Working at temperatures matching the interior of the sun, researchers at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine have been able to determine experimentally iron’s role in inhibiting energy transmission from the center of the sun to near the edge of its radiative band.

Sandia’s Z machine creates the temperature of the sun’s interior —about 2.1 million degrees —in a target about the size of a grain of sand. From that small sample, Sandia researchers can do what theorists cannot: hold in a hand tangible evidence for the way iron atoms behave inside stars.

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NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
Physicist Jim Bailey of Sandia National Laboratories observes a wire array that will heat foam to roughly 4 million degrees until it emits a burst of X-rays that heats a foil target to the interior conditions of the sun.

Jan 15, 2015 at 11:00 am

Training of first responders on the hazards of radiological and nuclear threats has been challenged by the difficulties of adequately representing those threats. 

Training against such threats would involve the use of hazardous, highly radioactive materials, experiencing actual radiation doses in training, or require the distribution of radioactive material over a large geographical area. To avoid these issues, surrogate radioactive materials have been used in training exercises. However, these materials do not accurately represent real threats due to their non-hazardous size and inability to be geographically distributed.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have solved the problem by developing a new technology that provides realistic radiation detection training by directly injecting simulated radiation signals into the analog amplifier of the real detectors used by first responders and inspectors. 

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NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
The LLNL Spectroscopic Injection Pulser prototype directly injects signals into radiation detection equipment, exactly like a real radiation source. This laboratory-scale prototype will support miniaturization to something near the size of a cellphone.

Jan 14, 2015 at 4:00 pm

NNSA BlogNNSA Sandia Field Office Facility Representative Erwin Hoo provided NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz a tour of the Annular Core Research Reactor (ACRR) at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque on Jan. 13.

The ACRR is a mission critical asset – the only remaining NNSA capability for high-power, short pulse environments needed to simulate nuclear weapons effects on full-scale systems. This test capability is critical to science-based weapons design and certification.

The ACRR is a pool-type research reactor (Hazard Category 2 Nuclear Facility) that has been in operation since the 1970s and has conducted more than 10,000 operations.

Jan 14, 2015 at 2:00 pm

Family members of former Y-12 Plant Manager Jack Case (1967-1982) recently stopped by the Jack Case Center at Y-12 to check out a new display of a few of his items, some donated by them and others brought out of the Y-12 historical archives. Brothers Larry and Patrick, along with sister Linda Fellers, donated the artifacts and some valuable historic information about their father to help the keepers of Y-12’s history share the legacy of the building’s namesake.

Artifacts of Case’s include his retirement certificate, his pen set and his umbrella from his office in the old administration building 9704-2, and a bust of Case that was a birthday present from the wife of a long-time co-worker.

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Check out the history of Jack Case and his architectural namesake here.

NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
Jack Case’s granddaughter Michelle Hurst points out to her mother Linda Fellers and uncle Patrick Case that the artist who created the bust of her grandfather “pretty well nailed it on the likeness.” The family loaned a number of Case’s personal articles, including the bust given to him as a birthday present by a friend’s wife who was a ceramics artist.

Jan 8, 2015 at 1:00 pm

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 4:00 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 5:00 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 2:00 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 12:00 pm

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


Dec 18, 2014 at 3:00 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 5:39 pm