Innovations at Three Bechtel Sites Recognized by Scientific Community

10 July 2012 FREDERICK, Maryland

Researchers Receive Eight R&D 100 Awards

Researchers at three National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) sites managed and operated by Bechtel partnerships are winners of R&D Magazine’s 2012 R&D 100 Awards, which honor the top 100 proven technological advances of the year. Teams at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories and the Y-12 National Security Complex received a total of eight awards.

“From national security to energy to health sciences, the work these researchers are doing has far-reaching, positive implications for all of us. And these awards reflect the tangible results research activities at these three sites are yielding,” said Craig Albert, president of Bechtel Systems & Infrastructure, Inc., Bechtel’s government services unit involved in the operation of the sites.

Researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), which is operated by a partnership led by the University of California (UC) and Bechtel, received five awards; teams at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), operated by another UC-Bechtel-led partnership received two awards; and a joint team from LANL and Y-12, which is managed and operated by a partnership of Babcock & Wilcox and Bechtel, received one award.

These award-winning advances include:

  • A new photonic method, developed by LLNL researchers Joseph Farmer and Alexander Rubenchik with help from Livermore-based Metal Improvement Company, that produces high-performance, protective coatings that prevent corrosion, wear, and other modes of degradation in extreme environments.

  • The first plastic material, developed by a team of LLNL researchers led by Natalia Zaitseva and Steve Payne, that is capable of efficiently distinguishing neutrons from gamma rays, which is key to identifying nuclear substances such as uranium and plutonium and differentiating them from benign radioactive sources.

  • A revolutionary software package developed by LANL researchers Joel Berendzen, Nicolas Hengartner, Judith Cohn, and Benjamin McMahon, that can chew through one human genome’s worth of DNA analysis in 30 minutes on a single core of a laptop.

  • A technology that eliminates the use of valves by using a laser to repeatedly access and reseal completely sealed containers. Its applications range from advancing the safety of sampling high-hazard waste containers to improving leak-testing of pacemakers before use. This award was jointly won by LANL and Y-12.

Both labs and Y-12 are part of NNSA’s nuclear security enterprise of laboratories and manufacturing facilities that carry out the agency’s mission of ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile. They also develop technologies to fight the global danger from the proliferation of nuclear weapons and materials. In addition, these three sites conduct cutting-edge research that solves problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security.