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Vol. 56, Special Issue        March 2004
[Sandia National Laboratories]

Albuquerque, New Mexico 87185-0165    ||   Livermore, California 94550-0969
Tonopah, Nevada; Nevada Test Site; Amarillo, Texas

Back to Lab News Sandia Labs Accomplishments 2004 index

Energy and infrastructure assurance

The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement- Unmanned Aerospace Vehicle program conducted the first scientific flights using a new aircraft -- the Proteus (see above) -- and an all-new instrument payload with satellite links, allowing over-the-horizon control. Over 75 hours of flight data were collected, with flights from the DOE Cloud and Radiation Testbed site in Oklahoma south to the Gulf of Mexico and west to Colorado. The measurements will enable better understanding of cirrus clouds and their role in atmospheric phenomenology. (8100, 8200)

Sandia and Lockheed Martin Missile and Fire Control (LMMFC) in Orlando forged the first-of-a-kind agreement with the government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) that makes a win-win-win situation for the three entities. Sandia will provide technology to Taiwan's geologic repository science program, thereby helping Taiwan maintain its nuclear power program and safely dispose of its spent nuclear fuel. LMMFC will fund Sandia's work and simultaneously earn credit towards Lockheed's contractual obligations to the Taiwanese government. (6800)

Paul Robinson and five DOE laboratory directors presented a Nuclear Energy R&D Action Plan in May to Deputy Energy Secretary Kyle McSlarrow. The plan calls for activities on the part of all six laboratories, with Sandia acting in an integrating capacity. The action plan recommends an emphasis on higher temperature reactors that can efficiently produce hydrogen, advanced fuel cycles that minimize waste, and incorporation of advanced sensor, information, and manufacturing technologies into future nuclear fuel cycles for improved safety, transparency, and process controls. The plan recommends a 10-year, $10 billion research effort. (6000)

Sandia is developing key technologies to enable the hydrogen economy. We are unlocking the mechanisms of hydrogen solid-storage materials through coordinated experiments and modeling, in partnerships with universities, national labs, and industries. We have established a multi-year engineering program with a major industrial partner, and a new DOE hydrogen engines project. Additionally, we have been assigned the responsibility to provide the science needed to draft domestic and international codes and standards for hydrogen commercialization. (8300, 8700)

The 2007 EPA regulations for both light- and heavy-duty vehicles call for significant reductions in particulate matter (PM) emissions. To meet these requirements, industry has a critical need for new instrumentation capable of real-time PM measurements with high sensitivity. Sandia's collaborative effort with the National Research Council Canada and Artium Technologies has lead to Artium's development of a commercial instrument using laser-induced incandescence. The technology developed has been evaluated at test facilities at Ford and Cummins and on-board a diesel passenger car in collaboration with ChevronTexaco. (8300)

The threat of bioterrorist attacks on US dairy and beef cattle can't be ignored. BRAT for Dairies, a prototype biosecurity risk-assessment tool, will allow dairy owners to assess and mitigate herd risks arising from natural and man-made hazards. Based on Sandia's patented RAMPART technology, this first-of-a-kind software puts the power of risk assessment directly into the hands of dairy owners. As each dairy reduces its own risk, risk to the US herd as a whole is also reduced.

(6800, 6500)

The MELCOR Severe Accident Analysis Code, long applied to the analysis of core meltdown accidents in nuclear power plants, is finding new applications in the area of spent-fuel pool accident evaluation, motivated by homeland security concerns. Recent MELCOR studies of water drain-down accidents have been performed to assess the potential for zirconium fire initiation and subsequent release of fission products to the environment. These studies have attracted congressional attention and will be the subject of a National Academy of Sciences review. (6400)

The Linear Threshold Model for the MELCOR Accident Consequence Code System (MACCS) computer code enhances greatly the level of detail in radiation health effects analysis by taking into account a dose threshold to ionizing radiation effects. The Linear Threshold Model required a major restructuring of the MACCS computer code to include additional dimensions to the problem. The new code enables the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to create more efficient evacuation scenarios and better long-term plans. (6400)

Sandia, in conjunction with 44 regional industry, government, and academic partners, has established the Southwest Regional Carbon Sequestration Partnership to determine an optimum strategy for minimizing greenhouse-gas intensity in the Southwest. Ultimately, the goal is reduction of global warming associated with high concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The partnership is establishing a framework for assessing optimum sequestration strategies for the region, and will also identify potential gaps in monitoring and verification approaches needed to validate long-term storage efforts. (6100, 6010)

A Pitzer database to predict evaporative aqueous system evolution was compiled and validated for use on the Yucca Mountain Project for high-level nuclear waste disposal. This specialized thermodynamic database is used with the equilibrium speciation and reaction path modeling code EQ3/6. Chemical compositions of multi-component systems including concentrated brines and solutions formed by salt deliquescence are modeled. The results are used to evaluate the potential for waste package corrosion -- a significant factor in overall repository performance. (6800)

A unique concept for using Z-pinch fusion technology to generate electrical power has been completed. Using advanced manufacturing technology, critical components are remanufactured every 10 seconds to support a high-yield fusion pulse generated by a driver based on Sandia's Z accelerator technology. This radically different, yet simpler, approach to fusion energy will compete with other fusion concepts. (6400, 1600)

Sandia has expanded its Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) program facilities to Bldg. 10510 in Research Park. This Center 5500 program, with support from several organizations (4100, 5900, 6200), provides engineering solutions, education, and training to secure the control systems used to manage the nation's critical infrastructures (e.g. electric power grid, water treatment and distribution, oil & gas pipelines). The new facilities include labs for technology demonstration, integration, training and video conferencing. Sandia is leveraging these resources in its role as co-lead in DOE's National SCADA Testbed.

Sandia researchers and their Russian counterparts took the first small steps under a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Labs and the Kurchatov Institute in Moscow, signed in January 2003. The ultimate goal of these important first steps is to create a world that is more environmentally sustainable, economically prosperous, and politically stable. The next step will be to expand the partnership to include multilab groups in the US and Russia -- an effort that is now also beginning.

A Sandia-Los Alamos team led by the Nuclear and Risk Technologies Center (6400) produced a state-of-the-art vulnerability assessment of commercial aircraft attacks on two nuclear power plants for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. The project analyzed the ability of aircraft to strike specific plant locations, resulting structural and fire damage, effects on critical safety systems and core melting, the resulting health consequences, and options to mitigate the damage. The computational/experimental capabilities of Centers 9100 and 9200 were key to the project.

A series of NRC-certification drop tests for two transportation cask designs were successfully completed. The first cask was a half-scale model TRUPACT III cask; testing was also performed on a full-scale Mixed Oxide (MOX) fresh-fuel cask. Both test series comprised multiple drops at different heights, cask orientations, and temperatures. This testing continues the significant contribution Sandia has made to the national and international programs for safe transportation of radioactive materials. (6100, 9100)

Sandia developed and installed an electronic monitoring tool that has continued (for more than 50 days) to track temperature and pressure changes in a Coso Naval Test Range well at a depth of 3,100 feet and ambient temperature of about 193°C (379°F). The test data confirm improvements in reliability derived from utilization of manufacturer-qualified high temperature electronic components. (6200)

Last modified: March 25, 2004

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