Plowshares release statement on 2nd anniversary of Y-12 break-in; acted as ‘creative extremists for love’


The Transform Now Plowshares, from left, Michael Walli, Sister Megan Rice, and Greg Boertje-Obed, pose for photograph shortly before their protest action at Y-12 on July 28, 2012. (Plowshares photo)

Earlier today, on the 2nd anniversary of their July 28, 2012 break-in at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant in Oak Ridge, the three Plowshares protesters — Sister Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli — released a four-page statement. The statement from the three activists, who are now incarcerated at prisons in three states (New York, Kansas and Pennsylvania), addresses why they took the action against the production of nuclear weapons and urges citizens not to be passive in their resistance to the “banality of evil.”

Here’s the statement: Continue reading

Nuke bomb the size of a mini-van; Freedom Museum in Texas finds a place for the B53


Workers unload a B53 bomb (with the innards removed) at the Freedom Museum in Pampa, Texas, where it will be displayed. (CNS photos)

DSC_1106The outer casing of a B53 bomb, which during the Cold War was the biggest and baddest nuke in the U.S. arsenal, has been loaned to the Freedom Museum in Pampa, Texas. The museum is about 40 miles from the Pantex Plant, where the last of the B53 bombs was dismantled in 2011.

According to info from Pantex, which is Y-12′s sister plant near Amarillo, Texas, the B53 bomb was nicknamed “Big Dog” by dismantlement workers because of its massive size. The bomb shell was delivered to the museum earlier this week.

“The B53 was a Cold War icon, and was the oldest, the largest and the most destructive nuclear weapon in the U.S. arsenal at the time it was retired,” a Pantex statement said. Continue reading

A natural friendship: Baker and the DOE photog


Department of Energy photographer Frank Hoffman took this photograph of Sen. Howard Baker at an Oak Ridge conference on Feb. 22, 1969. That’s Atomic Energy Commission Manager Sam Sapirie, center, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Alvin Weinberg on the right.

Life’s full of good surprises. I got a call the other day from Frank Hoffman, retired Department of Energy photographer who’ll turn 85 in January. After his retirement from DOE’s Oak Ridge Operations in 1992, Hoffman returned to his roots in Ohio. He sounded in good spirits despite a number of health issues, and we had a nice chat.

Mostly, he wanted to talk about the recent death of Sen. Howard Baker, who Hoffman got to know pretty well through Baker’s frequent visits to the federal operations in Oak Ridge. Baker, of course, was crazy about cameras and took photographs wherever he was — which included access to important events and memorable meetings that other photographers simply couldn’t get. Continue reading

Hundreds of Oak Ridge guards to get back pay

Y12 gate_MP (2)Hundreds of Oak Ridge security guards will receive back pay for overtime as a result of a settlement in the 2012 federal lawsuit filed against G4S Government Solutions, also known as Wackenhut Services, the government’s former security contractor at the Y-12 nuclear weapons plant and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

According to Garry Ferraris, the attorney representing 358 members of the International Guards Union of America, Local 3, the out-of-court settlement was for $2.64 million, which covered back pay for the guards, liquidated damages and attorney fees. The civil case had been scheduled to go to trial in August. Continue reading

Lynda Vinyard named branch chief at DOE office

vinyardLynda M. Vinyard has been named payment services branch chief in the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge Financial Services Center. According to information provided by DOE, her responsibilities will include directing a staff of accountants, technicians and support contractors. The DOE payment center processes more than 150,000 invoices and payments totaling approximately $12 billion per year.

Vinyard also “ensures the . . . payment center maintains a prompt payment percentage rate greater than the 98 percent target set by the United States Office of Management and Budget,” DOE stated. Continue reading



Three kids gaze at the construction of the Oak Ridge Swimming Pool on June 28, 1945.  Their dreams of summertime fun later turned to reality with one of the region’s largest and nicest swimming pools. Double-click to enlarge. (Department of Energy archives/Ed Westcott photo)

Senate confirms Creedon for NNSA’s No. 2 post

creedon2The U.S. Senate today confirmed Madelyn Creedon as the principal deputy administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration — the semi-independent part of the Department of Energy that oversees the nuclear weapons program.

Here’s what Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement:

“Madelyn Creedon’s confirmation comes at a critical point for the National Nuclear Security Administration. She is well-prepared for her new role at the Department as it follows a long career of public service in national security, including at the Department of Defense, with the Senate Armed Services Committee, and, previously, at the Department of Energy. NNSA Administrator Klotz and I thank the Senate for their attention to Madelyn’s nomination, and look forward to working with her.” Continue reading

Fluor wins $420M deactivation contract at Paducah


Aerial view of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant in Kentucky. (DOE photo)

Fluor Federal Services Inc. was announced today as the winner of a task order for deactivation activities at the Paducah (Ky.) Gaseous Diffusion Plant with a potential value of $420 million over three years. The task order was awarded by the Department of Energy under the Nationwide Environmental Management ID/IQ Unrestricted Contract. Continue reading

ScienceCinema: watch & learn

ostiThe Department of Energy’s Office of Scientific and Technical Information in Oak Ridge works full-time to provide open access (where possible) to millions of reports of scientific research and discovery at DOE’s national laboratories and other facilities. Besides documents, there are also capabilities — showcased at ScienceCinema – that allow folks to search the thousands of videos and audio files produced by the labs, with audio indexing and speech recognition technology.

Got a topic in mind? Check out the search function at the recently revamped website. Continue reading