NNSA Receives Six EStar Awards and Two Honorable Mentions

Press Release
May 31, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today congratulated its national laboratories and sites for receiving a total of six Environmental Sustainability (EStar) Awards and two honorable mentions from the Department of Energy (DOE).

The awards recognize projects that demonstrate excellence in pollution prevention and sustainable environmental stewardship. Only 15 EStar Awards and three EStar Honorable Mentions were awarded from 186 nominations submitted from across DOE.

“I applaud the men and women from throughout the national security enterprise who are committed to improving the way we do business while reducing the environmental impacts of our work in the communities that host us,” said Don Cook, NNSA’s Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs. “The EStar Awards demonstrate NNSA’s efforts to transform a Cold War nuclear weapons complex into a modern and efficient 21st century nuclear security enterprise.”

EStar awards highlight environmental sustainability projects and programs that reduce environmental impacts, enhance site operations, reduce costs and demonstrate excellence in pollution prevention and sustainable environmental stewardship.

The awards will be distributed at the EStar Awards ceremony on Oct. 12 at the OMNI Shoreham hotel in Washington, D.C. The awards are as follows:

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
LLNL Global Security Paperless eSystems Save Time, Money and the Environment (Honorable mention). This project demonstrated innovative design and problem-solving while keeping environmental considerations in the forefront. Starting with the eMove process in 2007, followed by development of the eCheckout process, the LLNL designed a series of paperless applications that save time and money and reduce the impact on the environment.
LLNL Site 300 Sulfur Hexafluoride Reduction Project. This project found ways to minimize the use and release of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), a potent greenhouse gas. Prior to the implementation of this project, operations of the flash X-ray program released 5,000 pounds of SF6 annually. Currently, the same system now uses less than a 115 pound cylinder of SF6 and has resulted in other operations benefits.

Pantex Plant
Elimination of Chlorine Gas to Protect Workers and the Environment. In order to achieve a safer and more environmentally friendly alternative for raw water treatment, Pantex formed a team to reduce or eliminate the use of chlorine gas for its water treatment system. A mixed oxide system was developed which provides many advantages over the use of chlorine gas while providing protection against microbial pathogens.

Sandia National Laboratories
High Performance Computing Water Reduction and Energy Efficient Cooling. This project involved the deployment of the Red Sky High Performance Computing (HPC) system which replaced an older HPC system. Energy efficiency was a top concern in developing this system. This project resulted in a high performance computer that will provide seven times the computational power of the system it replaces while using more than five million gallons less of cooling water per year and consuming 30 percent less power.
Integrated Sustainability Planning and Design. The process to identify, prioritize and fund cost-effective projects at Sandia/New Mexico is integrated within facility planning and operations. Beginning with comprehensive energy, water and green building audits, the Laboratory selected and implemented cost-effective initiatives that resulted in $1 million of cost saving from FY 10 investments, an overall reduction of approximately 3 percent energy intensity per year, and 10 percent of building square footage that is LEED certified.
Water Consumption Reduction. Sandia has implemented several noteworthy waste-conservation projects at both Sandia National Laboratories locations in New Mexico and California, which in aggregate, have resulted in a 30 percent reduction in water consumption relative to the 2007 baseline.

Y-12 National Security Complex    
Waste Not Want Not, Y-12 Comprehensive, Cost-Effective Recycling Program. The Y-12 recycling program, fully supported by Y-12 management, achieved impressive results in FY10. The implementation of 84 recycle/reuse initiatives resulted in 1.1 million pounds of materials being recycled/reused or more than 89 percent of the site’s total solid industrial waste stream for an estimated cost avoidance of $4.7 million.
Y-12 Clean Steam Team (Honorable mention). This project achieved a strategic reduction in site greenhouse gas emissions by replacing a 1950’s coal-fired boiler steam plant with a new centralized natural gas-fired steam plant. Deployment of this new natural gas-fired steam plant is expected to result in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent, the reduction of nitrous oxide emissions by 72 percent, a sulfur dioxide emissions reduction of 99.5 percent and a reduction of particulate matter by 72 percent.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science in the nation’s national security enterprise. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; reduces the global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.