NNSA to conduct radiation assessments for Boston Marathon race route

October 7, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News

Low-altitude radiation survey flights over downtown Boston and the Boston Marathon race route will take place from Friday, October 8, through Monday, October 11, by a team from the National Nuclear Security Administration.

The surveys to be done using the NNSA’s Aerial Measuring System (AMS) are what the agency calls “a normal part of security and emergency preparedness activities.”

More information and video footage of the NNSA’s aerial assessments are available online.

IAEA and European Union extend nuclear safety agreement

September 27, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
The EU’s Massimo Garribba (left) and the IAEA’s Lydie Evrard met at last week’s 65th IAEA General Conference to extend a 2013 cooperation agreement. (Photo: C./Silva Villareal)

Some of the major achievements of the nuclear safety cooperation agreement between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the European Union (EU) include more than 100 nuclear safety review missions, environmental remediation at former uranium sites in Central Asia, and more effective radioactive waste management in Africa.

Young Members Group opens the stage for the Nevada Nuclear Security Site

September 3, 2021, 9:29AMANS News

The 11th installment of the ANS Young Members Group's webinar series "Spotlight on National Labs" featured the Nevada National Security Site and went live on August 26. The event, moderated by YMG chair Matthew Jasica, featured 11 speakers from the NNSS describing the various programs under the agency. Kelsey Amundson, who co-organized the webinar, said, “The diversity of the work performed at the NNSS is quite extensive, and the webinar was a great way to show the nuclear community how much work is done at the [organization].”

A recording of the program is available online.

U.S. to help rid Norway of HEU

September 2, 2021, 3:02PMNuclear News

Energy secretary Jennifer Granholm (top photo) and Norwegian minister of Trade and Industry Iselin Nybø (bottom photo, right) hold up signed versions of an MOU on the conversion of Norway’s HEU to LEU. (Photos: NNSA)

The U.S. Department of Energy and Norway’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries have signed a memorandum of understanding to advance a project aimed at eliminating Norway’s high-enriched uranium by downblending it to low-enriched uranium. If the project is successfully completed, Norway will become the 34th country (plus Taiwan) to be considered HEU-free.

In the downblending process, HEU is mixed with depleted or natural uranium to reduce the U-235 concentration to below 20 percent, resulting in LEU, which cannot be used to make an improvised nuclear device (aka “dirty bomb”). According to the DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration, the challenge with Norway’s HEU has been that much of it is mixed with thorium, making the use of other disposition techniques more problematic.

A closer look: Signed on September 1 by U.S. energy secretary Jennifer Granholm and her Norwegian counterpart, Iselin Nybø, minister of trade and industry, the MOU calls for small-scale downblending activities to begin in 2022 using Norway’s existing infrastructure. It also paves the way for the eventual deployment of the DOE’s Mobile Melt-Consolidate system to complete the work.

NNSA launches radiological security initiative in 100 U.S. cities

September 2, 2021, 12:01PMNuclear News

The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration has launched a radiological security project known as the RadSecure 100 Initiative. The initiative will focus on removing radioactive material from facilities (where feasible) and improving security at the remaining facilities located in 100 metropolitan areas throughout the United States. It includes a partnership with local law enforcement.

The initiative is being announced this week by the NNSA during the National Homeland Security Conference in Las Vegas.

A list of the 100 U.S. cities where the initiative will be enacted is available online.

Former NNSA chief joins Westinghouse

August 25, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News


Westinghouse Electric Company has appointed Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, former head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, to the board of directors for Westinghouse Government Services (WGS), the company announced yesterday. WGS is the delivery platform for Westinghouse’s nuclear technologies and services for government programs globally.

As the lead director for strategic programs at WGS, Gordon-Hagerty will help the company with continued strategy and development of programs to support Department of Energy and Department of Defense nuclear decommissioning, security, and energy goals, according to the announcement.

YMG national lab spotlight shines on Nevada National Security Site

August 24, 2021, 9:30AMANS News
Materials experiments in the Anechoic chamber at NNSS. (Photo: NNSS)

The 11th installment of the ANS Young Members Group Spotlight on National Labs will feature the Nevada National Security Site. The webinar, moderated by ANS YMG member Kelsey Amundson, will be held this Thursday, August 26, noon - 1:30 pm EDT. The event is free and open to all, so please register now.

Corey Hinderstein nominated for NNSA nonproliferation post

August 5, 2021, 3:01PMNuclear News


President Biden has nominated Corey Hinderstein, ANS member since 2016, for deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration.

Hinderstein is vice president of international fuel cycle strategies at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, based in Washington, D.C. Her focus is on international nuclear fuel cycle and nonproliferation policy, global nuclear security, and arms control and nonproliferation monitoring and verification.

The VTR is “crucial” for U.S. national security, Atlantic Council leaders contend

August 4, 2021, 9:30AMANS Nuclear Cafe



An article written by national security experts Thomas Graham Jr. and Richard W. Mies, published online in The National Interest on August 3, argues that a recent move by the House Appropriations Committee to zero out the budget for the Versatile Test Reactor “has grave ramifications for U.S. national security and the fight against climate change.” Funding and building the VTR would present an opportunity for the United States to regain its leadership role in nuclear reactor designs and fuel, Graham and Mies assert.

Former ambassador Graham is chairman of the board of Lightbridge Corporation and former general counsel and acting director of the U.S. Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. Retired admiral Mies served as the fourth commander in chief of U.S. Strategic Command. Graham and Mies serve as cochairs of the Atlantic Council’s Nuclear Energy and National Security Coalition. Select excerpts from their article are provided here.

University students explore nuclear nonproliferation with LANL experts

August 2, 2021, 7:00AMNuclear News
Left: The University of Texas at Austin SBD Challenge team: from left, Michael Butero, Matthew Frangos, Daniel Gutierrez, and John (Jack) Whelan. Right: The University of Rhode Island team: from left, Jay Macchia, Sean Babin, and Peter Tillinghast. (Photo: NNSA)

The National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control has been partnering with national laboratories and universities to introduce engineering students to the field of international safeguards. Safeguards ensure that nuclear material and facilities are not used to illicitly manufacture nuclear weapons, the NNSA noted in a July 27 article.

Hruby sworn in as NNSA administrator

July 27, 2021, 12:00PMNuclear News
Jill Hruby, joined by her husband, Stewart Griffiths, is sworn in as the Department of Energy’s under secretary for Nuclear Security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. (Photo: NNSA)

Jill Hruby was sworn in by energy secretary Jennifer Granholm on July 26 as the Department of Energy’s undersecretary for nuclear security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. Hruby was nominated for the position by President Biden on April 14.

Work begins on training center to thwart nuclear terrorism

July 19, 2021, 9:30AMNuclear News
Rendering of the multipurpose building that will house the Nuclear Security Training and Demonstration Centre. (Photo: IAEA)

The International Atomic Energy Agency has broken ground for a new building designed to help countries combat nuclear terrorism in areas such as illegal material trafficking and physical protection of facilities.

Researchers share their cutting-edge work in AI for national security

July 15, 2021, 12:06PMANS Nuclear Cafe

Within the National Nuclear Security Administration, the Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development (DNN R&D) is leading efforts to drive advances in artificial intelligence and accelerate the adoption of AI-enabled technologies to solve nuclear nonproliferation and national security challenges.

The goal is to incorporate AI into advanced techniques for detecting nuclear weapons and materials. According to the NNSA, these detection capabilities support the nuclear nonproliferation and arms control goals of the United States, while also driving the development of new capabilities.

Bill introduced to advance U.S. interests in nuclear energy

June 22, 2021, 11:59AMNuclear News



Reps. Anthony Gonzalez (R., Ohio) and Elaine Luria (D., Va.) last week introduced the Twenty First Century Nuclear Security Act—legislation the sponsors say would “deploy a whole-of-government effort” to gauge the risk to U.S. national security from a growing Russian and Chinese dominance in the global nuclear energy market and to identify opportunities for the United States to reestablish leadership in that arena.

The measure, according to a June 17 joint press release from the lawmakers, would require federal agencies to submit a report to Congress analyzing the importance of civilian nuclear power agreements and opportunities for advancing U.S. national security interests.

NNSA to host virtual job fair

June 17, 2021, 3:00PMNuclear News

A virtual job fair for the Department of Energy’s Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE) is being held on Wednesday, June 23, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. (EDT). The job fair will be hosted by the DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration.

The NSE is looking for the next generation of nuclear security professionals and is planning to hire more than 2,500 new employees in 2021.

Interested candidates are encouraged to register online for the event.

Grid cybersecurity bill reintroduced in Senate

May 4, 2021, 12:01PMANS Nuclear Cafe


Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R., Alaska) last week reintroduced legislation from 2019 to enhance the security of the U.S. electric grid. According to Murkowski, the Protecting Resources on the Electric Grid with Cybersecurity Technology (PROTECT) Act would enhance electric grid security by incentivizing electric utilities to make cybersecurity investments.

Introduced in the Senate on April 28 as S. 1400, the bill would also establish a Department of Energy grant and technical assistance program to deploy advanced cybersecurity technology for utilities that are not regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Cosponsors of the PROTECT Act include Sens. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), Jim Risch (R., Idaho), Angus King (I., Maine), and Jacky Rosen (D., Nev.).

Divers inspect large water tanks at Hanford

April 22, 2021, 12:05PMANS Nuclear Cafe
Diver John Lehto (right) receives final instructions from Carter Thomas before entering a 300,000-gallon water tank at the Hanford Site. Lehto and Thomas are employees of Hanford Site subcontractor Associated Underwater Services. Photos: DOE EM

The Department of Energy’s Richland Operations Office contractors Central Plateau Cleanup Company (CPCCo) and Hanford Mission Integration Solutions (HMIS) teamed up recently to dive into inspection and maintenance activities at the Hanford Site in Washington state.

Project video: View this video for sights and sounds from this unique project.