NNSA Blog

Happy Anniversary! This week, we at the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) celebrate the stand-up of our agency. 

Congress established NNSA in 2000 as a separately organized agency within the Department of Energy to manage and ensure the security of the Nation’s nuclear weapons stockpile, advance nuclear nonproliferation, and provide critical support to the Nuclear Navy. Much has happened in the last 15 years. Our mission has evolved to address our changing world. Managing the weapons stockpile without underground weapons testing is only one of many NNSA remarkable achievements.

You should be proud to be a part of this vital organization. Each and every day, you and others across the national nuclear security enterprise play a critical role in enhancing America’s security, reducing nuclear dangers, and advancing scientific discovery. Without your strong commitment to NNSA meeting its critical missions, the national security of the United States would not be as strong as it is today. 

We have a busy year ahead of us. This week, we begin a series of Congressional hearings on our budget request for fiscal year 2016.  This year’s request reflects the high priority the Administration places on all of programs, with a proposed 10.2 percent increase across the board and proposed increases in all four of our major appropriations categories. 

The next 15 years promises to be as eventful as the last were. Going forward, NNSA will continue to meet the needs of the Nation, while ensuring we are being effective and efficient stewards of the taxpayers’ money. 

Thank you for everything you do on behalf of the American people. Happy Anniversary! 

Frank Klotz and Madelyn Creedon

“Mission First, People Always.”

Mar 3, 2015 at 2:00 pm

NNSA BlogNNSA has completed a major capital improvement project that has resulted in critical infrastructure upgrades to two key production buildings at the Y-12 National Security Complex. NNSA finished the $75.7 million project nearly 11 months ahead of the construction completion schedule and approximately $5.6 million under budget.

The Nuclear Facilities Risk Reduction project included upgrades to mechanical, electrical, ventilation, and heating/cooling systems for enriched uranium operations in Buildings 9212 and 9204-2E. The project began in 2008, when 10 tasks were identified to make those facilities safer for operations. The project was originally scheduled for completion in 2016.

Read more.

About the photo:
At Building 9212, NNSA combined stacks 110 and 43, eliminating use of one exhaust stack. Further improvements on the project include replacing the old bag filtration system with a new cartridge dust collector. Photo courtesy of Y-12.

Feb 27, 2015 at 3:00 pm

Nine Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have been named fellows of the American Physical Society, an honor that indicates recognition by scientific peers of exceptional contributions to physics.

Those honored are: Cristian Batista, Malcolm Boshier, Dana Dattelbaum, Stephen Doorn, Michelle Espy, George Rodriguez, Avadh Saxena, Sergei Tretiak and Lin Yin.

APS, a non-profit membership organization, works to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics through research journals, scientific meetings, education, outreach, advocacy and international activities.

Read about the fellows here.

NNSA Blog

Feb 25, 2015 at 5:00 pm

NNSA Blog

Staff at Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories welcomed the first hardware delivery for NNSA’s next generation supercomputer, called Trinity. Test beds for Trinity were delivered (two to Los Alamos and one to Sandia) as part of the New Mexico Alliance for Computing at Extreme Scale (ACES) collaboration.

Trinity came out of a partnership between the two laboratories, Cray Computers and Intel. The computer will have at least eight times greater applications performance than Cielo, the current NNSA supercomputer sited at Los Alamos and will be one of the most advanced computers in the world. Trinity will be sized to run the largest and most demanding simulations of stockpile stewardship, assuring the safety, security and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear deterrent without the use of underground testing.

Read more about Trinity here.

Feb 24, 2015 at 2:00 pm

National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced today several impending key leadership changes that are expected to be phased in over the next several weeks.  

NNSA is re-establishing an Office of Policy to serve as a central resource for strategic planning and policy analysis. Steve Erhart, Manager of the NNSA Production Office (NPO), will head this new office.Steve has previously served as the Pantex Site Office Manager and the Pantex Site Office Senior Scientific and Technical Advisor. He has both the breadth of experience and the right professional attributes to assume this key integrating role in NNSA. 

Geoff Beausoleil, Sandia Field Office manager, will assume leadership for NPO. Geoff brings with him more than 30 years of experience, which includes Deputy Manager at the Pantex Site Office, Assistant Manager at DOE Idaho Operations Office, and Manager of the Sandia Field Office (SFO), where he has served since April 2012. Geoff’s experience puts him in an excellent position to manage NPO.

Jeff Harrell, Assistant Deputy Administrator (ADA) for the Office of Secure Transportation (OST), has agreed to accept the SFO Manager position. Jeff has been at OST since 2009 where he is responsible for ensuring the safe and secure delivery of nuclear weapon components and strategic nuclear material throughout the United States. His outstanding record at OST, following a distinguished 25-year military career, has prepared him to take on this larger role for NNSA. Kerry Clark will be the Acting ADA until a permanent selection can be made.

NNSA is extremely fortunate to have these accomplished leaders, and we commend them for their willingness to take on new career challenges and help our organization build broad based executive skills across our SES cadre.

Feb 19, 2015 at 11:14 am

NNSA BlogNorthwest Career and Technical Academy (NWCTA), a public magnet school in Las Vegas, recently won the Nevada Science Bowl. NWCTA did not lose a single match, defeating Reno High School in the finals. More than 30 teams from 29 schools from throughout Nevada, and from parts of California and Utah participated in the competition.

The Nevada Science Bowl is the premiere academic competition in the region. During fast paced matches, students “buzz-in” to answer exceptionally difficult questions covering science and mathematics.

The Northwest Career and Technical Academy team received $5000 for their school’s math/science departments, plus an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., for DOE’s National Science Bowl in April.

NNSA’s Nevada Site Office is the signature sponsor of Nevada Science Bowl. Nevada Science Bowl also receives donations from Northrop-Grumman, National Security Technology (NSTec), Navarro-Intera, Centerra, the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Atomic Testing Museum and VegasPBS.

Feb 13, 2015 at 11:00 am

NNSA BlogThis week, NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Madelyn Creedon visited the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS). She discussed experiments that take place in the U1a complex. U1a is a complex 963 feet below the surface which is used for dynamic experiments with special nuclear material and other weapon materials.

Kristen Crawford, from Defense Experimentation and Stockpile Stewardship (DESS)/NSTec, described to Creedon how data from an experiment on detonators will be used in an upcoming subcritical experiment. After the detonation, probes track the movement of the surface of the detonator and show data on the screens. The data from the images is mathematically extracted to provide the velocity of the detonator surface as it moves. Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists take this data and use it to better understand surface velocities in dynamic experiments and to improve the conditional codes that help assure the safety and reliability of the nuclear stockpile without nuclear weapons testing.

In the photo, from left to right are Raffi Papazian, Director of DESS/NSTec, Kristen Crawford, Marylesa Howard, DESS/NSTec; and Madelyn Creedon.

Feb 13, 2015 at 10:00 am

NNSA BlogTeams from 17 area Texas schools competed for a regional title Saturday at the Pantex Middle School Science Bowl at West Texas A&M University (WTAMU). In the end, two of the Bonham Middle school’s three teams met in the final round with the White team taking first place. The winning team and their coach will receive an all-expenses paid trip to DOE’s National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C., in April and $1,000 for the school’s science program. The Bonham Blue team will receive $500, and Bushland Middle School Gold team earned $250 for third place. Panhandle Junior High School won the Sportsmanship Award. The event was sponsored by Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC. CNS will also sponsor a high school Science Bowl Feb. 21 at WTAMU.

Feb 12, 2015 at 5:00 pm

NNSA BlogA Congressional delegation, comprised of Congressmen Mike Rogers, Rick Larsen, Doug Lamborn from the House Armed Services Committee, and Congressman Chuck Fleischmann of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Energy and Water Development, visited the Naval Reactors Facility (NRF) at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). The legislators were accompanied byDr. Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall, Deputy Secretary of Energy; Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz (ret.), DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator; and Admiral John Richardson, Deputy Administrator, Office of Naval Reactors.

The group observed NRF processes at the Expended Core Facility (ECF). This facility is vital to national security, as it is the only location with the capability to receive, examine, and process naval spent nuclear fuel, necessary for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program to support continuous, day-to-day operations of the Navy’s nuclear powered fleet.

The 55-year-old ECF is maintained and operated in a safe and environmentally responsible manner, but the facility must be recapitalized to ensure continuous and efficient support of the fleet. It currently cannot support receipt of full-length aircraft carrier spent nuclear fuel, necessary to support the Navy’s refueling and defueling schedules for nuclear powered submarine and aircraft carriers. 

NNSA Blog
The delegation discussed the Spent Fuel Handling Recapitalization Project (SFHP), designed to recapitalize the spent fuel handling infrastructure at NRF for receipt, preparation, temporary storage, and packaging of naval spent nuclear fuel for secure dry storage and eventual shipment to a geologic repository. This project will retain the capabilities for naval spent nuclear fuel handling that currently exists in the ECF and its support facilities. The SFHP will help guarantee the operational availability of the nuclear fleet to fulfill military missions worldwide.


Additionally, the group received briefings on the Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation work conducted at INL. The lab provides facilities and capabilities that are vital to the nonproliferation mission.  The complex provides substantial resources and technical expertise to help achieve highly enriched uranium minimization both domestically and abroad and continues to play a critical role in DNN’s efforts to strengthen cyber security activities at nuclear facilities and installations. NNSA provides 23 percent of the total INL budget.

Feb 9, 2015 at 5:00 pm

Mary Ann Fresco, Senior Advisor to NNSA’s Management and Business Office (NA-MB), was recently recognized by the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) for her contributions to creating and fostering inclusive diversity in the federal government.

She recently participated in an interagency detail to OPM where she led change and influenced the path forward in executing the President’s Executive Order 13583- Establishing a Coordinated Government-wide Initiative to Promote Diversity and Inclusion in the Federal Workforce.

Her leadership has proven instrumental in influencing, addressing, and impacting federal policy in furthering the strategic objectives of the entire federal government.  She led OPM’s external initiative by partnering, collaborating and networking with more than 60 agencies, four Dodd-Frank agencies, and more than 51 stakeholders. Face-to-face interaction with federal agencies allowed her to gain government-wide knowledge on how to effectively change organizational cultures, to improve workforce morale with progressive management practices, and to dismantle silos and boundaries within organizations and across the federal government.

More recently, she served as an effective executive facilitator leading the 2015 Update of the Government-wide Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Plan. She has proven to be a driver of both employee engagement and workplace transformation by laying the foundation necessary to integrate diversity and inclusion throughout the federal government.

Mary Ann continues to serve as the federal government lead with the University of Southern California to advance the scientific foundation of diversity and inclusion research as it relates to workforce engagement. The success of her efforts government-wide produced innovative, high-impact strategies and developed new solutions to complex challenges.

NNSA BlogAbout the photo:
OPM Director Katherine Archuleta presents Mary Ann Fresco with an award for her contributions to creating and fostering inclusive diversity in the federal government.

Feb 5, 2015 at 4:00 pm