Sandia News

Product realization

During FY10, Sandia shipped more than twice as many neutron generator assemblies (NGAs) to its NNSA and military customers than in any previous year. This totaled 850 NGAs and 340 packaging requirement kits. Record completion rates were achieved in four different production areas within the neutron generator supply chain, in concert with a shift to a common neutron generator subassembly that improved production efficiency. Sandia established a balanced supply chain capacity approach to help meet future NG directive schedule challenges with a diverse neutron generator product mix supporting numerous weapon systems. (2700, 2500, 1500, 400) NW

A methodology has been put in place to help the nuclear weapons enterprise better secure itself against modern nation-state threats. The methodology is now being applied and has already yielded some significant results. These results are enabling the nuclear enterprise to make strides toward a more robust security posture against modern supply chain and cyber threats. (2300, 400, 2100, 5600, 6300) NW

The Primary Standards Lab has completed the development and testing of the Bismuth Germinate Oxygen (BGO) neutron detector system, achieving excellent agreement in data between the laboratory and production systems. The BGO detector will provide an increased sensitivity factor of five compared to the current system in low-level applications. The detector is now ready to begin qualification for shelf life testing applications. (2500) NW

Neutron tube yields were significantly increased by eliminating delay-time failures at acceptance testing. Delay time failures are caused by source instability during source start up. The problem had caused an approximate 5 percent loss for the last decade, but the failure rate had recently risen. A multidisciplinary team from across manufacturing, design, test, and science attacked this issue as a priority problem, and focused resources on it in a timely manner. The problem was solved by matching the source-drive conditions at acceptance testing with those in the next-assembly neutron generator. This yield improvement will better enable the Center to support future NG directive schedules for the W76 and W78. (2700, 400, 2500) NW

The lean tester value stream released a tester that provided savings to active ceramics production. The SE3382 hot liquid poler processes voltage bar and current stack components used in ferroelectric power supplies for neutron generators. This “smart hot poler” was designed such that it replaces three existing processes and cuts down testing time by 60 hours, engineering time by eight hours, and queue time by five days per lot. Two SE3382 testers have been built to replace five existing testers, reducing floor space requirements by a factor of three. (2700) NW

In FY10 the Nuclear Weapons Quality Training Program provided in-depth training to 267 engineers (from 26 centers) involved in the development of nuclear weapons, satellites, and other custom products. Classes covered best practices known to be effective in preventing defects or for detecting and removing defects at each stage of product realization. The result of the program is significant cost and schedule savings due to rework avoidance. The classes covered product acceptance, qualification, HALT/HASS, demonstrating reliability rapidly, mistake-proofing and preventing supplier quality problems. (400, 2900, 10200) NW, DS&A

Each citation is followed by the center numbers of centers that contributed most directly to the effort described. An acronym after each accomplishment indicates which of Sandia’s strategic management units (SMUs) or strategic management groups (SMGs) the work most directly supported.

The SMG/SMU acronyms are:

  • NW: Nuclear Weapons SMG & SMU
  • DS & A: Defense Systems & Assessments SMU
  • IHNS: International, Homeland, and Nuclear Security SMU
  • ECIS: Energy, Climate, and Infrastructure SMU
  • IES: Integrated Enabling Services SMU
  • SPP: Sandia Partnership Projects