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CTBT surrogate inspectors and other inspection experts visited the Nevada National Security Site, a former nuclear explosive test site. Here they are pictured on the edge of the Sedan Crater.

This month, NNSA hosted a Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) on-site inspection activity at the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). For the first time, CTBT surrogate inspectors and other inspection experts were able to visit NNSS, a former nuclear explosive test site that now supports a number of scientific and technical operations for NNSA’s science-based Stockpile Stewardship and nuclear nonproliferation missions.

The on-site inspection representatives spent three days observing the indicators caused by past nuclear explosive tests, as well as seeing current field experimental operations at NNSS. The CTBT inspection-familiarization activity was a rare opportunity for experts from more than 30 countries to tour such a test site. This event and others makes CTBT on-site inspection experts better able to do their jobs: detecting nuclear explosions under the treaty’s monitoring and verification requirements.

Participants discussed how NNSS and other former nuclear explosive test sites could improve CTBT on-site inspection training.The group also spent two days in Las Vegas, touring the National Atomic Testing Museum and discussing how NNSS and other former nuclear explosive test sites could improve CTBT on-site inspection training. NNSA and other U.S. agencies will assess the activity’s results to see how best to use NNSS and other unique locations, assets, and capabilities to further contribute to global nuclear security and international cooperation.

“We are proud to be highlighting not only the legacy of the Nevada National Security Site, but also the transformation of the site into an experimental test bed and training ground for critical national security missions including Stockpile Stewardship, homeland security, and nonproliferation and arms control,” said Anne Harrington, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation. “Inviting the CTBT on-site inspection experts to NNSS for training allows us to make valuable contributions in strengthening the capabilities to detect and deter nuclear explosive testing around the world.”

This initiative is one of many contributions the United States makes to CTBT on-site inspection efforts. U.S. experts played a significant role in the planning and execution of the large-scale Integrated Field Exercise 2014 in Jordan. In June 2015, at the CTBT Science and Technology 2015 Conference, NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz announced that the agency would “facilitate making NNSS available to future classes of on-site inspectors in order to enrich their training and experience.”

“The U.S. contributions to the (on-site inspection) effort have been substantial, not only by recently hosting us in Nevada. U.S. relevant experience allows U.S. experts to pass along their knowledge to future inspectors who will be ready to find evidence of a nuclear explosion in breach of the CTBT, once the Treaty enters into force. We need to make sure these international experts are as well qualified and trained as possible, and coming to Nevada to see the effects from real nuclear explosions in a variety of geologies has been a tremendous experience for our surrogate inspectors,” said Oleg Rozhkov, On-Side Inspection Division Director at the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization Preparatory Commission.

NNSS staff, along with experts from Los Alamos National Laboratory , Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Sandia National Laboratories all contributed to the success of the activity.

The group also spent two days in Las Vegas, touring the National Atomic Testing Museum.

We are delighted to announce two key personnel changes.

Jay TildenMr. Jay Tilden has officially been appointed as the Associate Administrator for Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation.  Jay has been the Acting Associate Administrator since Steve Aoki’s departure at the end of last year.  As you know, the mission of Counterterrorism and Counterproliferation is to prepare for, respond to, and successfully resolve nuclear and radiological accidents and incidents worldwide.

Jay brings significant experience and expertise to this mission.  Previously, he served as the Deputy Associate Administrator for the same office.  He also has been the Director of the Office of Nuclear Threat Science (formerly the Office of Nuclear Counterterrorism); the Intelligence and Security Advisor to the Deputy Under Secretary for Counterterrorism; director of the Counterterrorism Division (CTD) within the Energy Department’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence; and an intelligence and program analyst for the Office of Security Policy advising on Design Basis Threat policies for the Department.  Jay is a retired U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer and served in both active and reserve capacities including Desert Shield/Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom/Noble Eagle.  He graduated from the University of Maryland and completed post-graduate studies in strategic intelligence from DIA’s Joint Military Intelligence College.

Dr. Dave Bowman has been named permanent Deputy Associate Administrator for Counterterrorism & Counterproliferation.  Dave has been the Acting Deputy since the beginning of the year.  Dave previously served as the Director for the DOE/NNSA Office of Nuclear Incident Response.  This Office is responsible for staffing, training, equipping, and exercising the Department’s response teams in the areas of nuclear/radiological search, render safe, and consequence management.  From 2009-2011, Dave was the Deputy Director for the Office and he served as the DOE/NNSA Consequence Management Program Manager from 2005-2009.  Prior to his employment at DOE Headquarters, he was a radiological emergency responder, senior scientist, and project manager at the Remote Sensing Laboratories in Las Vegas, Nevada, and at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.  Dr. Bowman received a Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley and is recognized by the American Academy of Health Physicists as a Certified Health Physicist.

We congratulate both Jay and Dave on their new appointments and look forward to their contributions to NNSA for years to come.

Frank Klotz and Madelyn Creedon

“Mission First, People Always”

Y-12 recently recognized 29 inventors at their annual Tech Transfer award ceremony. The group was awarded 13 patents and submitted more than 30 invention disclosures in the past year.

OAK RIDGE, Tennessee – Twenty-nine Y‑12 inventors were recognized for their technology and innovative accomplishments during the recent 12th annual Technology Transfer Awards Ceremony. The site has a long history of producing technologies initially used at Y-12 and later transferred to the private sector.

Thirteen patents were awarded in FY15 in areas ranging from a wireless sensor for detecting chemical compounds to an apparatus for safeguarding a radiological source. 

The inventors also were recognized for bringing forward new ideas in the form of invention disclosures that could one day lead to future patents. These employees were acknowledged for both their creativity and innovative ideas in support of the technology development and transfer mission. The new inventions developed by the honorees will be used to further Y-12’s mission work and will be made available to license to benefit the public through Y-12’s Technology Transfer program.

Read more about the winners at this link.

Modeling and optimization tools created by NNSA’s Sandia National Laboratories are helping the U.S. Marine Corps use renewable-energy technologies in operations at home and in the field. The Marine Corps recently worked with the the lab to further develop Sandia’s Microgrid Design Toolkit to give military decision makers support and information needed to pursue sustainability goals.

The goal of the project is to help the Marines create microgrids – localized grids that generate and consume power and can run either independently or connected to the larger utility grid. Microgrids enable Marines to power up securely without plugging into utilities. Eventually, the Marine Corps intends to use microgrids to achieve completely reliable and cost-effective energy independence.

The toolkit presents microgrid designers with information about technology options to support smart decisions about technology solutions early in the design process. The software uses powerful search algorithms to identify potential trade-offs among factors such as cost, performance and reliability. A beta version of the toolkit is available for public download.

The new project between Sandia and the Marines is one example of the nationwide effort to accelerate joint efforts in clean energy and national energy security technologies from national laboratories to military end users.

Learn more about how NNSA’s laboratories support clean energy, and read Sandia’s news release  about the new project.

The Trinity supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In a recent paper published in Nature Communications, NNSA researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) recently demonstrated ways to accelerate materials science.

Why is this innovation so noteworthy to NNSA’s mission, as well as other applications? A chef inventing a new dish might test hundreds, even thousands, of ingredient combinations to get a recipe just right. Materials science—vital to keeping the U.S. nuclear stockpile safe, secure and effective—traditionally has worked the same way. Through trial and error, scientists make educated guesses about how a “recipe” for a new material will turn out, based on the known properties its ingredients. LANL researchers have described how they can supercharge the trial-and-error process by teaching a computer to learn and adapt as it virtually combines ingredients. Using adaptive design strategy, based in information science and fed by data from past experiments, the researchers can accelerate the discovery of new materials with desired properties.

“What we’ve done is show that, starting with a relatively small data set of well-controlled experiments, it is possible to iteratively guide subsequent experiments toward finding the material with the desired target,” said Turab Lookman, a physicist and materials scientist in the Physics of Condensed Matter and Complex Systems group at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“With increasing chemical complexity, the combination possibilities become too large for trial-and-error approaches to be practical,” Lookman said. “The goal is to cut in half the time and cost of bringing materials to market.”

The White House’s Materials Genome Initiative spurred interest in accelerated materials discovery, and the LANL study is one of the first to demonstrate how machine learning can actually lead to the discovery of new materials.

Learn more in a LANL news release, and read the full article, “Accelerated search for materials with targeted properties by adaptive design.”