NNSA Blog

Pantex Hickman

When he hopped into the firetruck for his last run Monday, Pantex firefighter Bill Hickman was ready to turn over his title to a slightly younger person.

Hickman, who at 78 was thought to be the nation’s oldest firefighter, marked his retirement Monday with one last drive under the flashing lights of a firetruck to a ceremony at the Plant to commemorate his 48 years at Pantex.

“I wholeheartedly salute Bill for his years of service at Pantex,” said Pantex Fire Department Chief Mike Brock. “It’s impressive to me to see how well he has taken care of himself and remained a valued member of this department. It’s always hard when you see someone with that kind of experience walk out the door.”

The International Association of Firefighters does not track the ages of all of its members, so the organization cannot say with absolute certainty that Hickman is the oldest active (non-volunteer) firefighter in the country. However, IAFF officials say they are unaware of an older active firefighter, so they presume that Hickman is the longest serving.

Hickman came to work at Pantex on March 30, 1964, as a boilermaker and welder. He joined the fire department in 1970 and has spent more than 30 years as a motor pump operator. He said he still wakes up every morning and does stretches and calisthenics, which allows him to complete the grueling firefighter combat challenge in well under the required seven minutes.

“48 years is a long time,” Hickman said. “For the most part, it’s been a very enjoyable ride. I’m glad for the time I spent at Pantex. But at 78 years old; it’s time.”

Apr 10, 2012 at 2:00 pm

NNSA Blog

NNSA Blog

NNSA Blog

B&W Pantex metal worker Charles Thomas runs a water jet machine cutting out pieces for a 3-D Tyrannosaurus Rex puzzle. The metal shop employees completed the puzzles to present at Tuesday’s 30th annual Step UP to Success program, where middle school students from across Amarillo, Texas, come to learn about various career options.

Thomas presented a program on pursuing a career in the skilled trades, using the puzzles to show what is possible in the hands of a skilled craftsman. Other Pantexans made presentations about careers in emergency services and engineering.

Apr 5, 2012 at 10:00 am

NNSA Blog

B&W Y-12 presented a check this week for $25,000 to the Boy Scouts of America, Great Smoky Mountain Council, to go toward the Great Smoky Mountain Council Capital Campaign, which supports capital development projects at Camp Buck Toms and Camp Pellissippi.

At left, Joey Andrews, Pellissippi district executive and Larry Brown, Scout executive, accept the contribution from Bill Klemm, B&W Y-12 deputy general manager and senior vice president of Operations, and Paul Wasilko, deputy manager, Uranium Processing Facility Programs and also BSA Pellissippi district chairman.

This money is in addition to a $5,000 B&W Y-12 corporate contribution (and individual employee contributions of $4,100) made in February, bringing B&W Y-12's total contribution for this year to $34,100.

 

Apr 5, 2012 at 9:00 am

NNSA is working with a small group of interested companies to further develop their approaches in support of potential reuse opportunities for the Bannister Federal Complex in south Kansas City.

In October 2011, the NNSA issued a Notice of Availability for the transfer, sale, or lease of its property at the Bannister Federal Complex. As a result, the NNSA received a substantial response from various companies, which included redevelopment plans that extended beyond the bounds of the NNSA property to include the GSA property. The current proposals include plans for the entire Complex, including NNSA’s portion and the portion owned by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA).

NNSA, with GSA as a cooperating agency, is currently working on a National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) study, which is analyzing multiple disposition plans related to the Bannister Federal Complex. Under NEPA, the study will consider the impact of each proposed federal action on the quality of the human environment.

Consistent with the NEPA process, NNSA will work with the small group of companies to further develop their approaches in support of potential reuse opportunities. This approach allows conceptual design and feasibility studies to be performed while not limiting the choice of reasonable alternatives available to the agency.

Apr 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm

NNSA BlogSavannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC (SRNS), in partnership with the Society of Women Engineering and The Ruth Patrick Science Education Center, recently extended invitations to middle schools throughout the greater Aiken-Augusta area to select young women to participate in this year’s “Introduce A Girl To Engineering Day.”

Each participating school selected and sent to this event three female students  who have shown an interest in a career involving engineering. The event is part of a greater effort designed to help area students take small steps toward easing the shortage of workers skilled in engineering disciplines. 

During the day-long event, the participants also had an opportunity to interact with women currently working in various fields of science, technology and engineering. In addition, each received a special gift for attending.

The primary goals of these outreach programs are to enhance interest in science, mathematics, engineering and technology and to support improvements in education in the Central Savannah River Area by using the unique resources available at the Site.

The DOE Savannah River Operations Office provides a variety of science and literacy outreach programs at the Savannah River Site by funding and coordinating the efforts of several organizations.

Apr 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm

NNSA BlogGlenn York, cyber security specialist at the Los Alamos Site Office (LASO), has been named a fellow in the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) and recognized as a distinguished leader in the information security community.

York serves on the cyber security team for LASO’s Safeguards and Security office. Prior to joining LASO, he worked as a senior IT security engineer and team lead contractor at LASO. As a contractor, he led a team of three guiding an effort of 150 people in revising IT security policies and accrediting 67 unique systems in less than a year.

The ISSA, of which York has been a member since 2003, is the community of choice for international cyber security professionals dedicated to advancing individual growth, managing technology risk and protecting critical information and infrastructure. ISSA has more than 10,000 members in 150 chapters worldwide.

York has worked tirelessly over the years to raise quality and quantity of Information Security college courses, as well as promote participation in professional organizations.

York founded and serves as president of the Northern New Mexico Chapter of the ISSA. He is currently leading the planning effort for the Information Technology Security Summit New Mexico, scheduled for May 3, 2012, at Santa Fe Community College. The one-day conference will offer IT and information assurance professionals and entrepreneurs from all industries the opportunity to learn about the latest computer security trends, to network with peers, and to share remediation strategies.

Apr 2, 2012 at 2:00 am

Guy painter  Girl painter

A number of Pantexans volunteered Friday, March 30, to help renovate two Habitat for Humanity homes in Amarillo, Texas. B&W Pantex provided breakfast and lunch for the volunteers, who were encouraged to bring family members to help with the homes. Workers spent most of the day painting the exteriors, and also helped with other small jobs. Pantexans have built or helped with six Habitat homes, working alongside eventual homeowners.

Mar 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory's biggest magnet facility recently produced magnetic fields in excess of 100 tesla while conducting six different experiments. The hundred-tesla level is roughly equivalent to 2 million times Earth's magnetic field.

The team used the 100-tesla pulsed, multi-shot magnet, a combination of seven coils sets weighing nearly 18,000 pounds and powered by a massive 1,200-megajoule motor generator. There are higher magnetic fields produced elsewhere, but the magnets that create such fields blow themselves to bits in the process. The system at Los Alamos is instead designed to work nondestructively, in the intense 100-tesla realm, on a regular basis.

To read more about the work see: http://www.lanl.gov/news/releases/magnetic_field_researchers_target_hundred_tesla_goal.html

To see the video go to: http://www.lanl.gov/news/stories/magnet-lab-video.html

Mar 30, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Japan RSL

The Consul General Of Japan, San Francisco Counsel, Hiroshi Inomata (center) is pictured with members of the Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL), Las Vegas, who responded to the Japanese earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Inomata honored the group at a reception recently in Las Vegas. The group was cited for their service to Japan and the people of Japan. Federal and contractor staff from the RSL responded and provided radiological data to support the Japanese as they made crucial health and safety decisions to protect their citizens in the wake of Fukishima Diachi nuclear power plant emergency. Also pictured, far left, is Stephen A. Mellington, Manager Nevada Site Office. 

Mar 30, 2012 at 1:00 pm

Seoul, South Korea: U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu today joined Dr Bernard Bigot, head of French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, Mrs. Joelle Milquet, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr. Uri Rosenthal from the Netherlands in announcing their common understanding to help minimize the use of highly enriched uranium (HEU) in the production of medical isotopes.


(Note: This blog post has been cross-posted from the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy)

Every year 30 million people around the world undergo medical diagnostic procedures that use the radioactive isotope technetium-99 metastable (Tc-99m), which is the most commonly used medical radioisotope.  The Tc-99m procedures include tests that can tell doctors how well the heart is functioning, whether cancer is present, and other critical medical information.  Of the 30 million Tc-99m procedures conducted worldwide every year, over half are performed in the United States. 

Tc-99m is derived from molybdenum-99 (Mo-99).  Most of the world’s supply of Mo-99 is produced today in nuclear reactors where targets containing highly-enriched uranium (HEU) are irradiated and subsequently processed into pure Mo-99.  But HEU is a very dangerous substance and is one of the materials slated to be secured under the President’s four-year lock-down agenda.  These dangers were central to the work plan of the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit.  Luckily, new technology is allowing Mo-99 to be produced without using HEU, andmost of the world is in the process of converting to non-HEU-based technology. 

The United States Government is deeply committed to both a reliable supply of the critical medical radioisotope Mo-99 and eliminating the use of HEU in its production.  To balance these two goals, high-level officials of Belgium, France, the Netherlands and the United States announced this week during the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul a commitment to a set of activities designed to concurrently minimize the use of HEU and ensure a reliable supply of medical radioisotopes for patients worldwide.  The four countries agreed, subject to regulatory approvals, to support conversion of European Mo-99 production facilities  to non-HEU-based processes by 2015.  The quadrilateral statement can be found at http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/pressreleases/jointquadleu32712, and a fact sheet on the statement is provided at http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/factsheets/heuminimization

As announced at the Summit, in the interest to ensure uninterrupted production of Mo-99, the United States is prepared to supply the European isotope producers with limited quantities of HEU target material.  To minimize HEU in their countries, Belgium, France, and the Netherlands will eliminate HEU scrap material in their ownership that is no longer suitable for Mo-99 production by recycling or disposing of this scrap material with the support of the United States and other countries. 

As part of efforts to minimize HEU use in Mo-99 production, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA, a semiautonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy) works with existing, large-scale international producers to assist in the conversion of their Mo-99 production facilities from the use of HEU targets to low enriched uranium (LEU) targets. These efforts are part of the NNSA Global Threat Reduction Initiative’s mission to minimize and, to the extent possible, eliminate the use of HEU in civilian applications worldwide.  The NNSA has also partnered with four U.S. domestic commercial entities to accelerate the establishment of a diverse, reliable supply of non-HEU-based Mo-99 within the United States.  The NNSA cooperative agreement partners include Babcock and Wilcox Technical Services Group to develop LEU solution reactor technology; General Electric Hitachi Nuclear Energy to develop neutron capture technology; NorthStar Medical Radioisotopes, LLC. to develop accelerator technology; and the Morgridge Institute for Research to develop accelerator technology with LEU fission.  For more on NNSA’s efforts to minimize HEU use in Mo-99 production, see http://www.nnsa.energy.gov/mediaroom/factsheets/factsheet20100125

A very challenging issue in the current Mo-99 market is below-cost Mo-99 supplies caused by direct foreign government support to the current Mo-99 industry.  The prohibitively low cost of Mo-99 undermines the ability of the current international producers to convert from HEU targets to LEU targets, and challenges the ability for new producers to enter the Mo-99 supply chain to replace the aging infrastructure.  In order to develop a reliable supply of Mo-99, the market must transition to full cost recovery.

OSTP will continue to work with US Government departments and agencies to ensure a reliable supply of non-HEU-based Mo-99; speed the conversion of existing Mo-99 production processes to those that no longer use HEU; and move the industry to an economically-sustainable model that does not rely on government subsidies to produce the isotope.

John J. Szymanski is a Senior Policy Analyst at the Office of Science and Technology and Parrish Staples is the Director of the Office of European and African Threat Reduction, National Nuclear Security Administration

Mar 28, 2012 at 2:00 pm