Wireless networks have become commonplace in homes, restaurants and retail environments, but up until now, they have not been suitable for secure environments. That may be about to change.
NNSA’s Savannah River Tritium Enterprise (SRTE) has begun a year-long test using secure wireless technology in a tritium air monitoring system. The test is an important step in demonstrating the ability to reap the benefits of wireless technology in a secure environment, with potential for applications across the NNSA, other federal agencies and critical manufacturing facilities. The Savannah River National Laboratory designed and fabricated a prototype wireless Tritium Air Monitoring cart, funded by SRTE’s Plant-Directed Research and Development program. NNSA and its sites around the country could benefit greatly from the ability to use this type of wireless technology for radiation monitoring in nuclear facilities, where monitoring is essential for operating the equipment safely and protecting personnel. Advantages of wireless, compared to a wired system, include lower cost, greater reliability and freedom of movement.
Y-12 historian Ray Smith was among the recipients at the recent East Tennessee Economic Council annual Muddy Boot Award ceremony.
The Muddy Boot Award was created in the 1970s to honor individuals who have gone above the call of duty — like those who served the nation during the Manhattan Project — to make the community, the state of Tennessee and the nation a better place to live and work. More than 70 people have received the award since that time. A full list of recipients and more information about the award can be found on the ETEC website.
According to an ETEC news release, Smith’s more than four decades of service to Y-12 “provides him a deep understanding and appreciation the heritage of Y-12 and the Oak Ridge community.”
Smith came to Y-12 in 1970 as an electronics technician, but it wasn’t until 2005 that he joined the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs as the complex’s official historian — after demonstrating his indispensable knowledge of the plant during infrastructure reduction, the release said. From tours of select facilities and a newly updated history center, to video productions and countless public appearances, Smith has educated people around the country about Oak Ridge through his passion and dedication to preserving history.
He also has testified in front of congress in support of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park legislation.
About the photo:
Ray Smith, left, is one of three recipients of this year's Muddy Boot award from the East Tennessee Economic Council.
B&W Y-12 President and General Manager Chuck Spencer, pictured at left, and B&W Y-12 Senior Vice President and Deputy General Manager for Projects Jim Haynes present a $75,000 donation to Emory Valley Center President Jennifer Enderson. The funds will go toward the center’s capital campaign to construct a much-needed facility for the developmentally challenged of East Tennessee.
Pantex Security Police Officers Byron Logan and Randy Stokes completed their annual Run Against Hunger last week. The two officers ran and biked approximately 50 miles Friday to raise awareness of the problem of hunger in the Texas Panhandle and to raise money for the High Plains Food Bank.
On the route, Logan and Stokes stopped talk to the students from Highland Park High School in Amarillo, Texas, about the importance of getting involved to address community problems.
On a recent Saturday at the Department of Energy, 45 Boy and Girl Scouts earned their Science Merit Badges/Patches, thanks to the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation R&D staff that held an annual class for the scouts. Sponsored by the Energy Information Administration, the class covered the basics of nuclear science from elementary particles to nuclear power generation. Mini-courses, coordinated by Dr. Arden Dougan, included topics on electricity, energy, and nuclear science. The scouts took part in hands-on activities such as building an electroscope to detect charge, completing a circuit, using a Geiger counter, building atom models, and locating their nearest nuclear power plant.
Eight members of DNN R&D (and several of their family members), along with other DOE, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) employees taught the courses that were designed for kids aged 12 to 18. The American Nuclear Society provided informational handouts and Geiger counters that the scouts could take home after the event.
A high point of the day was the demonstration of the “mousetrap reactor” on loan from NIST. The reactor simulated nuclear fission through the collision of ping pong balls placed atop mouse traps. When the first trap was set off, the scouts were able to observe a visual representation of an atomic chain reaction.
You can view the photos and blog from the event here. Additional resources for nuclear science education can be at the following websites:
This week, NNSA is highlighting its nonproliferation programs that have supported efforts to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world. In support of President Obama’s Four Year Effort, the Office of International Material Protection and Control (IMPC) works with partner countries to establish a first line of defense that secures warheads and weapons-usable nuclear materials at their source, and a second line of defense at strategic border crossing points, ports, and other locations to deter and detect the illicit transfer of nuclear materials. IMPC’s two complementary programs – Material Protection, Control and Accounting (MPC&A) and Second Line of Defense (SLD)—work with partner countries to: significantly increase the security of vulnerable stockpiles of nuclear weapons and weapons-usable nuclear material (WUNM); reduce the quantity of WUNM by downblending non-weapons-origin HEU into LEU; consolidate nuclear materials into fewer, more defensible, and more sustainable secure locations; and improve the deterrence, detection, and interdiction of illicit trafficking of nuclear and radiological materials.
As part of the Four Year Effort, the MPC&A Program is working collaboratively with our partners to complete security upgrades at nuclear facilities in Russia and the former Soviet Union, and is supporting the downblending of HEU to LEU so that the material can no longer be used for nuclear weapons. The MPC&A Program is also working with China to establish a Center of Excellence for nuclear security best practices training in China, and with India to incorporate nuclear security elements into India's Global Centre of Nuclear Energy Partnership. The SLD Program has deployed thousands of fixed radiation portal monitors at hundreds of sites and dozens of mobile detection units around the world.
IMPC also works to improve partner countries’ nuclear security infrastructure at the site and national level by improving countries’ regulations and procedures, inspections, training, maintenance capabilities, performance testing, life-cycle planning, and nuclear security culture. A recipient country’s capability to secure, reduce, and interdict nuclear materials must be sustained by that country over the long term.
Click here to read more about President Obama’s Four-Year Effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world.
IMPC began in 1994 as a task force to mitigate the security vulnerabilities of special nuclear material arising from the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since that time, the program has evolved into a global effort, engaging over 50 countries to deny terrorists the vital materials needed to engage in acts of nuclear terror.
NNSA Defense Programs today presented hundreds of toys to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve as part of their Toys for Tots Program. The unwrapped toys were donated by employees throughout Forrestal Building. Don Cook, Deputy Administrator for NNSA’s Defense Programs, presented the toys to the Marines at the annual DP holiday party. Dr. Cook thanked everyone who participated in the program and commended the Marines for their commitment to the country and for spearheading the toy drive each year.
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory employees, along with Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS), have raised $3.3 million to give to charities within their surrounding communities.
Laboratory employees pledged $2.3 million to the HOME (Helping Others More Effectively) Campaign - an annual charitable drive that benefits community/nonprofit agencies in the Tri Valley, San Joaquin Valley, Greater Bay Area and beyond. In addition, Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC, which manages the Lab for the U.S. Department of Energy, announced it would donate $1 million in matching funds.
Four scientists have been inducted into the Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows, a distinguished organization that honors outstanding contributions to science and technology. Today, Laboratory Director Charles McMillan appoints new Fellows Mark Chadwick, Cheryl Kuske, Geoff Reeves and Frank Pabian.
The fellows are lauded for their sustained, high-level achievements and exceptional promise. Fewer than two percent of the Lab’s technical staff attain fellow status, and for 30 years the fellows’ organization has helped guide the laboratory’s scientific direction. The fellows also organize symposia and public lectures and administer prizes for outstanding research and leadership in science and engineering.
Clockwise from top left: Chadwick, Pabian, Kuske, and Reeves.
Continuing with this week’s coverage of nonproliferation programs that supported President Obama’s Four-Year Effort, NNSA’s Global Threat Reduction Initiative (GTRI) describes the various challenges they faced during operations to remove and secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world. GTRI was at the forefront of implementing the President’s Four-Year Effort, and completion required the hard work and dedication of hundreds of individuals from DOE, the national laboratories, the U.S. federal government and international partners in 27 countries.
The completion of a typical nuclear material removal or elimination project includes a variety of political, technical, and regulatory activities. Throughout this effort, GTRI and its partners overcame several significant technical obstacles. The program’s noteworthy technical achievements included several firsts, including:
These achievements allowed GTRI to address additional forms of nuclear material and accelerate activities to remove material more quickly to achieve the goals laid out in the Four-Year Effort.
In addition, the program had to overcome numerous bureaucratic obstacles (often before or during a shipment), including having a shipment canceled by the foreign government after the spent fuel had been packaged and was ready for transport, having overflight permits canceled at the last minute, and having a transit permit canceled while a shipment was ongoing. In each case, GTRI and its partners were able to quickly implement contingency plans to ensure shipments were completed successfully.
Finally, GTRI and its partners overcame environmental impediments, such as an earthquake in Chile three days before a shipment, a blizzard in Russia that closed airports, and a typhoon that jeopardized a shipment from Vietnam.
In all cases, to make the President’s words reality, the task required the technical expertise, creativity, flexibility, perseverance, teamwork, and dedication of the hundreds of people who worked across the globe on the Four-Year Effort. The world now is a safer place because of their contributions.
Click here to read highlights of GTRI’s contributions to President Obama’s Four-Year Effort to secure vulnerable nuclear material around the world. See which countries and areas have had HEU or plutonium removed and secured by GTRI with this interactive map.