SRTE safety engineer named safety professional of the yearSafety engineer Sonya Patton is a familiar sight around the Savannah River Tritium Enterprise (SRTE) facilities. Her hands-on approach to safety leadership keeps her out and about in the facilities, watching and guiding personnel toward safety excellence.

That approach produces results: As of this writing, SRTE has surpassed 4.4 million hours without an injury resulting in time away from work, and Sonya has been named the Safety Professional of the Year by the Augusta Chapter of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).

The award recognizes her expertise, her contributions to the safety profession, and her leadership in establishing, maintaining, and improving safety programs. She has served as a safety professional at the Savannah River Site since 1990, with another 10 years’ experience in the commercial nuclear industry prior to that. She is an active member and past president of the ASSE.  

The ASSE, founded in 1911, is the nation’s oldest and largest professional safety organization. Its more than 32,000 members manage, supervise and consult on safety, health, and environmental issues in industry, insurance, government, and education.The Augusta Chapter, formed in 1983, has membership from 19 counties in Georgia and South Carolina.

Nov 5, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Pantex process engineer Savannah Gates recently talked to Amarillo high school students about engineering at the Top of Texas Career Expo. Gates used a variety of puzzles to teach engineering principles to students who might be interested in the field. Pantex professionals from specialties such as IT, engineering, and security supported the career fair, educating more than 900 juniors and seniors about career options at Pantex.

 Pantex supports career expo

Pantex supports career expo

Nov 4, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Department of Energy has removed all remaining highly enriched uranium from Hungary. Check out the links below to see videos and additional photos of the operation, which was successfully completed by NNSA's Global Threat Reduction Initiative.

Read more.

Watch videos on NNSA's YouTube channel here and here and see a timelapse video of the operation here. Additional photos are available on NNSA's Flickr.

DOE removes all remaining HEU from Hungary

Nov 4, 2013 at 2:00 pm

 RSL conducts outreach in San Diego

Aerial Measurement System personnel from Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL) in Las Vegas, Nevada, this week conducted outreach at the annual CBRNe World Conference in San Diego, Calif. They were joined by representatives from the Region 7 Radiological Assistance Program from Livermore National Laboratory. It includes representatives from more than 20 countries.

Nov 1, 2013 at 10:00 am

Over the last 50 years, scientists from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's Biosciences and Biotechnology Division have been instrumental researchers on the Human Genome Project, developing high-tech devices to sort cells and analyze DNA and providing the science for federal programs to defend the nation from biological weapons.

Livermore has compiled a complete list of their biosciences contributions. See more.

About the photo:
In the 1970s, the Laboratory established preeminence in cytometric research. Livermore was the first to use flow cytometry to sort chromosomes.

 Livermore's biosciences celebrates 50th anniversary

Oct 30, 2013 at 1:00 pm

The most recent NNSA quarterly summary of experiments conducted as part of its science-based stockpile stewardship program is now available here.

The quarterly summary prepared by NNSA’s Office of Defense Programs provides descriptions of key NNSA facilities that conduct stockpile stewardship experiments. These include some of the most sophisticated scientific research facilities in the world including, the Dual Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test (DARHT) facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory, National Ignition Facility (NIF) at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the Z machine at Sandia National Laboratories. The summary also provides the number of experiments performed at each facility during each quarter of the fiscal year.

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 (ASC) Program to assess the safety, security and effectiveness of the stockpile. An extraordinary set of science, technology and engineering (ST&E) facilities have been established in support of the stockpile stewardship program.

Oct 29, 2013 at 3:00 pm

Savannah River Tritium Enterprise (SRTE) went above and beyond its FY13 productivity savings goals. Overall, SRTE’s validated productivity savings totaled $2.605 million, which represents more than 116 percent of the goal. Performance against other Continuous Improvement goals was impressive as well, with 20 percent of employees engaged in a Continuous Improvement (CI) action each month and each division initiating at least one Lean Event per month.

Among the 28 CI projects validated in FY13 were:

  • The development of a calibration process that will maintain the Measuring and Test Equipment tools for facility operations, while reducing the overall cost of the program (validated savings more than $377,000)
  • A Glove Test Project to help resolve permeation and glove degradation issues, using SRTE Engineering interns to perform the needed testing (validated savings of nearly $176,000) 
  • The replacement of lead acid batteries in the standby diesel generator with environmentally friendly absorbed gas mat batteries, eliminating the need for a safety shower (validated savings more than $118,000)

About the photo:
P.K. Hightower of SRTE Quality & Performance Excellence presents to Joe Shake of SRTE Engineering a shirt in recognition of his contributions to SRTE's productivity savings.

Savannah River Tritium Enterprise exceeds productivity savings goals for FY13

Oct 29, 2013 at 12:00 pm

The National Security Campus design team has been named a global winner of the “Design is…" award program which honors architecture and design firms that are changing the very idea of design.

It’s been less than a year since the building’s completion and Kansas City-based architectural firm, HNTB Inc., has already won three industry awards for their interior design elements. HNTB was tasked with designing a work space that was energizing, reflected our mission, and created a crisp, clean and bright place to work.

The customer focus areas, such as the main meeting center and entries to every pod use either the full hexagon for a literal effect or a fractured, manipulated design of the shape.

The floors of the building are on the raised access floor that allows a more efficient distribution of data, power and HVAC ventilation. This design element was intentionally left as unfinished concrete not only to be a good steward of the budget but to give employees the sense they were seeing the inner workings of the structure. The slanted ceilings in the open office areas, based on the geometric shape tetrahedron, was a mechanism to visually shorten a space equal in length to a football field while creating visual interest. Between the ceiling tile “clouds,” the structure is visible, revealing the tectonic structure of the building.

See the video

 National Security Campus design team wins global award

National Security Campus design team wins global award

Oct 29, 2013 at 10:00 am

NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brigadier General James C. Dawkins, Jr., recently visited both NNSA Production Office sites to present Defense Programs Awards of Excellence. The Defense Programs Awards are given annually to recognize significant achievements in quality, productivity, cost savings, safety, or creativity in support of NNSA’s nuclear weapons program.

At the Pantex Plant, Dawkins presented awards to 88 members of five different teams who worked on projects ranging from metallography of weapons components to analysis of plastic bonded explosives to work on the B53 and B83 weapons. In his comments, he emphasized the importance of the work done at Pantex to help ensure the safety of the country through maintenance of an effective nuclear deterrent. Dawkins was joined by NNSA Production Office Manager Steve Erhart and B&W Pantex General Manager John Woolery in making the presentations.

At the Y-12 National Security Complex, five teams, consisting of more than 90 federal and contractor employees, were recognized for their work the past year. Joining Dawkins to present the awards was Mark Padilla, NNSA Production Office Assistant Manager for Programs and Projects; Chuck Spencer, B&W Y-12 President and General Manager; and Bill Tindal, B&W Y-12 vice President for Production.

NPO recognized by Defense Programs

Oct 24, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Pantex has set a new safety record with the lowest recordable case rate in the plant’s history.

The record total recordable case rate of 0.26 is a fitting end to an outstanding year in safety. In January, Pantexans set a record for working more than eight million man hours without a lost time injury. In addition, Pantex was once again honored as one of the outstanding sites in the complex with the Star of Excellence from the Department of Energy’s Voluntary Protection Program.

Read more.

Pantex sets safety record

Oct 23, 2013 at 8:00 pm