Last night, the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC broke the news of NNSA’s latest achievement – removing all remaining weapons-usable material from Mexico. Through a trilateral agreement, the US, Mexico and Canada worked to convert Mexican research reactors to use low enriched uranium, removed all remaining spent and fresh HEU and provided Mexico with LEU to continue reactor operations. This achievement is a key deliverable from the 2010 Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C. and a crucial step in achieving the President’s nuclear security agenda to “secure vulnerable nuclear material world wide” within four years.
NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino appeared live last night to break the news with Rachel Maddow. Full video below. Video extras and behind-the-scenes footage can be found on Rachel Maddow’s blog.
A juvenile bobcat, born last year, sits outside a building at the Pantex Plant last week. Three breeding females make their home at Pantex, ranging across the site’s 18,000 acres and beyond. The smallest bobcat range encompasses an area of 15 square miles.
Pantex maintains an active Wildlife biology program, tracking and conserving various animal species on the plant site. As part of this program, and in collaboration with West Texas A&M University, Pantex tracks the bobcats using radio collars and ear tags. A female bobcat will give birth to a litter of three or four kittens every year, using cover provided on the plant to protect the kittens from predators, according to Jim Ray, plant wildlife biologist.
NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino recently participated in the dedication of operational startup of a new $795 million renewable energy fueled facility at the Savannah River Site, in Aiken, S.C. The administrator joined U.S. Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC) and other senior officials from the Department of Energy and Ameresco, Inc., a leading energy efficiency and renewable energy company, in the dedication.
The 34-acre SRS Biomass Cogeneration Facility is the culmination of 30-months and more than 600,000 hours of labor. The project sustained and created an estimated 800 jobs, spanning the mechanical, construction, engineering, and supplier sectors. Fully operational, the plant will support 25 fulltime jobs onsite and support the local logging community.
This project is also the single largest renewable Energy Savings Performance Contract (ESPC) in the nation’s history. ESPCs are contracts in which private companies finance, install, and maintain new energy- and water efficient equipment at federal facilities.
The SRS Biomass Cogeneration Facility replaced a deteriorating and inefficient 1950s-era coal powerhouse and oil-fired boilers, and will generate an estimated $944 million in savings in energy, operation and maintenance costs over the duration of the contract.
To read more about the facility see: http://www.srs.gov/general/news/releases/nr12_doe-biomass-startup.pdf
Sidney Drell, a member of the LLNL/Lawrence Livermore National Security (LLC) Board of Governors, is the recipient of the NNSA Administrator's Gold Medal of Excellence for Distinguished Service, the highest honorary award granted by the NNSA.
NNSA Administrator Thomas D'Agostino presented the award to Drell in recognition of his many years of exceptional contributions to Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, NNSA, DOE, and the nation.
Drell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and professor of theoretical physics (emeritus) at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Stanford University. Drell, who served as SLAC's deputy director until retiring in 1998, has been active as an adviser to the executive and legislative branches of government on national security and defense technical issues. He is a founding member of JASON, a group of academic scientists who consult for the government on issues of national importance.
To read more about Drell see: https://www.llnl.gov/news/aroundthelab/2012/Mar/ATL-031312_drell.html
Juan L. Griego has been named as the Deputy Site Manager for Los Alamos Field Office (LASO) and his appointment to the Senior Executive Service. As the Deputy Site Manager, Griego will serve as the Chief Operating Officer for LASO and will be responsible for overall LANL contractor performance oversight and evaluation.
Griego’s federal Civil Service spans nearly 26 years, commencing with the Department of Energy in Los Alamos in 1986 as a project manager under the DOE Career Intern Program. Career assignments at LASO include Project Manager/Federal Project Director (FPD) for multiple LANL projects to include the initial FPD for the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Facility Replacement Project and leadership/supervisory positions as Team Lead and Branch Chief for Project Management, Team Lead for Program Integration, Assistant Manager for National Security Missions, and Acting Deputy Field Office Manager since August of 2011.
Griego is also a U.S. Army Reserve Commissioned Officer with a 29-year career in the New Mexico National Guard. Currently holding the rank of Brigadier General, he is assigned as the Land Component Commander and is responsible for more than 2,500 New Mexico Army Guardsmen, with many currently deployed overseas supporting the global war on terrorism.
As we continue our work to build a 21st Century Nuclear Security Enterprise, and as we work to continually improve how we execute our major construction and acquisition projects, we need the best people we can find to complete our mission.
Today I’m pleased to announce that John Eschenberg, currently Interim Manager of the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Office, has been tapped to lead the design and construction efforts of the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at Y-12. He will transition to the UPF design and construction project in April.
As many of you may know, UPF will replace a World War II-era system by consolidating enriched uranium operations, including assembly, disassembly, and dismantlement of nuclear weapons components. It is a key piece of NNSA’s future. It is projected to be the largest construction project in Tennessee history, and design of the UPF is approximately two-thirds complete with construction planned to begin this spring.
John is certified as a Level IV Project Manager in DOE’s Project Management Career Development Program and was recognized as the National Management Association’s Executive of the Year for 2009. Prior to his Oak Ridge assignment, he held staff and senior management roles at DOE nuclear facilities including the Hanford Site in Washington, the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
He was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Maryland system. He is a graduate of the Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Executive Management Program at the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He will transition to the UPF design and construction project in April pending formal approval by DOE/NNSA. Please welcome John to the NNSA family and help him in his new role in any way you can.
Principal Deputy Administrator
Frank Lowery has been selected as the new NNSA Deputy Associate Administrator for Defense Nuclear Security (DNS).
In this position, he will assist the DNS Associate Administrator in providing direction for all phases of the DNS mission to protect NNSA material, capabilities, facilities, information, and people, and in managing the department’s accountable nuclear material assets.
During his 30-year career in the United States Navy, Lowery has served in a wide variety of challenging assignments that have given him broad experience in policy development, radiological emergency response, nuclear engineering readiness, quality review, and fiscal project management. Most recently, he served as the chief of staff to the commander, Submarine Group Two, where he was responsible for the leadership and management of the Atlantic Fleet nuclear-powered fast attack submarines, operated as the alternate area commander in the event of a radiological or reactor incident, and served as the principal advisor to the group commander.
Over the past two days I've heard from many of you with wonderful stories about Brad Peterson. I've been touched by what he meant to so many people, and I'd like to share your thoughts with his family.
If you have a memory of Brad that you'd like to share, we've created a page on the NNSA website where you can: http://nnsa.energy.gov/rememberbrad. You can also email your thoughts to RememberBrad@nnsa.doe.gov.
I plan to have these stories compiled, printed, and presented to his family in recognition of everything he meant to NNSA. His family has been touched by the outpouring of support they've received so far, and I'm sure they'll appreciate hearing from those who knew him.
Today the MOX project reached 8,000,000 safe work hours, a new safety record for the project based at Savannah River Site in South Carolina. A typical heavy and engineering construction site in the U.S. would have 64 lost workday cases in the span of 8 million hours worked.
Last year, the MOX project launched a new safety incentive program to increase safety awareness and encourage safety performance. This newest safety milestone is evidence of the ‘safety-first’ commitment and continues to move the project forward in its mission to produce MOX fuel for commercial reactors.
Brad Peterson, a wonderful friend, stellar shipmate, and devoted public servant, passed away today after a traffic accident in Albuquerque over the weekend. Many of you worked with Brad in his numerous leadership roles within the Department and the NNSA. Over the past years he had supported Neile and me directly as Chief, Defense Nuclear Security and Associate Administrator for Defense Nuclear Security (NA-70) and more recently as Deputy to the Assistant Deputy Administrator for Secure Transportation (NA-15).
Neile and I relied heavily on Brad for his sound counsel, expertise, and for his visionary leadership and exceptional service to the nation. Those who had worked with him know that he embodied the values you would want in any supervisor, employee, or co-worker. He was a man of deep character, unparalleled integrity, and strong faith. He valued people and made it a point to lift them up, solving problems through a pervasive sense of optimism and teamwork.
Brad started at DOE in 1991 and spent his career in the nuclear security and safety arena. Prior to his time at the NNSA, he served in the Office of Defense Programs and the Office of Environment, Safety and Health as a nuclear safety engineer. He then moved to the Office of Health, Safety and Security as the Director of the Office of Cyber Security Evaluations, and ultimately the Director, Office of Independent Oversight, where he led numerous combined security, cyber security, emergency management, and safety assessments of both NNSA and DOE facilities. He had been a member of the Senior Executive Service since 2002.
As Chief, Defense Nuclear Security and Associate Administrator for Defense Nuclear Security, Brad was the driving force in our efforts to reengineer the nuclear security program within the NNSA. His focus on identifying and implementing fundamental security reforms resulted in the development of new peer review approaches and the implementation of deliberate and defendable processes to assess the threat, evaluate plausible scenarios, and create strategies to ensure the security of our Nation’s most sensitive nuclear assets. He was a reform-minded leader, and helped transform NNSA into the 21st century, integrated organization it is today. His work was so exemplary, he was awarded the Administrator’s Distinguished Service Silver Award last year and had previously been awarded the DOE’s Presidential Rank Award – Meritorious Executive.
I'm sure many of you came to know Brad through his service at the NNSA. I first met Brad on July 6, 1976 when we joined the Naval Academy along with our classmates. We were not only classmates but also in the same company for our four years at Navy and we both eventually ended up pursuing careers in the Submarine Force. During that time Brad displayed the wonderful qualities of leadership that he carried forward in every aspect of his life. Needless to say Brad had a highly distinguished career in the Navy both as an active duty submarine officer and reserve intelligence officer.
Brad was all about service and never about himself. His commitment to serve God, serve his family, and serve his country was evident to me and came out frequently in our many conversations. We talked about our children often and his commitment to service is now carried on by his three wonderful children who are each dedicated to serving just as Brad did. His daughter Claire followed in her father's footsteps and graduated from the Naval Academy in 2010. His son Josh will graduate from West Point in just a few months. And his daughter Liz graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in 2011. Their father, our friend and colleague, set an example for them that all of us should strive to maintain.
Details on a memorial service will be provided once they are available. I consider myself blessed to have known and worked with Brad.
Please keep Brad’s family in your thoughts and prayers.