On August 4 - 6, 2015, representatives from DOE/NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN) traveled to Mumbai, India, for meetings of the Joint Working Group (JWG), in support of India’s Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership (GCNEP).
The GCNEP will be India’s world-class national nuclear training center and an international resource. NNSA works with India’s Department of Atomic Energy in support of GCNEP development, under a 2010 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
NNSA officials enjoyed hearing about the progress on building the GCNEP, which already conducts training for domestic and international audiences. JWG participants discussed previous and planned technical exchanges. Both representatives saw this as a positive step in U.S.-India bilateral relations, and a greater effort toward strengthening nuclear security around the world.
About this photo: Hosts explain the layout of a key Indian container cargo port for visiting NNSA delegation.
About this photo: Visiting NNSA delegation reviews radiation alarm annunciation center at a key Indian cargo container port.
NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz was a featured speaker on June 22, 2015, at the fifth Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) Science & Technology Conference (SnT15) in Vienna, Austria. Over 1100 participants met to further strengthen the relationship between the international scientific and technological community with the Preparatory Commission for the CTBT Organization (CTBTO). The Administrator’s remarks focused on multilateral collaboration on nuclear explosion monitoring, highlighting NNSA’s extensive collaboration with the CTBTO Preparatory Commission in all aspects of the international monitoring and verification regime.
NNSA supports advancements in the International Monitoring System (IMS), supported by the International Data Centre, as it builds capacity to detect nuclear explosions at ever-decreasing yields. In his speech, the Administrator’s offered to “facilitate making [NNSA’s] Nevada National Security Site available to future classes of CTBT inspectors in order to enrich their training and experience.” This offer is a natural extension of NNSA’s strong support for the development of the CTBT’s on-site inspection capabilities, and will allow trainee inspectors, under carefully controlled conditions, to gain real world experience with a nuclear test site.
Over 40 NNSA experts from six DOE National Laboratories and NNSA Headquarters gave presentations on a wide range of topics, and two NNSA presentations were honored with awards. Walt Dekin of Lawrence Livermore National Lab (LLNL) won the Best Oral Presentation Award for "Understanding the Challenges of OSI Drilling to Safely Recover Relevant Radiological Samples from an Underground Nuclear Explosion.” Walt has extensive underground nuclear explosion monitoring experience and was a key inspection team leader at the 2014 CTBTO Integrated Field Exercise in Jordan. Sophie Guillon of France, who recently spent three months at LLNL won the Best Oral Presentation by a Young Scientist Award for "Variability in Sub-surface Gas Transport in the Light of Field Experiments and Numerical Modeling," co-authored with LLNL’s Charles Carrigan and Yunwei Sun.
While in Vienna, the Administrator met with CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo and several of his division directors, toured the International Data Centre and viewed radionuclide monitoring equipment at the Vienna International Centre (VIC). NNSA will continue its strong support for the CTBTO, and seek ways to further contribute to the improvement of its nuclear explosion monitoring and verification capabilities.
About this photo: NNSA Administrator meeting with NNSA experts at SnT15.
About this photo: NNSA Administrator addressing a session at SnT15, discussing NNSA’s support for multilateral collaboration on nuclear explosive test monitoring and verification.
About this photo: NNSA Administrator meeting with CTBTO Executive Secretary Lassina Zerbo.
About this photo: NNSA Administrator and Assistant Secretary of State Frank Rose hearing about capabilities of the CTBTO International Monitoring System at the International Data Centre in Vienna, Austria.
A groundbreaking ceremony was recently held in Livermore, Calif., for a building that will enable consolidation of “front door” activities for Sandia National Laboratories California.
Building 926 will house the site’s human resources department and will be home of the training center for students and new hires. The new 20,000 square foot facility, funded by institutional investments, will provide employment candidates, new hires, and student interns an open, welcome, accessible space. All employees, including foreign nationals, will have easy access to the building. The new building will be located in the space created where Building 927 once stood and is scheduled for completion next year.
Marianne Walck, vice president of Sandia’s California laboratory, said having a welcoming environment where visitors, recruits, and new hires can access without having to immediately enter layers of visible security allows a greater ease in collaborations and builds a sense of community for new hires from the start.
Building 926 will enable the site to bring Building 911 into the Limited Area and repurpose it for growing its classified mission work. In addition, when Building 926 is inhabited, several substandard mobiles will be removed.
Twenty-nine Y‑12 inventors were recognized for their technology and innovation during the recent 11th Annual Technology Transfer Awards. The site has long been producing technologies initially used at Y-12 and later transferred to the private sector.
The patents that were awarded were in areas ranging from nuclear material simulation devices to enhancing the functional performance of machine tools.
The inventors brought forward new ideas that led to nine patents and 23 invention disclosures. The new inventions developed by the honorees will be used to further Y-12’s mission work, as well as be made available to license out to benefit the public through Y-12’s Technology Transfer program.
“Technology Transfer is a way for us to share our Nuclear Enterprise technologies with businesses. It allows us to share the good work of Y-12 and Pantex employees with others to better businesses, communities and the nation,” said Dave Beck, CNS Vice President, Program Integration. “These new ideas showcase the wide range of talent and innovative thinking at both facilities.”
For more information visit the Y-12 website.
Y-12 Senior Metallurgist Steven Dekanich and NASA Materials Science Branch Chief Steve McDanels teamed up to lead a weeklong materials science camp that took at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. The camp, which has been held since 2004, was jointly sponsored by Consolidated Nuclear Services (CNS), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville chapter of American Society of Metals (ASM).
The 2015 Tennessee camp coincided with the 50th anniversary of the first American spacewalk. The 20 Tennessee students, who participated in the 2015 ASM International Materials Camp talked via Skype with two NASA astronauts who have spacewalked a dozen times during their careers. Students listened to astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Jeffrey Williams describe their experiences living and working aboard the International Space Station. The astronauts then answered questions related to experiments the teens performed on debris from the space shuttle Columbia.
Throughout the week, students used state-of-the-art equipment to perform failure analyses on materials from the Columbia. On Friday, the students presented the results of their failure analyses to professional judges and their family members. The winning team received iPhone cases printed from a three-dimensional printer at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and they will be guests at a future ASM meeting.
WUOT’s Brandon Hollingsworth interviewed Steve Dekanich of Y-12 and Steve McDanels, Chief of NASA Materials Science Branch at Kennedy Space Center about the camp and the importance of materials science. You can listen to the interview on WUOT’s website and read more about the camp at Y-12’s website.
The U.S. Department of State hosted the 6th Annual Generation Prague Conference in Washington, DC, on July 15-17, 2015. Generation Prague 2015: Bridging Divides, Defining the Future explored the potential for creative and cooperative solutions to global arms control and nonproliferation challenges with a focus on youth engagement. Participants interacted with a wide variety of U.S. and international experts and leaders in arms control and nonproliferation, including Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. US Sherman had just returned to the United States after completing negotiations with Iran on the historic Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
The importance of NNSA contributions to U.S. nonproliferation and arms control efforts was highlighted in a number of speakers’ remarks, including an overview of U.S. efforts by Jon Wolfsthal, the National Security Council Senior Director for Arms Control and Nonproliferation, and Ambassador Adam Scheinman’s remarks regarding the 2015 Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty Review Conference. Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Rose Gottemoeller, who addressed the group on the 70th anniversary of the world’s first nuclear explosion at the Trinity site in New Mexico, reminded attendees of the seriousness of nonproliferation and arms control efforts by the U.S. and its foreign partners.
In a spotlight on young leaders moderated by Katherine Croft, Senior Policy Advisor to the NNSA Administrator, entitled “Nuclear Explosive Testing in Meridia,” Dr. Julia Craven Jones of Sandia National Laboratories and Dr. Derek Haas of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory spoke about their experiences in the recent Comprehensive Nuclear Test-Ban Treaty Organization’s (CTBTO) large-scale on-site inspection (OSI) Integrated Field Exercise 2014 (IFE14) that took place in Jordan last year. Dr. Jones was a member of the external Evaluation Team and Dr. Haas was a member of the Inspection Team at IFE14. They spoke about their personal experiences supporting the CTBT effort, the intersection of advanced technology and national security policy, and the importance of new generations of experts choosing to pursue arms control and nonproliferation as a career.
NNSA Director of Public Affairs Thom Metzger also spoke on a panel, “Shaping Opinions on Nuclear Weapons,” about current public views regarding nuclear weapons and how public engagement and information can positively impact views about national security issues, including NNSA’s highly technical missions. NNSA Public Affairs works to educate American public about the importance of NNSA’s mission and its value to U.S. national security.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) recently selected three small businesses for its new Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure and Cyber Security Support Blanket Purchase Agreement. The contract covers a wide spectrum of IT and Cyber Security support for NNSA’s Office of Information Management and has an estimated value of $250 million spanning five years.
The awardees are: Criterion Systems, Inc., of Vienna, VA; DKW Communications, Inc., of Washington, DC; and IntePros Federal, Inc., of Washington, DC. These awards are a direct result of the Secretary’s leadership and NNSA’s commitment to place small businesses first when acquiring mission-critical products and services. “Small businesses inject needed innovation and vitality throughout NNSA’s mission-critical activities and demonstrate our intent to expand partnerships with the small business community,” said NNSA Administrator Frank Klotz. “These are partnerships that strengthen our national security.”
In addition to being small businesses, IntePros Federal is a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and all three awardees have team members which are SDVOSBs. NNSA placed a preference on contracting with SDVOSBs for the award of this IT contract, reflecting President Obama’s emphasis on expanding economic opportunities for our nation’s veterans and creating what the Administration calls, “our engines of job creation.”
Finally, NNSA’s IT and Cyber Security contract award demonstrates NNSA leadership’s continued commitment to improving acquisition management, and advances the policy preference of the Administration, Office of Management and Budget, the Department, and Congress for competition and fixed price contracting. By further committing to fair and open competition, NNSA continues to drive technical innovation, reduce costs, and increase the value of taxpayers’ dollars.
On Thursday, July 16, NNSA Administrator Klotz had a brown bag lunch with the 14 high school and college students participating in NNSA’s Minority Serving Institutions’ (MSI) Internship Program assigned to NNSA headquarters. The MSI Internship Program targets students who are majoring in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines, as well as non-technical majors such as business, political science, pre-law, and other non-STEM disciplines.
In 2015, NNSA placed 104 MSI interns throughout its sites. Since this program’s implementation in FY 2007, NNSA has placed more than 655 minority interns across the NNSA enterprise. These internships create excellent research opportunities for students to gain experience in their academic disciplines and afford NNSA an opportunity to groom potential employees for its workforce.
By participating in this program, NNSA hopes to increase the number of minority students pursuing science and technology degrees and to help establish the next generation of creative and committed leaders in meeting the demands of national nuclear security.
The DOE Headquarters Office of Aviation Management (OAM) awarded the following aviation management awards for performance in 2014.
The NNSA, Office of Secure Transportation, Aviation Operations Division, Albuquerque, NM, has, for the second consecutive year, won the U.S. Department of Energy Jeff Snow Aviation Program Memorial Award. The Division provides safe and secure transportation of nuclear weapons components, nuclear limited-life components, and Federal-agent task forces. It is vital to the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Program, and it maintains one aircraft and aircrew on 24-7 alert, ready to respond to nuclear incidents or accidents anywhere in the U.S.
Mr. Les Winfield, the NFO Federal Aviation Manager, is the winner of the 2014 DOE Federal Aviation Management Professional Award. Mr. Winfield provided outstanding management and oversight of the NSTec Aircraft operations at Nellis AFB, NV, and Joint Base Andrews, MD. Les initiated a process to implement an aviation-focused Safety Management System program by completing Stage I Certification of the International Standard for Business Aircraft Operations (IS-BAO). He then prepared and submitted the NFO team for IS-BAO Stage II certification, which they achieved with a performance cited for “clear evidence of buy-in to a proactive safety environment, and an overall outstanding flight department, will all pieces in place to pursue Stage III certification.”
Mr. Charles Lightfoot, a Pilot in Command, and Aviation Site-Supervisor for the National Security Technologies LLC (NSTec), Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL), Aviation Section-Joint Base Andrews, MD, is the winner of the 2014 John Cooley Aviation Operations/Support Professional Memorial Award. Chuck consistently demonstrated superior professionalism in Operational Support to this NFO Program, and he was the catalyst and conduit for promoting professional excellence through successful team dynamics. His approach to each mission requirement started with a collaborative effort between Contractor and Federal Management oversight. This approach produced the most effective plans that considered requirements from both aviation, and scientific perspectives, that ensured mission success.
Mr. Tim Rourke, the Chief of Aviation Safety, National Security Technologies LLC (NSTec), Remote Sensing Laboratory (RSL), Aviation Section-Joint Base Andrews, MD, is the winner of the 2014 U.S. DOE Aviation Safety Professional Award. Tim’s systematic approach to safety and risk management in the RSL Aviation Section at both Las Vegas and Washington, DC locations, for both ground and flight safety, provides objective assessments of the operational risks, and recommendations for the necessary mitigations to reduce them to their lowest practical level. Tim’s single largest improvement to the RSL Aviation Safety culture was through the development of a means to allow him to identify, document, and track to conclusion, any issue, short-coming, or suggested improvement to the RSL Aviation organization.
The Department of Energy nominated these winners, in their respective categories for the 2014 GSA Federal Aviation Awards, and both Mr. Winfield and Mr. Rourke won! Mr Winfield was selected the winner of the 2014 Federal Aviation Professional Award in the Managerial Official Category. This award is presented annually to the best Federal employee in a managerial position whose primary duties involve management of a non-DoD Federal flight program. Likewise, the GSA judges selected Mr. Tim Rourke the winner of the 2014 Federal Aviation Professional Award in the Safety Official Category. This award is presented annually to the best Federal or Contract employee in an aviation safety position whose primary duties support a non-DoD Federal flight program.
Lt. Gen. Frank G. Klotz, DOE Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator, visited the Bettis Atomic Power Laboratory in West Mifflin, PA on July 2, 2015.
Gen. Klotz toured through several test facilities where Bettis personnel reviewed ongoing development efforts to qualify techniques for in-situ repairs of nuclear powered submarine components, discussed full scale flow testing of prototypical reactor components, and demonstrated how state-of-the-art instrumentation and control equipment has been developed and deployed to aircraft carriers and submarines. Gen. Klotz was also briefed on the reactor design challenges that will require investment in advanced technologies to meet the future mission of the U.S. Navy.
During the visit the Bettis personnel demonstrated exceptional dedication to the support of the U.S. Navy's submarines and aircraft carriers. Their technical aptitude and strong engineering skills have enabled the Navy to safely operate nuclear powered ships for over 156 million miles and 6,700 reactor-years of operation since the USS NAUTILUS went to sea in 1955.
Bettis and the Knolls Atomic Power Laboratory in Niskayuna, NY are operated by the Bechtel Marine Propulsion Corporation (BMPC) which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Bechtel National Inc. For nearly 70 years, both laboratories have been developing advanced naval nuclear propulsion technology and providing technical support to ensure the safe and reliable operation of our nation's submarine and aircraft carrier fleets. The Laboratories are solely dedicated to the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program for the research, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of U.S. nuclear-powered warships.