Jan. 27, 2021

Lab teams earn DOE Secretary Achievement Awards

Anne M Stark, stark8 [at] llnl.gov, 925-422-9799

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) employees, participating in 10 project teams, recently earned Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Achievement Awards.

Representing some of the highest internal, non-monetary recognition that DOE employees and contractors can receive, these awards recognize DOE employees and contractors for their service and contributions to the department’s mission and the benefit of the nation. See all the winners.

“It has been a long-standing tradition to recognize the recipients of these awards at an annual ceremony in Washington, D.C.,” former Secretary Dan Brouillette said. “Although we are not able to hold an awards ceremony at this time, it is important that we recognize and celebrate these notable accomplishments."

LLNL was honored for the following teams:

The Science and Technology Risk Matrix Team

The team was honored in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the security of DOE and the nation. The Science and Technology Risk Matrix Team made significant contributions to reducing the risk that foreign influence and malign foreign actors pose to DOE's national laboratory complex. This enterprise-wide effort resulted in protecting the national security of the United States, while maintaining and enhancing its world-leading science enterprise.

COVID-19 Facilities and People Response Team

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Facilities and People Response Team were honored for their efforts to transition DOE's federal and contractor workforce to a maximum telework posture to ensure continued operational effectiveness, while substantially reducing the risk of transmission of COVID-19.

High Performance Computing Resource Team

The team was recognized for their contributions in facilitating optimal mobilization of the nation’s supercomputing capabilities at both the DOE national laboratories and across industry to meet the multiple challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. With the establishment of the COVID-19 High Performance Computing Consortium by the White House, the DOE HPC Resource Team — comprised of DOE officials and personnel from six DOE national laboratories — rapidly organized a highly effective infrastructure for the selection of research projects and their assignment to supercomputing facilities at the national laboratories and across industry.

DOE National Laboratories’ COVID-19 Clinical Testing Teams

The DOE Laboratories’ COVID-19 Clinical Testing Teams earned the award for providing testing to keep the workforce safe and allow for safe resumption of work, while in turn helping reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus.

National Virtual Biotechnology Laboratory Team

This team was honored for accomplishments to harness and mobilize the formidable scientific facility and research capabilities of the DOE national laboratories to meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

NNSA Nuclear Security Enterprise Recruitment Team

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Nuclear Security Enterprise (NSE) Recruitment Team was honored for its extraordinary success in support of the national security interests of the United States. The collaborative effort of NNSA federal and NNSA Management and Operations human capital staffs recruiting as a team achieved unprecedented success by exceeding single-year recruiting goals and hiring more than 9,300 new employees. The NSE Recruitment Team also helped educate the public on the importance of NNSA’s work.

Source Physics Experiment Phase II Dry Alluvium Geology Team

The team is made up of researchers from Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos national laboratories as well as the Nevada National Security Site, the University of Nevada, Reno and the Desert Research Institute. The Source Physics Experiment (SPE) Program, which has produced one of the finest explosion-source phenomenology datasets in existence, increases the nation's ability to detect nuclear tests by conducting a well-designed and extensively instrumented series of large chemical explosions and by using the resulting data as ground truth for next-generation physics modeling codes.

The SPE Phase II team has advanced the science of nuclear explosion monitoring by safely and successfully executing four large chemical explosions at the Nevada National Security Site. These experiments conclude 10 years of testing (Phases I and II), which have resulted in the first deployment of prototype seismic sources, maiden voyages of airborne infrasound systems, next­generation fiber-optic sensing, the first recording of dynamic explosion-induced ground motion using VideoSAR and improved high-performance physics modeling codes to make sense of the data. The team partnered seamlessly, successfully revitalizing capabilities that had atrophied during the nuclear testing moratorium.

The Seattle Response and Recovery and Cs-137 Joint Investigation Teams

The team was honored for its successful emergency response, recovery, stabilization and investigation of the breached radioactive source event at the University of Washington’s Harborview Research and Training Facility. The team’s focused and tireless efforts in responding to a radiological emergency at the facility and removing the breached radioactive source led the way for facility remediation efforts and minimized any harm or negative impacts to the public. The extensive investigative work performed by the Cs-137 Joint Investigation Team identified the underlying cause of the event and will help prevent recurrence of similar events in the future, as well as improve the efficiency and effectiveness of future radiological event responses.

Spent Fuel Nondestructive Assay Project Team

This team was recognized for its successful completion of the Spent Fuel Nondestructive Assay (NDA) Project. A grand challenge in the safeguarding of nuclear material is characterizing commercial spent fuel assemblies. These assemblies are not only extremely radioactive and require large instrumentation to handle, they also are associated with complex operating histories. The multi-Laboratory Spent Fuel NDA Team, together with international partners, made key technical and programmatic contributions to this important nuclear safeguards challenge by researching 14 possible techniques, then building, field testing and analyzing results from a series of major nondestructive assay instruments through measurement campaigns at foreign partner facilities. Results from this project greatly improved previous technical understanding of the viability of various neutron and gamma measurement approaches for characterizing properties of Light Water Reactor spent fuel for nuclear safeguards purposes.

"Getting to Neutral" Carbon Emissions Team

This team was recognized for its groundbreaking work on how California could reach the goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2045. See the story.

In addition to the achievement awards, Charles Verdon, acting NNSA administrator and former principal associate director of LLNL’s Weapons and Complex Integration Directorate, was honored with a DOE Excellence Award in recognition of his service to the nation’s nuclear security enterprise as the deputy administrator for Defense Programs at NNSA.