight hours in the B-52, B-2, RC-135, F-16CJ and the F-111. He has commanded at the wing, group and squadron level and has served in two joint assignments involving nuclear operations and policy. He served as the deputy director for Global Innovation and Strategy Center at U.S. Strategic Command and as operations officer in the Directorate for Global Operations, J-3, the Joint Staff.

Dawkins has supported Operations Odyssey Dawn, Enduring Freedom, Decisive Guard, Northern Watch, and Southern Watch. He has also deployed as the director of International Security Assistance Force Joint Command, Joint Operations Center in Afghanistan.

Jan 28, 2013 at 12:00 pm

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has published its 2012 annual report highlighting its work applying innovative science and technology to strengthen the nation's security.

See Livermore’s annual report.

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Jan 25, 2013 at 1:00 pm