Gen. Frank Klotz, Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator, earlier this week toured the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) and met with employees. During the tour, Gen. Klotz visited the Device Assembly Facility (DAF), which offers one of the safest, most secure locations anywhere in the U.S. weapons complex to conduct nuclear explosive operations. Scientists at DAF work on special nuclear material, radiation test objects, and high-explosives in support of experiments for Stockpile Stewardship and other programs.

Klotz also toured the U1a Complex which is an underground laboratory used for subcritical experiments and physics experiments that obtain technical information about the nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile. These experiments support NNSA’s Stockpile Stewardship Programs, created to maintain the safety and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile.

Read more about NNSS here. More photos of the visit are available here.

Below, Klotz listens to a briefing 960 feet underground in the U1a complex at the Nevada National Security Complex.  Leading the briefing are (left to right): Stuart Rawlinson, facility manager for the U1a complex, and Raffi Papazian, director of Defense Experimentation and Stockpile Stewardship, both from National Security Technologies.

Lt. Gen. Frank Klotz tours NNSS

May 8, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Admiral Cecil Haney, Commander, USSTRATCOM, visited Pantex Tuesday to tour various facilities and conduct an all-hands meeting with Pantex workers. Haney thanked Pantexans for the work they perform to help maintain a credible nuclear deterrent, thus ensuring the safety of the United States.

Haney briefed Pantexans about the responsibilities and capabilities of USSTRATCOM and discussed how the work done at Pantex factors into that mission. Haney said as the number of weapons in the U.S. stockpile decreases, the work done at Pantex to ensure the safety and reliability of each nuclear weapon becomes even more important.

Haney told Pantexans that although they do not wear a military uniform, the work they do to protect America is as crucial as the work done by those who do.

Admiral Haney visits Pantex

Admiral Haney visits Pantex

Admiral Haney visits Pantex

May 7, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Reaching President Obama’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons requires overcoming technical challenges in verifying disarmament. For more than a decade, the U.S. and U.K. have worked together to improve technical verification—an endeavor that balances the need to protect classified and sensitive information with the need to obtain enough data to inform the process.

Michele Smith, Deputy Director for the Warhead Dismantlement Transparency Program within NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security, recently shared technical verification lessons learned by the U.S. and U.K. over the years of their cooperative work. She was joined by Attila Burjan of the U.K. Atomic Weapons Establishment. The presentation took place in New York at a side event in conjunction with meetings of the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Smith and Burjan focused specifically on the experience the two countries gained through two exercises: one at the beginning of the U.S. and U.K. cooperation and one more recently that was a year-long monitored dismantlement exercise designed to test existing methodologies and identify areas where further development is needed. To be as realistic as possible, the recent exercise was performed in an operational nuclear facility with representative quantities of fissile material and simulated high explosives.

The full presentation slides are available here.

Additional photos are available here.

US and UK Discuss Efforts to Improve Technical Verification of Nuclear DisarmameMichele Smith, Deputy Director for the Warhead Dismantlement Transparency Program within NNSA’s Office of Nonproliferation and International Security, shares technical verification lessons learned by the U.S. and U.K. over the years of their cooperative work.

May 6, 2014 at 4:00 pm

A team of five competitors from Panhandle Junior High School capped off an eventful visit last week to the nation’s capital with a second-place finish in the electric car race competition at the National Science Bowl.

Coach Kevin Meyer said the team competed hard, but was barely edged out at the finish line of the final race.

The academic portion of the Science Bowl is supplemented each year for middle school students with a battery-powered car race that gives competitors the chance to apply their knowledge to designing a car to compete on a 20-meter track.

The Panhandle team won the right to represent the area at the national competition by besting 40 other teams in the Pantex Middle School Science Bowl competition in February. They were joined on the trip by a team from Lubbock High School, which won the high school competition.

The Department of Energy sponsors the Science Bowl competition each year to give students across the country a chance to compete in a contest of science and math knowledge. More than 50 regional competitions are conducted, with the winners having the chance to represent their area in Washington.

The members of the team are: Bradlee Brandvik, Arianna Hann, Samuel Koone, Noah Ford and Grace Kuehler.

Panhandle Junior High takes second at National Science Bowl Car Race

Panhandle Junior High takes second at National Science Bowl Car Race

Panhandle Junior High takes second at National Science Bowl Car Race

Apr 30, 2014 at 4:00 pm

Dan Krivitsky named Los Alamos Field Office Employee of the YearDan Krivitsky’s success in facilitating work between federal agencies and his efforts in counter-terrorism initiatives and Intelligence Work For Others (WFO) earned him Employee of the Year for NNSA’s Los Alamos Field Office. Krivitsky of Los Ranchos, near Albuquerque, is a member of the field office’s Security Operations Team.

He and federal employees from around the state were recognized recently at a banquet sponsored by the New Mexico Federal Executive Board.

In 2013, Krivitsky was instrumental in forming a counter-threat working group at Los Alamos National Laboratory, ensuring that disparate security and intelligence stakeholders met routinely to discuss potential threats to the laboratory. He also fostered relationships with numerous State and Federal agencies to improve the flow and expand the network of threat information providers for the Laboratory. In addition, Krivitsky is recognized for his contributions to the Intelligence WFO program. Through the WFO program, the Department of Energy and NNSA provide research and technical assistance to other federal agencies on a reimbursable, full cost recovery basis. WFO agreements are also used as a mechanism through which industry can use expertise and facilities at LANL.

Apr 30, 2014 at 2:00 pm

Sandia National Laboratories researchers Mike Cuneo and Igal Brener have been selected Fellows of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).

Cuneo was selected for “developments in inertial confinement fusion with magnetically-driven-implosions and electrode cleaning.” Over the course of his 25-year Sandia career, he has pursued the goal of pulsed-power-driven thermonuclear fusion.

Brener, who joined Sandia in 2004, was selected for “contributions to terahertz science and technology.” Projects on which he has worked include chem-bio sensing, terahertz science and devices, plasmonics, metamaterials and solid state lighting.

Read more.

IEEE honors two Sandia researchers as fellowsIEEE honors two Sandia researchers as fellows

Apr 29, 2014 at 11:00 am

DOE today celebrated Earth Day with Community Day on the DOE Pavilion. More than 20 local green exhibitors, including various DOE departments, showcased their environmental programs. Here Fred Winter and Joyce Kim promote modernizing the grid through innovative technology.

DOE celebrates Earth Day

Apr 22, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The first Kansas City Plant employees were hired in March 1949 and were faced with the task of getting the former Navy aircraft engine plant at the Bannister Federal Complex ready for its new role. First on the checklist was the removal of tons of sugar and tires being stored at the facility by a former tenant. By April 19, three machines had been wired and were ready for operation.

Three short days later, on April 21, the first part – an ordinary machined bushing – was produced. That simple part was the forerunner to the highly sophisticated and complicated components built in the years that followed.

This year, the National Nuclear Security Administration celebrates 65 years of dedication to national defense at its facilities in Kansas City, Missouri. While much has changed in the world in past six decades, KCP’s mission to deliver safe, secure, and reliable products is still the same.

KCP highlights first part production

Apr 21, 2014 at 3:00 pm

Two children of Kansas City Plant employees were among 300 students from 38 countries selected to attend the Honeywell Leadership Challenge Academy.

Moe McClarren, daughter of Honeywell Analyst Marcia McClarren, and Michael Sebelski, son of Honeywell Engineers Brian and Sheryl Sebelski attended the week-long academy in March. This unique scholarship program uses interactive technology and science-oriented workshops and team exercises to teach students leadership skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

Held at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the program engages students in team-building challenges such as building their own rockets and participating in simulated astronaut training, shuttle missions and a moon walk. Students also meet scientists, engineers, and former astronauts, who help reinforce core leadership competencies and share their first-hand experience.

Students go on moon walk at U.S. Space Center

Students go on moon walk at U.S. Space Center

Students go on moon walk at U.S. Space Center

Apr 17, 2014 at 9:00 am

Engineering has always been an in-demand skill at Pantex, and for six years, the Pantex College Pre-hire program has worked well to help meet the need. But the growing demand for employees in other hard-to-fill jobs has meant the program is branching out in a new direction.

Shane Rogers, who has managed the pre-hire program since it started in 2007, just returned from a month-long tour of seven colleges in Texas and New Mexico. In addition to engineers, Rogers was looking for scientists and IT professionals who had important knowledge they could bring to the plant.

This is the first year Rogers looked for computer science (CS) and computer information systems (CIS) majors, in addition to the traditional engineering, math and science majors. The number of high-paying jobs in the IT marketplace makes it extremely difficult to find and recruit people with that skill set.

The pre-hire program reaches out to juniors and seniors who will agree to come to work at Pantex, in exchange for reimbursement of tuition and fees for up to two years. A group of students are interviewed at the schools, then selected candidates are invited to come to Pantex for a second interview and a chance to see some of the work done at the plant. The first semester of the program in 2007, Rogers made offers to six students. This semester, he hopes to make 26 offers.

Recruiters visit a variety of schools proximate to Pantex, including West Texas A&M, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech, University of Texas at El Paso, New Mexico State, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology and University of New Mexico. Students from as far away as Tennessee and Maryland have been invited for onsite visits following phone interviews. 

Pantex College Pre-hire program helps recruit next generation employees

Apr 14, 2014 at 2:00 pm