Lab performance rated excellent in `98

The Department of Energy awarded Lawrence Livermore an overall performance rating of excellent for fiscal year 1998. The annual assessment includes appraisal of the Laboratory's performance in science and technology as well as administration and operations.
Laboratory science and technology programs received an overall rating of outstanding, DOE's highest rating, with an overall score of 90.6 percent, up slightly from last year's 90.1 percent. The programmatic assessment is based on Laboratory self-assessment, peer review, and validation by program managers at DOE headquarters.
"For administration and operations activities, the appraisal provides us with a valuable tool for measuring our progress in relation to the performance goals set out in the contract," says John Gilpin, head of the Office of Contract Management at Livermore. While these are areas where the Laboratory can continue to improve, great strides have been made in cutting administration and operations costs and improving efficiency since the results-oriented, performance-based contract with DOE went into effect in 1992, according to Gilpin. He also noted that improving productivity and performance ratings while reducing costs and organizational staffing "means a greater share of Lab dollars and resources are available for our core activities in science and technology."
Contact: John Gilpin (925) 423-1492 (gilpin1@llnl.gov.

DOE-ASML team to develop new chip technology

The Department of Energy recently announced an agreement with ASML, an international supplier of lithography tools based in the Netherlands, to participate as a licensee in a project led by the U.S. to develop a new technology for producing computer chips.
The technology, extreme-ultraviolet lithography (EUVL), has the potential to make desktop computer chips that are a hundred times more powerful and have a thousand times the memory of today's chips at feature sizes less than one-thousandth the width of a human hair. The pact with ASML is a major step toward realizing the commercial prospects and international acceptance of this new technology.
ASML joins U.S. lithography tool suppliers Silicon Valley Group and USAL in an ongoing cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between Extreme Ultraviolet Limited Liability Corporation-a consortium of U.S. computer chip makers Intel Corporation, Motorola, and Advanced Micro Devices-and DOE's Lawrence Livermore, Sandia, and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories. The purpose of the CRADA is to demonstrate the feasibility of EUV lithography and establish a pathway to commercialization.
Contact: Gordon Yano (925) 423-3117 (yano1@llnl.gov).

Senate holds first field hearings at Lab

Members of the Senate's Armed Services Strategic Subcommittee traveled to Lawrence Livermore recently to hold budget hearings for the first time in the field rather than in Washington. Their purpose was to take testimony from DOE Assistant Secretary of Defense Programs Vic Reis, the directors of DOE's three national security laboratories, and the managers of the four DOE plants on the success of the Stockpile Stewardship Program.
At the hearing, Senator Robert Smith, the subcommittee chair, and Senator Mary Landrieu, the ranking minority member, questioned Reis and the laboratory managers on whether they believed the Stockpile Stewardship Program would work well enough to merit ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty.
In written testimony, Livermore Director Bruce Tarter reported that stockpile stewardship in the absence of nuclear testing is working and that there is optimism that the program's long-term goals are achievable, given sustained support. Tarter, like Reis and the other DOE laboratory and plant managers, urged strong support of the fiscal year 2000 budget submission for DOE Defense Programs. Tarter detailed Lawrence Livermore's own involvement in maintaining a safe and reliable stockpile and provided updates on the National Ignition Facility and Livermore's role in the Accelerated Strategic Computing Initiative.
Tarter's complete testimony is available on the World Wide Web at http://www.llnl.gov/PAO/cbt7-testimony/.

Sustained spheromak dedicated

Lawrence Livermore recently dedicated the Sustained Spheromak Physics Experiment (SSPX), giving a new lease on life to a magnetic fusion concept pioneered at Los Alamos National Laboratory. A reinterpretation of old results from Los Alamos fusion research by Livermore's Kenneth Fowler found them more promising than originally believed. The rejuvenated experiment involves a collaboration of Lawrence Livermore, Los Alamos, and Sandia national laboratories; General Atomics; the California Institute of Technology; the University of California at Berkeley and Davis; the University of Wisconsin; the University of Washington; and Swarthmore College.
The spheromak generates magnetic fields by internal dynamo motion caused by turbulence in the plasma, the hot ionized gas that serves as the reactor fuel. The objective of the SSPX is to better understand and, ultimately, control the physics of magnetic fusion, a potential source of abundant, inexpensive energy.
Contact: Keith Thomassen (925) 422-9815 (thomassen1@llnl.gov).
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