In this issue
By Cary Crawford
INMM Vice President
Happy 60th to the INMM! The 2018 INMM Annual Meeting in Baltimore this past July marked the beginning of INMM’s 60th anniversary year, and it will culminate at next year’s annual meeting, July 14-18, at the JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert, California USA. We sincerely hope you will be able to join us for the 60th anniversary celebration.
As always, it was great to see everyone who was able to make it to the Annual Meeting in Baltimore this past July. For those who couldn’t make it, we missed seeing you and hope you can make it next year!
Thanks to Teressa McKinney and other INMM leadership, we were able to line up yet another distinguished panel for the Opening and Closing Plenary sessions. For the opening, Maria Betti, Director of G Nuclear Safety and Security and the JRC Karlsruhe site, and Brent Park, Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), spoke in a live-streamed event that you can still watch here. In addition, Will Tobey, Chairman of the Board for WINS, joined us to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of WINS as well as to deliver a new challenge to the membership.
At the Closing Plenary, we tried something new — an interactive session based on audience response. We had an excellent panel of international experts who also gave their thoughts on a multitude of areas impacting our community:
- Dr. Jacques Baute, Director, Division of Information Management, Department of Safeguards, International Atomic Energy Agency
- Dr. Bassam Abdullah Ayed Khuwaileh, Assistant Professor, Nuclear Engineering Program, University of Sharja
- Mitsuo Koizumi, Manager of Technology Development Promotion Office of Integrated Support Center for Nuclear Nonproliferation and Nuclear Security of the Japan Energy Atomic Agency
- Sonia Fernándes Moreno, Planning and Evaluation Officer, Brazilian-Argentine Agency for Accounting and Control of Nuclear Materials
- Julie Oddou, Head of the Committee Technique Euratom, Atomic Energy Commission (CEA)
INMM Member-at-Large Willem Janssens and Strategic Planning Committee Chair Jack Jekowski took extensive notes and will develop a results summary from the data. We believe this will help INMM move forward in the areas most important to our membership.
I would like to congratulate the latest student chapters that have joined the INMM family: Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Sharjah. The student chapters continue to impress us with their energy and enthusiasm for nuclear materials management. Three student chapters celebrated their 10th anniversary at this year’s annual meeting: University of Idaho, University of Michigan, and University of Tennessee.
Continuing with the student theme, you may know that the INMM honors the top student poster and papers at the Annual Meeting. Special thanks to Jim André from PNNL who coordinated this year’s Student Paper Competition and Glenda Ackerman, who helped with the early coordination of papers and communications with the Technical Divisions. In addition, thanks to the more than a dozen volunteers who evaluated presentations and posters at the meeting, and the many technical “readers/graders” from the Technical Divisions who did the initial paper scoring. This year’s winners are:
Poster Winner ($500): Poster #380 “Automatic Notification of False Data Injection Cyber Attacks at a Nuclear Power Plant” by Shannon Eggers, University of Florida.
There were 22 abstracts submitted on time, and 15 papers that ultimately were eligible for evaluation. All winning papers will be peer-reviewed by their respective Technical Division for suitability for publishing in the JNMM.
Division Winners ($100 each):
- International Safeguards: Paper #208, “Long Term Performance Evaluation of Precision Data Technology (PDT) Amplifier Modules for Use in Unattended Assay System”, by Madeline Lockhart, Texas Tech University.
- NSPP – Nuclear Security and Physical Protection: Paper #312, “Wavelength Sensitivity Comparison and Nonlinearity Study of Modern Silicon Photomultipliers”, by Marc Wonders, Pennsylvania State University.
2nd Place ($500 each) (Tie):
- Materials Control and Accountability: Paper #116, “Correcting Cylinder Verification Neutron Count Rates for Variations due to UF6 Distribution”, by David Broughton, University of Texas at Austin.
- Facility Operations: Paper #219, “Innovative Fuel Design to Improve Proliferation Management”, by Taylor Britt, Virginia Commonwealth University.
1st Place ($1,000): Nonproliferation and Arms Control – Paper #314, “Experimental Testing of a Nuclear Forensics Methodology for Reactor-Type Attribution of Chemically Separated Plutonium”, by Jeremy Osborn, Texas A&M University.
The Annual Meeting is also a time when we honor our colleagues for their contributions to the nuclear materials management community. There is a diversity of recognition options for both Institute members and non-members, early career professionals and long-serving experts, and organizations. This year’s winners are:
- Charles E. Pietri Special Service Award: Japan Nuclear Fuel Limited
- Vincent J. DeVito Distinguished Service Award (3 winners): Stephen Croft, Robert McElroy and Alejandro Jaime Vidaurre-Henry
We also honor those who advanced to the membership class of Senior Member. Our eight new senior members are:
- Sunil Chirayath
- Jay Disser
- Robert Floyd
- Claudio Gariazzo
- David Hanks
- Harrison (Skip) Kerschner
- Ho-Dong Kim
- James Russell
We also bestowed the title of Fellow on two members. The grade of Fellow may be attained only by advancement from the grade of Senior Member. Fellows are nominated by their peers and extensively vetted by INMM’s Fellows Committee and Executive Committee. To be a Fellow is a high honor, and we are delighted to announce the addition of our new fellows: Sara Pozzi and Morris Hassler.
I would like to thank the participants for another successful annual meeting and encourage you to begin making plans now to attend the 60th INMM Annual Meeting, July 14-18, at the JW Marriott Desert Springs in Palm Desert, California USA. We will have more information soon on inmm.org.
INMM Southwest Chapter Annual Dinner
By Jack Jekowski
The INMM Southwest Professional Chapter held its Annual Dinner event at the Inn at Loretto in Santa Fe New Mexico on Friday night, January 5, 2018.
This year’s event, with over 40 attendees, featured Mr. John Heaton, the Chair of the Carlsbad, New Mexico, Nuclear Task Force, and a former State Representative, speaking about the current status and future plans of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), as well as current activities associated with the development of consolidated interim nuclear waste storage options in Southeastern New Mexico.
During his 14 years in the New Mexico State Legislature, John chaired the Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee as well as the Investment Oversight Committee and served on a number of other committees including Appropriations. Nationally, he chaired the National Conference of State Legislators Energy Committee and several working groups. After the legislature, he has remained very active working for Carlsbad, New Mexico, where he chairs the Mayor’s Nuclear Task Force made up of some 45 people; chairs the board of the Eddy-Lea Energy Alliance that is developing plans for the Consolidated Interim Storage Facility; chairs the board of CEHMM, a research organization; and chairs the Brine Well Mitigation Authority.
John’s presentation was in two parts, one focused on Consolidated Interim Storage (CIS), and the other on WIPP. Working with Holtec International, which has a similar facility in Callaway, MO, local economic development organizations in Eddy County are developing the requirements and related licensing materials in anticipation of Congressional approval for such a site, which would be located about 10 miles north of WIPP. John provided details of that effort as well as a visual depiction of how such a site would be constructed. He also provided an extensive update on the WIPP recovery program and spoke in detail on future activities, which includes return to mining operations in the new future, the status and details of the new ventilation building, and the plans to construct a new shaft for a permanent ventilation solution by 2022.
The event was business casual, as usual, and included a social hour before and after the dinner and presentation which allowed attendees to discuss issues one-on-one with our guest speaker.
INMM Novel Technologies Workshop
By Tina Hernandez, Heidi Smartt, Alexander Solodov, Sharon DeLand, Eric Wallace, Zoe Gastelum, Markku Koskelo, Meili Swanson, Susan Cordova, Mathew Burckley
On August 29 and 30, 2017, the INMM Southwest Chapter, in partnership with the International Safeguards and Nonproliferation & Arms Control Technical Divisions, hosted the Novel Technologies, Techniques, and Methods for Safeguards and Arms Control Verification workshop. The workshop was conducted on the campus of Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, and included 98 participants spanning US government agencies, national regulators, national laboratories and research centers, academia, and nuclear industry. The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the development and application of revolutionary technologies and techniques for safeguards and arms control verification. Keynote speakers included Joseph Pilat of Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Kristin Hertz of Sandia National Laboratories – California. The workshop consisted of topical sessions covering:
- Nondestructive assay
- Future inspection regimes
- Big data
- Novel arms control approaches
- Authentication and certification
- Ubiquitous sensing
- Physical and operational security
The two-day workshop included topical oral presentations, two poster sessions, and interactive scenario development activities that engaged participants in thought-provoking exercises regarding the future of safeguards and arms control verification. Social events for extended professional networking included a private tour and banquet at the National Museum of Nuclear Science and History, and a trolley tour of Albuquerque’s renowned microbreweries.
University of California Berkeley student Austin Wright presents his research during the Novel Approaches for Arms Control topical session.
Workshop participants worked in small groups to assess safeguards and arms control scenarios
Here are some observations from the organizing committee of the Novel Technologies workshop that may be relevant for your next event:
- Interactive opportunities help. Multiple participants told the organizing committee that they chose to attend specifically because of the table top exercises. These unique opportunities with smaller groups allow participants to interact and brainstorm within the unique expertise of the INMM community in a way that is difficult to achieve at larger events. But, this type of activity requires significant planning and preparation in order to be run smoothly. Ample time for professional networking during coffee breaks, poster sessions, and after-hours social events is also highly valued.
- For local events, held on-site at a national laboratory, university, or other site associated with one of the organizing agencies, locals tend to “come and go” throughout the day to accommodate for meetings, project deliverables, class schedules, etc. While this can be a great way to increase attendance, it also means there is variable participation rates throughout the day which may result in less participation breakout sessions and in evening activities. Getting a headcount for evening activities included in the registration fee can help reduce the economic impact of participant attrition.
- Schedule early and watch for competing events. Workshops held too close to the annual meeting, or meetings of our partner organizations such as ESARDA or ANS, may compete for participation. Request workshop dates 8-10 months in advance to accommodate participant planning for the year.
Are you interested in hosting at INMM workshop? It’s a great way to increase your exposure within the INMM community and generate some funding for INMM International as well as your local chapter. To find out more, click here.
N15.51 Publication Announcement
By Melanie May
N15.51-2017 “American National Standard for Methods of Nuclear Material Control - Measurement Control Program – Nuclear Materials Analytical Chemistry Laboratory” is now available for purchase through the ANSI webstore.
This standard provides the principal elements of a measurement control program for an analytical chemistry laboratory supporting nuclear fuel cycle activities. The ability to safely manage and to maintain accounts of these materials requires measurement of the materials as they are produced, used, shipped, stored, and inventoried. A comprehensive measurement control program demonstrates the reliability of the measurement data, quantifies the performance of the measurement system, assures that the measurements used in the nuclear industry are suitable for their intended use, and provides for detection and correction of adverse changes. The revision adds guidance regarding the optional use of the ISO Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement (GUM) to report analytical uncertainties.
IAEA Symposium on International Safeguards To Be Held November 5-8, 2018
By Brian Boyer
The IAEA's Symposium on International Safeguards: Building Future Safeguards Capabilities, which will take place November 5-8, 2018, in Vienna, Austria, will look ahead to emerging technologies and innovative approaches with potential for strengthening and streamlining the implementation of safeguards, as well as exploration of partnerships and mechanisms of relevance going forward.
The IAEA holds a Symposium on International Safeguards every four years in order to engage the broader safeguards community in addressing challenges and seizing opportunities to strengthen the effectiveness of safeguards implementation. Visit the Symposium Website.
Member Highlights – Katherine Bachner and Jay Disser
By Zoe Gastelum
To better engage our readers and offer a spotlight in which you can learn more about your INMM community, the Communicator is starting a series of Member Highlights to focus on you! To kick off the campaign, we’d like to offer you the chance to learn more about your Communicator editors – Katherine (Kate) Bachner and Jay Disser. Zoe Gastelum spoke with Kate and Jay in late March over Skype, over multiple time zones and continents. It was a unique opportunity to talk to people who have been friends and collaborators through their diverse career paths. The interview has been edited for conciseness and clarity.
Z: Tell me about the work that you do related to nuclear materials stewardship?
J: I work for the International Atomic Energy Agency's Department of Safeguards, which is the verification arm of the Agency. I work in Safeguards Concepts and Planning, Concepts and Approaches. We develop the approaches and methodologies for the inspectorate so it can work more effectively and efficiently. Currently I am working on the revision of the physical model, which is a document used internally at the Agency. It gives analysts and inspectors background on each stage of the nuclear fuel cycle and indicators that an analyst might find doing open source research or an inspector might find in the field. It is a broad sort of work that we do in a technical mindset, but we are also looking at higher level and future technology that’s coming down the pipeline and how that would affect safeguards.
K: I manage the Nonproliferation Policy and Implementation Group, one of four groups within Brookhaven National Laboratory’s Nonproliferation and National Security Department. We support nonproliferation-related policy but we also have people on our team who are doing homeland security field support and technical trainings for first responders and USAID who might not be used to thinking about how nuclear and radiological materials might impact their work. That type of capacity building is something we do a lot of. We mainly support the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the State Department, and we have people within our group placed at the State Department doing policy work and diplomatic engagement as they pertain to nuclear materials. We are supporting nuclear security engagements, safeguards training and activities for the IAEA, first responder activities for DHS…it’s pretty broad.
One thing that I’m really excited about is that Brookhaven, as with a lot of other labs, is becoming more diverse in terms of age and gender. Especially for management roles. It’s exciting to work for a Department that is run by a female and be a female group leader and see that we are growing and flourishing, not just in the groups that are led by women but across the board. I wanted to put a plug for that being awesome.
Z: That is awesome! Tell me more about how you first got involved in the nuclear field?
K: The way that I got into the field is probably weird compared to a lot of people. My background is as a cultural anthropologist, and I always thought I would go into something more humanitarian. While I was doing anthropological field work, I had a realization that my definition of helping human kind was not limited to the traditional activities. When I really started to think about things that threaten people, the threat of nuclear war, nuclear accidents, or anything involving nuclear materials combined with explosives made me want to get involved in trying to prevent that type of humanitarian crisis. So I got a Master’s Degree at [The Middlebury Institute for International Studies at] Monterey and went to work at the United Nations in Geneva, at the Conference on Disarmament. I then came back to the U.S. and participated in the Nonproliferation Graduate Fellowship Program at (the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration) Headquarters and I was able to work in the Russian Federation and former Soviet countries to help with their Material Protection, Control, and Accounting (MPC&A). That was a really interesting bilateral way to get involved and still keeping in mind the overarching reason for being here, which is a desire to be involved in a humanitarian way. So then, as I was at Brookhaven and kept doing that compelling work, I was lucky to have a boss who recognized my potential to move up in the organization. I love doing that too. It’s really cool to not just be implementing projects, but trying to be strategic about growth as a department, and the direction of the lab within our niche.
Z: You are one of the first people that I have spoken to with a very intentional path to work in this field. I have talked with a lot of people who say that they got involved in nuclear nonproliferation completely by accident. It’s fascinating that it was so intentional for you, and also interesting to see that you’ve been in several different organizations and playing different roles. Jay, you’ve also held diverse roles within multiple organizations. Tell us about your initiation into the nuclear field and how you got to where you are today.
J: I’m going to take the random route, as that is how most of my career has gone. I graduated with a Mechanical Engineering degree and didn’t know anything about nuclear and I applied to a job called “nuclear test engineer” because it sounded interesting. I went to work at a civilian shipyard that built aircraft carriers and submarines for the Navy in Virginia. I worked on aircraft carriers and eventually was qualified as a test engineer that was operating the reactor with my naval counterpart. Operating in “air quotes” because the ship I was on was there for refueling, so most of the time when you’re in the shipyard, the reactor isn’t operating. It’s either being built or refueled. I did that for a few years.
I’m not sure what exactly led me to change, but I looked around and found out about the national lab system and saw a job at Brookhaven in international safeguards. I applied to that, but didn’t know much about safeguards at the time. I went to work at Brookhaven in the International Safeguards Project Office. A year after I hired on I met Kate when she was interviewing. It was awesome to have Kate come in because we got along really well. I am more on the technical side, in terms of reactor operations, and Kate has this awesome international experience and interesting background, and we used that to help each other on projects. That’s what kept me in the field – nonproliferation is interesting because it’s both technology and policy.
K: I’d add that we share a lot other interests, including Snoop Doggie Dog, and cat hats. Our friendship is multifaceted.
Z: Jay, you then went to Idaho?
J: Yes, I’ve just kept moving to colder places. I was working on international safeguards and nonproliferation at Idaho National Laboratory. It’s a big engineering lab, with lots of facilities. That was one of my draws towards the laboratory. And now I am about halfway through an assignment at the IAEA as a temporary assignment working in safeguards Concepts and Planning.
Z: How did each of you become involved in INMM, and what has your INMM experience been like?
J: INMM was week three for me in safeguards. I started at Brookhaven in June 2010, and in July, I attended the INMM Annual Meeting in Baltimore. I was inundated with information and met a lot of people that I am still in contact with who work at different labs, or who were students at the time. INMM was key for getting me involved, and seems persistent through this field. You are always running into people that you met at a conference, or have read one of their papers. That was a nice initiation.
K: The first INMM Annual Meeting that I went to was kind of funny, because I went when I had just joined NNSA as a Graduate Fellow. It was in Baltimore in 2010.
J: My first one, too!
K: They brought me along, but gave me the registration of a Russian national who had been registered by NNSA and who worked at the Ministry of Mines but wasn’t able to attend. I would try to say hi to people, and they gave me such funny looks. After the first day I went to my supervisor and had my own name put on my badge. After that I started to get really involved and started to produce a lot of papers and chair sessions. More recently, I became more involved in the INMM Northeast chapter and am the Vice President. Then somebody mentioned the Communicator, and Jay and I decided it would be really fun to co-edit it. I’m sure it would be fine to do it alone, but it is so much fun to do it with a friend, with a colleague, and we work really well together. Now I feel like I am thoroughly steeped in the INMM, and I love going to the Annual Meetings and catching up with people, and engaging in the diverse professional areas that have their nexus at the annual meeting.
Z: Kate, apart from your badge experience, what is your favorite INMM memory?
K: I was really excited last year that there was a gathering that was organized to recognize women in the field and have a networking gathering for them. One thing that I thought was extremely cool was that a number of women showed up to that event with small babies, including me. I think that INMM has consistently been an organization that shows support for young families, and recognizing that people want to be in this field and also want to have a good work-life balance. They don’t just want to leave work and go home to their family (not that there is anything wrong with that!); they want to involve their family in their amazing professional network. That is something I really like about the organization.
Z: Jay, what’s a favorite INMM memory for you?
J: The INMM ESARDA meeting in Wyoming meeting in 2015. In addition to the big annual meetings, I think the smaller topical meetings and partnership meetings like the INMM/ESARDA meetings are really valuable. That meeting was very technically fulfilling; it had smaller groups, great papers, really interesting topics. Being in the middle of Teton National Park, it also offered the opportunity for some great cultural events: the Wind River Dancing troupe performed, and the Jackson Hole astronomy club came out. There was zero light pollution so you could see stars and galaxies.
Z: My next question is a broad one, but I’m going to ask you to make it specific. The broad question is, what do you want to see from INMM going forward. But also, given you are the co-editors of the Communicator, what do you want to see in the Communicator and how we are reaching out to our members?
K: I think the more we can engage student chapters the better, because those are the people who have a little more bandwidth, interest, time, enthusiasm, energy to try to become more involved in INMM. In terms of the Communicator, we should continue to highlight different types of things – not only events and workshops, but new chapters, new members, whatever we can to keep the readership and the people highlighted in the Communicator diverse. That diversity will strengthen INMM as a whole.
J: I agree, it’s been really interesting learning what the different student and international chapters are doing. They put on interesting events and workshops, they engage with each other to cosponsor events. They are doing a lot of work. And other people in INMM might not know about them, so it’s important that we highlight them. That also brings people into the organization and the field, which is really important for the organization as a whole.
Z: What advice would you give a student or young professional who is thinking about joining INMM or considering a career in the new materials stewardship community?
J: One piece of advice I would give is to look into international safeguards. There are a lot of different aspects of the nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear materials management field. It may not be something that is obvious for every student coming up that this could be a field that they are interested in. There is a lot of technical work going on if you are a physicist or nuclear engineer, and also policy work. And, you can also get into new topics like advanced open source techniques and machine learning. Any background is applicable and can be used in a very productive way as needed. So if you have an interest in whatever you are working on and national security and international security, then this is a great field. And INMM is an organization where you can find a lot of information on nonproliferation quickly, looking at the proceedings or attending a conference. If you are at a university you might be able to get funding to go through your university or a scholarship, so there are bountiful opportunities.
K: There are so many aspects to our field, and I think that no matter what career people are looking at they have to go into it with a passion that will sustain them for the long term. That is something INMM can help with, because no matter how passionate you are, its hard to do the same thing over and over. And in our field, you don’t have to. You can work on different facets from different directions to get to the same goal.
Another thing is don’t feel limited by what you’ve studied. Don’t feel like once you have finished school, you are done being a student; always maintain an open mind and curiosity. One example is that I am currently doing a third master’s degree in nuclear engineering even though my background is not technical. It’s not easy, but having that kind of curiosity that allows you to take on hard things will allow your career to grow and never get stagnant.
J: You can work on a diverse set of problems through your career in nuclear nonproliferation and materials management. And it is an international field. If you are into engaging with other people from around the world, and maybe traveling or living abroad for a few years, there are probably not too many fields where this is possible.
Communicator Changes To Blog Format
Katherine and I are excited to announce that the INMM Communicator will be moving to a blog format for the next issue, in order to better serve the membership. The blog will be hosted on the INMM website. This will allow us to share more timely information and post articles as they become available. Please feel free to reach out to Katherine or me if you have information that you would like to share through the Communicator!
Jay Disser, Communicator Co-Editor