This week, Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Under Secretary for Nuclear Security of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), visited the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) to thank employees for their continued work amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The trip coincided with the NNSA’s 20th anniversary.
On day one of her visit (Sept. 2), Administrator Gordon-Hagerty toured the Nuclear Testing Archive and the National Atomic Testing Museum before traveling to Switch Data Centers to cut the ribbon on the NNSS’ Emergency Communications Network and celebrate project cost savings.
She traveled out to the Site on Sept. 3, where she conducted an all-hands (in person with a small number of employees and the rest via livestream, due to social distancing) with the NNSS’ approximately 3,000 federal and contractor employees, who have persevered through the COVID-19 pandemic and made it possible for NNSA to fulfill its national security missions.
“Your work keeps our Nation safe from nuclear threat and helps to maintain the nuclear deterrent vital to protecting American interests,” Administrator Gordon-Hagerty said. “Visiting our Nevada site provided me with an opportunity to thank those who have continued to achieve our national security missions while maintaining safe working protocols under truly unique circumstances.”
She also touted NNSS’ dedication and adherence to its national security mission in the midst of a global pandemic and praised NNSS for having “no missed deliverables” since alternate work arrangements began. “In the face of international concerns,” she noted, “taking this time off was not an option.”
Administrator Gordon-Hagerty concluded, “Now the challenge is to sustain efforts at the NNSS while maintaining social distancing and other COVID-19 protocols. Our Nation is relying on each of you to remain healthy and continue your critically important work here at NNSS.”
Following her all hands, the Administrator presided over a dedication for the completion of the final phase of work on the NNSS’ state-of-the-art Argus security system at the Site’s most secure facility, the Device Assembly Facility (DAF), which supports subcritical experiments, special nuclear material staging and emergency response training.
She completed her visit with a tour of the current work taking place at the Site’s underground U1a facility — the only place in the Nation where subcritical experiments can be conducted — as well as a visit to Mercury Building 1, the first building in the Mercury Modernization series.