NNSA Blog

NNSA BlogLt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator, and Madelyn Creedon, NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator, this week visited the Idaho National Laboratory including the Naval Reactors Facility, where they were hosted by Admiral John Richardson, Deputy Administrator for Naval Reactors.

Klotz and Creedon observed operations at the existing spent fuel handling facility, known as the Expended Core Facility (ECF), a 55-year-plus-old facility. This facility, which is need of replacement, supports the Navy’s nuclear powered surface ships and submarines. Naval Reactors personnel discussed the plans for the replacement facility, currently scheduled to begin operations in 2025.

The Naval Reactors Facility is the site of the first ever nuclear power plant designed to operate aboard a submarine, and has continued to play a vital role in the nation's ability to design, build, and dispose of nuclear reactors for submarines and aircraft carriers. Now, NR’s primary activities at the facility include examining, processing and preparing naval spent nuclear fuel for long-term dry storage. 

The new facility will incorporate the capabilities for naval spent nuclear fuel handling that currently exist in the ECF and its support facilities. Additionally, a major portion of this new facility will provide needed capability, which does not exist in the ECF, to handle full length aircraft carrier naval spent fuel received in new M-290 shipping containers. The current facility and its replacement are vital to national security. A long term interruption of refueling and defueling schedules for nuclear-powered vessels, as required by existing maintenance schedules, would jeopardize operational availability of the nuclear fleet to fulfill military missions worldwide.

Klotz and Creedon also met with members of the Idaho National Laboratory. The lab has a long history in the nuclear energy area and its growing expertise in new threat areas such as cyber security; make it an important nonproliferation partner for NNSA. By developing and testing alternative low enriched uranium fuels, INL provides critical support that enables NNSA to convert reactors from highly enriched uranium to LEU.

NNSA BlogHEU minimization is one of President Obama’s hallmark policies and INL's support is central to the substantial success NNSA has had in developing LEU fuels. Because of some unique facilities at INL, the lab has also emerged as a leader in cyber security and is the lab co-chair of the NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation joint HQ-lab cyber task force. In addition, INL conducts work on radiation detection methods for nuclear nonproliferation, safeguards, and treaty verification, and supports other treaty verification technologies. 

Jan 8, 2015 at 3:00 am

NNSA BlogNNSA today announced the removal of 36 kilograms (approximately 80 pounds) of highly enriched uranium (HEU) spent fuel from the Institute of Nuclear Physics (INP) in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The HEU was transported via two air shipments to a secure facility in Russia for permanent disposition. This complex operation was the culmination of a multi-year effort between the United States, Kazakhstan, Russia and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

In September 2014, approximately 10 kilograms (approximately 22 pounds) of HEU fresh fuel was returned to Russia from the INP. The HEU was shipped to a facility in Russia where it will be down-blended to low enriched uranium (LEU). 

Read more.

Jan 7, 2015 at 4:00 pm

NNSA BlogNNSA has reached 104 percent of its Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) target total of $174,078. 

Mark Roman, NNSA CFC Senior Coordinator, says NNSA employees may be justifiably proud of their generosity in reaching this important milestone. Their contributions provide the means for charities and other tax-exempt organizations to carry out their great work. All CFC contributions strengthen the national well-being, benefiting ourselves and families, as well as our friends, colleagues and communities.

NNSA employees were able to choose from among more than 20,000 tax-exempt organizations. Organizations represented various fields such as medical research, education, environment, recreation and sports, civil rights and science and technology.

In New Mexico, DOE and NNSA resources were pooled into a single grouping in the central and northern part of the state. This group covered Los Alamos Field Office, Sandia Field Office, the NNSA ABQ Complex, Office of Secure Transportation including its Agent Operations Western Command, and the DOE National Training Center. The state came very close to its ambitious goal of $256,000 with more than $235,000 in donations.

Jan 5, 2015 at 1:00 pm

A Memorandum of Understanding was recently penned by Consolidated Nuclear Security and the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, will expand existing collaborations while making the country safer and more secure. CNS and the university collaborate in areas ranging from joint research to analyzing business operations and pushing more technologies into the private sector.

The partnership between the university and the Y‑12 National Security Complex, which began in 2011, combines the leading research talents of the university with Y‑12's successful track record in technology development and application that bolsters national security. Through CNS, the agreement now also incorporates the Pantex Plant in Amarillo, Texas.

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NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
UT Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek (left) and CNS President and CEO Jim Haynes sign a Memorandum of Understanding to expand collaboration between the university and CNS. Joining them for the signing are Dr. Taylor Eighmy, UT Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement, and Tom Berg, CNS Director of Technology Development and Technology Transfer (right). Photo by Brett Pate.

Dec 22, 2014 at 11:00 am

Employees donate bikes, toys, time, cash for Toys for Tots

Employees at the Nevada National Security Site have outdone themselves again this year by collecting 123 bicycles and 17 barrels of toys for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign. The items will be distributed to children in the Las Vegas, Nev., area.

Last year the Marine Corps fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of 6.8 million less fortunate children in 762 communities nationwide. Since 1947 more than 223 million children have been assisted.NNSA Blog

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Dec 18, 2014 at 2:00 pm

NNSA BlogDOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz today presented Dr. Don Cook, NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs, with a NNSA Certificate of Service in recognition of five years of dedicated federal service.

Dr. Cook was appointed to the Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs position by President Obama. Cook was sworn in as NNSA’s 5th Deputy Administrator in June 2010. He is responsible for managing the U.S. nuclear security enterprise of laboratories and manufacturing facilities.

Prior to his appointment to NNSA, Dr. Cook served as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Atomic Weapons Establishment in the United Kingdom from 2006 to 2009. From 1977-2005, he worked in Pulsed Power Sciences, Microtechnologies, Infrastructure, and Security at Sandia National Laboratories.

Dec 17, 2014 at 4:39 pm

Sandia researchers are tackling one of the biggest barriers to the use of robots in emergency response: energy efficiency.

The researchers are developing technology that will dramatically improve the endurance of legged robots, helping them operate for long periods while performing the types of locomotion most relevant to disaster response scenarios.

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NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
Steve Buerger is leading the Sandia project to demonstrate how energy efficient biped walking robots could become. Increased efficiency could enable bots to operate for much longer periods of time without recharging batteries, an important factor in emergency situations. Photo by Randy Montoya.

Watch a video describing the early development and initial integration of the Sandia Transmission Efficient Prototype Promoting Research (STEPPR) robot. 

Dec 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

NNSA BlogDr. Wendy Pemberton, a scientist from the Nevada National Security Site, recently served as a key trainer for a chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) first responder program in the Czech Republic. 

The primary goal of the course was to ensure that first responders such as police officers, fire fighters and paramedics have a common knowledge base and a basic level of preparedness when responding to CBRN incidents.

Watch the video to see how Dr. Pemberton is helping to make the world a safer place.

Dec 16, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Physics World, an international monthly magazine published by the Institute of Physics, has named the National Ignition Facility’s (NIF) achievement of fuel gain one of its top 10 breakthroughs of the year.

NIF — the world’s largest and most energetic laser —  is funded by NNSA and is a key element of NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Program to maintain the effectiveness and safety of the U.S. nuclear deterrent without full-scale testing.

Ignition — the process of releasing fusion energy equal to or greater than the amount of energy used to confine the fuel — has long been considered the "holy grail" of inertial confinement fusion science. 

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About the photo:
NIF’s target chamber is where the magic happens – temperatures of 100 million degrees and pressures extreme enough to compress the target to densities up to 100 times the density of lead are created there. Photo by Damien Jemison/LLNL.

Dec 16, 2014 at 11:00 am

Los Alamos National Laboratory has named five new Fellows this week. The honorees this year are Christopher L. Fryer, Herbert O. Funsten, John C. Gordon, Jaqueline L. Kiplinger and David S. Moore.

The Fellows are selected for sustained, high-level achievements in programs of importance to LANL and a fundamental or important discovery that has led to widespread use. In addition, the Fellows are selected for having become a recognized authority in the field, including outside recognition and an outstanding record of publications.

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NNSA Blog(From top) Christopher L. Fryer, Jaqueline L. Kiplinger, Herbert O. Funsten, John C. Gordon, and David S. Moore.

Dec 15, 2014 at 11:29 am