For homeowners around the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas, occasional shockwaves and loud booms from test explosions are a normal part of life.
A group of those neighbors got a rare chance last week to visit Pantex and find out how high explosives (HE) testing helps Pantex accomplish its critical mission of ensuring the capability of the United States’ nuclear weapons stockpile.
Pantex officials invited the neighbors as part of the Plant’s ongoing efforts to maintain positive relationships with nearby landowners. Pantex regularly conducts test shots of HE to ensure that HE in the nation’s stockpile remains reliable. Neighbors are informed when test shots are scheduled, but they’ve never gotten to see one up close before.
Explosives experts had already planned a demonstration as part of an ongoing effort to train new employees on the capabilities and characteristics of HE. Neighbors were allowed to observe the demonstration, then talk to experts from the Explosives Technology Division about the types of testing that go on at Pantex.
About the photos:
Pantex neighbors got a rare chance to visit Pantex and find out about how high explosives testing helps Pantex meet its mission.
Bottom: Monty Cates, Division Manager for Explosives Technology at Pantex, discusses the High Explosives work done at Pantex during a lunch with visiting neighbors of the Plant.
Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman led his band, “Yellow Cake,” at a DOE Feeds Families event today. The event was the beginning of the August kick-off to DOE’s final push to meet or beat the goal of collecting 212,000 pounds of non-perishable items by August 30.
DOE and NNSA employees can participate throughout August by dropping off non-perishable food, household items and hygiene products in boxes located throughout the Forrestal, Germantown and L’Enfant buildings or at field offices. Collected items will be donated to local food banks and distributed to those in need.
About the photos:
Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman led his band, “Yellow Cake,” at a DOE Feeds Family event today.
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz talks to Richard Veliz, a DOE intern, during the DOE Feeds Family event today.
Bruce Held, NNSA Acting Administrator and Acting Undersecretary for Nuclear Security, spent time at Sandia National Laboratories yesterday and spoke with employees during a special all hands talk. Held discussed his plans as acting administrator. Prior to his time as director of DOE’s Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Held served as Chief of Counterintelligence at Sandia.
NNSA’s Defense Programs (DP) is doing its part to support DOE’s Feeds Families campaign with weekly “Two Can Tuesdays.” Each week DP employees are asked to bring in two cans of food each Tuesday.
DOE and NNSA employees can participate throughout the summer by dropping off non-perishable food, household items, and hygiene products in boxes located throughout the Forrestal, Germantown and L’Enfant buildings or at field offices. DOE’s goal is to meet or beat the goal of collecting 212,000 pounds of non-perishable items by August 30. The items will be donated to local food banks and distributed to those in need in our communities.
During his first visit to the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as the acting NNSA Administrator and acting Undersecretary for Nuclear Security, Bruce Held spoke with employees during a special all hands talk yesterday.
Held spoke on three issues: why a former spy was selected for this position; safety culture surveys with important implications for management; and how to address governance of the Department of Energy enterprise in a healthy, sustained fashion.
NNSA Graduate Fellow Matt Kaspar (from left to right) and NNSA Interns Dominic Cisneros, Leah Cristobal, Aaron Avrakotos, Toni Carrasco, Omar Flores and Paulo Huelgas visited Sandia National Laboratories yesterday for tours of the Z Pulsed Power Facility and the Microsystems & Engineering Sciences Applications Complex. They were also provided the opportunity to view displays and demonstrations of Sandia technologies related to homeland security, homeland defense and nonproliferation and assessment during their visit.
Acting NNSA Administrator and Acting Undersecretary for Nuclear Security Bruce Held visited the Y-12 National Security Complex last week. Held toured the site and conducted an all hands meeting at the site's New Hope Center addressing federal and contractor employees. In the picture on the left, Held (center) is accompanied to the all hands meeting by NNSA Production Office Manager Steve Erhart (left) and Captain Geoffrey deBeauclair, Held's military aide.
After nearly a seven-year effort, Savannah River Tritium Enterprise (SRTE) operations formally adopted a new replacement for the system that tracks tritium reservoirs throughout their lifecycle. NNSA, SRTE and Savannah River National Laboratory all rely on the system’s data to manage reservoir processing, account for controlled material and maintain a reliable reservoir inventory.
The previous Automated Reservoir Management System (ARMS) was based on hardware and software architecture that were approaching obsolescence, prompting a multi-year project to implement its modernized replacement: ARMS II. Over the course of the project, SRTE performed three separate phases of software testing and obtained cooperation from across the NNSA Nuclear Security Enterprise to enable a four-week facility outage to complete the implementation.
About the photo:
Mary Leslie Rhoden of SRTE reviews the ARMS II project schedule.
Don Felske, Walter Dekin and Sean Ford, all from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, have traveled to the corners of the globe to train as on-site surrogate inspectors for the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO). Training has been held in Austria, Jordan, South Korea and Hungary.
Of the five U.S. surrogate inspectors selected for the international program by the CTBTO in 2010, three were from Lawrence Livermore. Dekin and Felske, both of Engineering, were chosen because they are among the few weapons lab researchers with nuclear explosive test experience (the United States has not conducted nuclear explosive tests since 1992). A geophysicist by training, Ford was selected for his expertise in seismology -- a skill essential to detecting illicit underground nuclear explosions.
Once the treaty goes into effect, on-site inspectors approved by the Treaty’s Conference of States Parties would serve on multi-disciplinary, multinational teams that would, under the terms of the inspection mandate, seek to clarify if a nuclear explosion had taken place in violation of the terms of the treaty.
About the photo:
Left to right: Don Felske, Sean Ford and Walter Dekin of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have trained as on-site surrogate inspectors for the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization.
NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook and Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Applications Brigadier General James Dawkins visited Sandia National Laboratories yesterday. During their visit, they met with employees to discuss the technical challenges facing the management of the nation’s stockpile stewardship program. The discussion focused on the ongoing need for exceptional science, technology and engineering at the national laboratories in order to be able to continue to conduct the annual assessment and certification of the safety, security, performance and effectiveness of each weapon system without underground nuclear testing.