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    Secretary of Energy awards DTRA team for nuclear nonproliferation efforts

    DTRA receives award from DOE Secretary

    Photo By Daniel Gaffney | DTRA and NNSA personnel that were part of the UK HEU Removal Team receive the...... read more read more



    Story by Daniel Gaffney 

    Defense Threat Reduction Agency

    FORT BELVOIR, Virginia - More than half a dozen men and women from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) received the highest award given out by the Secretary of Energy during a ceremony held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 19.

    The eight individuals – including uniformed service members, DoD civilians, and contractors – were a key part of a Department of Energy (DoE)-led team that removed massive amounts of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from the Dounreay nuclear site on the Scottish coast. The HEU was safely removed, packaged, and transported to the United States for downblending into low enriched uranium.

    “I couldn’t be more proud of those that we are honoring today,” Secretary of Energy Rick Perry during the ceremony. “We’ve strengthened our energy security, we’ve advanced our economic security, we’ve increased our national security, and we’re bolstering it further by enhancing our nuclear security.”

    The eight DTRA personnel received the Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award for their role with the United Kingdom HEU Removal Team. Led by the DoE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), the UK HEU Removal Team “advanced U.S. and global goals on nuclear security and contributed to a significant net reduction in worldwide HEU holdings.” The massive international effort involved the safe and secure packaging and transporting of almost 1,500 pounds of HEU from the UK to a secure DoE facility in the U.S.

    “We work with the NNSA all the time on a variety of missions and exercises involving nuclear materials,” said Randy Holmes, the DTRA Nuclear Transportation and Disposition Project Manager and lead for the Agency’s support to NNSA for this project. “Interagency partnerships have a reputation of being challenging due to the fact each organization has their own objectives and priorities when approaching the same mission, thankfully that’s not the case for our interagency team. Receiving this level of recognition exemplifies not just the importance of the missions, but the success that comes from collaborating across the interagency.”

    Holmes further stated that the DTRA- NNSA partnership brings out the best of both teams, by enabling each to concentrate on their respective strengths.

    “DTRA was brought into both efforts because we’re uniquely equipped to tackle the challenges associated with complex WMD (weapons of mass destruction) removal and elimination missions. We provide support in the areas of logistics, sustainment and nuclear material removal. NNSA leads these missions and provide a truly impressive amount of nuclear expertise, and our job is to allow them to focus on the technical aspects of nuclear safety and packaging by solving other operational complexities essential in the overall success of the mission.”

    Four of the DTRA team members received a second Secretary of Energy’s Achievement Award for a separate NNSA-led team “that has planned for the final, fully verified denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

    Dr. Robert Pope, DTRA’s director for Cooperative Threat Reduction, attended the awards ceremony and praised the DTRA teams.

    “This speaks volumes about how vital our people – and DTRA as a whole – are to the global nonproliferation and WMD elimination mission. I know they would be doing this incredible work regardless of whether or not they get any awards, because they put the mission and the safety of the U.S. first, but it’s nice to be recognized for the work they do.”

    Holmes agreed, noting both the intrinsic value of the work and the personal satisfaction that comes from having that work showcased at the highest level.

    “Our involvement in the planning and implementation of these real world missions is enough of a reward for our team here at DTRA.” said Holmes. “But it’s nice to be recognized for all the hard work our team poured into the mission, especially at the Secretary level and by another department.”




    Date Taken: 11.26.2019
    Date Posted: 11.26.2019 13:58
    Story ID: 353531
    Location: FORT BELVOIR, VA, US 

    Podcast Hits: 0