NNSA Blog

A group of explosives experts have been honored with a Defense Programs Award of Excellence for their help in securing supply of a critical material for the Departments of Energy and Defense.

The four Pantexans, Tod Botcher, Tony Dutton, Ken Franklin and Kathy Mitchell, played a leadership role in a Defense Logistics Agency team that was tasked with developing a supply of a type of high explosives (HE) that has been out of production for 30 years. The Pantex contributors applied expertise developed over decades of work with HE; expertise that made Pantex the DOE’s HE Center of Excellence for Manufacturing.

The HE, known as Triaminotrinitrobenzene (TATB), is used by both the DOD and DOE in conventional and nuclear weapons. TATB was produced in large quantities in the 1970s and 1980s. With a large stockpile on hand, production ceased. Increased usage by the military and by NNSA in nuclear Life Extension Programs meant the supply was expected to be insufficient in the coming years.

Pantex had previously synthesized TATB and participated in scaling up the process for commercial production of the explosives in the 1980s, so the Pantex team had a key role to fill in managing the process of finding a new supplier. Once it is qualified, full production of TATB will take place at Holston Army Ammunition Plant in Tennessee.

The DP Award was presented by NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brig. General James C. Dawkins Jr.

About the photo:
NNSA Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for Military Application Brig. General James C. Dawkins Jr., center, presents a Defense Programs Award of Excellence to Kathy Mitchell and Tod Botcher. The two awardees, along with fellow Pantexans Tony Dutton and Ken Franklin, were recognized for managing a team that helped procure a new source for a key type of High Explosive that had been out of production for 30 years.

NNSA honors Pantex explosives experts

Mar 12, 2014 at 1:00 pm

On Feb. 28, 1949, during Harry S. Truman's Presidency, the Bendix Corporation signed a prime contract to operate the Kansas City Plant for the Atomic Energy Commission. Today, the Kansas City Plant is celebrating 65 years of delivering on its national security mission and nearing the end of one of the largest industrial moves in the nation to the new state-of-the-art National Security Campus.

KCP operations began 65 years ago today

Feb 27, 2014 at 5:00 pm

This week, NNSA brought together researchers from various academic programs to report on their accomplishments over the past year and promote interaction in areas of physical science relevant to stockpile stewardship.

Sponsored by NNSA's Office of Research, Development, Test, and Evaluation, the symposium is geared toward NNSA-supported researchers with grants or cooperative agreements as part of the Stewardship Science Academic Alliances (SSAA) Program, the High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas (HEDLP) Program, the National Laser Users' Facility (NLUF) Program and the Predictive Science Academic Alliance Program (PSAAP).

One of the goals of the symposium is to highlight accomplishments of the academic programs and encourage student and postdoctoral researcher involvement and interaction with the scientific community.

Presentations on topics of general interest were given by national lab participants. All presentations and discussions were unclassified. In addition, students and post-docs highlighted their work during a poster reception. 

About the photos:
Bruce Held, Acting Administrator and Acting Undersecretary for Nuclear Security, spoke at the Stewardship Science Academic Programs Annual Review Symposium and met with various participants during the poster presentation.

NNSA's holds Stewardship Science Academic Programs Annual Review Symposium

NNSA's holds Stewardship Science Academic Programs Annual Review Symposium

Feb 20, 2014 at 5:00 pm

Sandia National Laboratories’ engineer Greg White has been chosen as one of the 2014 New Faces of Engineering, a recognition program that highlights the work of engineers under the age of 30.

The award is sponsored by the DiscoverE Foundation (formerly the National Engineers Week Foundation), a coalition of engineering societies, major corporations and government agencies.

Read more.

Sandia’s Greg White chosen as a New Face of Engineering 2014

Feb 20, 2014 at 11:00 am

Dona Crawford, Associate Director for Computation at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, has been selected as a member of the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST).

The council is an assembly of corporate CEOs, academics, scientists and scholars who are leaders in their respective fields. CCST members provide expert counsel on the science and technology issues facing California. CCST was formed more than 20 years ago as an independent body to advise the legislature and state agencies on technical issues.

Crawford says many of the challenges California faces, such as energy, environment and cyber security, are also national concerns that are the focus of Livermore missions.

See more.

Livermore’s Crawford selected for California Council on Science and Technology

Feb 19, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Matthew Brake, Adrian Chavez, Seth Root and Daniel Stick have been named by President Barack Obama as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE is the highest honor the U.S. government gives outstanding scientists and engineers who are beginning their careers.

Read more.

About the photo:
Sandia researchers, left to right, Adrian Chavez, Matthew Brake, Seth Root and Daniel Stick will be recognized in a ceremony later this year as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Award for Science and Engineering. (Photo by Randy Montoya)

White House Honors Four Early-Career Sandia Researchers

Feb 18, 2014 at 4:00 pm

This week marks the fifth anniversary of NNSA’s Alarm Response Training (ART) program for local law enforcement and other critical first responders around the country. In the five years of providing this course, NNSA has trained more than 3,000 on-site radiation safety and security personnel, local law enforcement officers, and other first responders on how to respond to a security incident involving nuclear or radiological materials.

Fifth Anniversary of Radiological Alarm Response Training

The three-day course is held at NNSA’s Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tenn. While at Y-12, participants develop and discuss their own tactics, techniques, procedures, and protocols for responding to a theft or sabotage event involving radioactive materials. After two days of classroom instruction, Y-12 experts facilitate live-action scenarios in which participants get to test their knowledge and exercise their revised response plans.

The ART program is a key component of NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI), which works domestically with volunteer sites like hospitals, universities, and industry as well as state and local governments to install sustainable security enhancements for high-priority nuclear and radiological materials.

Fifth Anniversary of Radiological Alarm Response Training

GTRI achieves permanent threat reduction by converting research reactors and isotope production facilities from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium, removing and disposing of excess nuclear and radiological materials, and protecting high priority nuclear and radiological materials from theft and sabotage.

For a fact sheet on NNSA’s GTRI program, click here.

Feb 12, 2014 at 4:00 pm

The Future City New Mexico Competition, a unique opportunity for middle school children to use their skills in engineering, planning, writing and art to create a vision for the future, was recently held. Learning about how town infrastructures are built and how resources are shared is essential for ensuring sustainable growth for our communities. More than 70 students from 22 New Mexico schools participated in this event. The winning team was Xenex City from Albuquerque Academy. The program is sponsored in part by Sandia National Laboratories and the National Nuclear Science & History Museum.

New Mexico competition helps students learn about infrastructure of towns

Feb 12, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Companies from around the Central Savannah River Area had the opportunity to learn from the Savannah  River Site’s continuous improvement success stories when SRS management and operations contractor Savannah River Nuclear Solutions hosted the regional Lean Alliance event. The Lean Alliance is a membership-based group of area companies that share best practices in continuous improvement.

One of the success stories presented was an initiative by the Savannah River Tritium Enterprise to right-size and organize its chemical inventory – an effort that reduced the number of chemicals by 95%, which in turn significantly reduced the amount of time involved in the annual chemical inventory for a cost savings of $18,282. Other presentations covered SRNS’ award-winning employee suggestion program, called IDEAS, and several other continuous improvement initiatives.

Savannah River Site hosts regional Lean Alliance event

Feb 12, 2014 at 11:00 am

KCP’s Carey honored as 2014 Black Achiever

Anthony Carey is not just focused on developing the next generation of Test Systems for our nation’s military; he’s also focused on developing the next generation of young leaders.

A Technical Manager for the Kansas City Plant, Anthony was honored Jan. 16 at the annual Black Achievers Society of Kansas City event for his leadership both in the workplace and in the community. 

The Kansas City Black Achiever’s Society is comprised of nearly 500 African-American businessmen and women who were nominated by their employers over the past 39 years as exemplary leaders in their corporate roles as well as their commitment to the social, economic and educational development of area youth.

In addition to teaching strategic thinking to interns at INROADS (a national nonprofit dedicated to preparing youth for corporate and community leadership), Anthony also mentors high schoolers through PREP KC (a Kansas City-based organization), and coaches soccer, basketball and softball youth teams. As an Engineering Advisory Board Member for Shawnee Mission South high school, he helped determine engineering based academic curriculum for students that support FIRST Robotics and other national events. He also participates in various local community charities including the local Knights of Columbus chapter.

Feb 10, 2014 at 12:00 pm