Tarter testifies before Senate subcommittee

Laboratory Director Bruce Tarter testified before a Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on March 19, 1998. Tarter's prepared testimony focused on stockpile stewardship and on stemming the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. The text of the prepared testimony is available on Livermore's Web page: http://www.llnl.gov/PAO/cbt6_testimony/.
Tarter said that the Stockpile Stewardship Program, which is intended to help maintain the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear weapons in the absence of nuclear testing, "is off to a good start." He described how Livermore and other national laboratories have started executing detailed stockpile stewardship plans. For instance, construction is under way at Livermore on the $1.2-billion National Ignition Facility, an experimental laser designed to provide the means for investigating thermonuclear physics. In addition, a high-performance computer for simulating weapon physics, developed by IBM, is being upgraded to make it the fastest and most capable supercomputer in the world.
Tarter also reported on the Laboratory's efforts to counter the spread of weapons of mass destruction-nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. He described Livermore's strategy in tackling the challenge posed by these weapons across the entire spectrum of the threat: preventing proliferation at the source, detecting and reversing proliferant activities, and countering terrorism from weapons of mass destruction.
Contact: Contact: Craig Savoye (925) 422-9919 (savoye1@llnl.gov).

Nielsen Dillingham awarded $58-million NIF contract

Nielsen Dillingham Builders of Pleasanton, California, has been awarded a $58.4-million contract to construct the Target Area Building for the National Ignition Facility (NIF), the world's largest laser. This latest contract is the last major subcontract to be issued for the NIF buildings at the Laboratory. It covers construction of the portion of the facility that will house the target chamber, final optics, and laser switchyard. Included in the work will be the concrete above the mat foundations, the building shell and walls, and interior components for heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, electrical, telephone, and fire alarm systems.
The U.S. Department of Energy's NIF is a stadium-sized, $1.2-billion, 192-beam laser complex now under construction at Lawrence Livermore. Slated for completion in 2003, the facility will create-for the first time in a laboratory-brief bursts of self-sustaining fusion reactions similar to those occurring in the sun and stars. The resulting data will help DOE maintain the safety and reliability of the nation's nuclear stockpile without nuclear testing while providing benefits in basic science, astrophysics, and commercial fusion power production.
Contact: Gordon Yano (925) 423-3117 (yano1@llnl.gov).

Lab supports DOE education initiative

In an effort to prepare high school students for careers in science or math, the Department of Energy, the national laboratories, and the National Science Foundation are spearheading a nationwide program to educate teachers.
Through the National Science Education Strategy, selected teachers of kindergarten through 12th grade students will use resources of the national laboratories and other DOE facilities to improve the quality of their teaching in science, math, and technology.
"Most of the continued education or professional development teachers get is through classroom lectures, with little opportunity for hands-on work," says Sam Rodriguez, who is leading the effort for DOE. Rodriguez, assistant director of energy research communications and development at DOE, has traveled to laboratories across the nation, coordinating with education leaders on program content. In March, he came to Lawrence Livermore for a series of program development discussions with California school district officials and with members of the Lawrence Livermore, Lawrence Berkeley, and Sandia (Livermore) education programs.
"We're trying to replace static science training for teachers with real science," Rodriguez explained. By letting teachers see and participate in research projects at the various laboratories, "we will be making science come alive for these teachers. We will be building a stronger foundation when these teachers return to their classrooms."
The program will borrow heavily on education outreach programs already in place at the national laboratories and will create new programs between the laboratories and the school systems participating in the National Science Foundation's educational system reform programs.
Through a two-part program, each teacher will get 80 to 100 hours of advanced training in computer and Internet use. The second part of the program will consist of 20 days of hands-on research in applied science and technology development. For those teachers unable to participate in the hands-on research, DOE will team with the National Science Teachers Association to provide general knowledge and understanding of energy science via the Internet. An interactive software program is being developed that will enable on-line volunteers and teachers to exchange information within specific scientific disciplines.
Contact: Stephen Sesko (925) 422-5385 (sesko1@llnl.gov)).
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