Energy Secretary honors researchers for global threat reduction
By Michelle Kelly
Seven Argonne employees were among those presented with a Secretary of Energy Honor Achievement Award for their work with global partners to convert the Ghana Research Reactor-1 (GHARR-1) Miniature Neutron Source Reactor that was using high-enriched uranium fuel, or HEU, which was replaced with low-enriched fuel. Receiving the Achievement Award were Nuclear Sciences and Engineering employees Bonnie Basiorka, Karen Grudzinski, James Morman, Francesc Puig, John Stevens, Caryn Warsaw and Division Director Jordi Roglans-Ribas.
The Secretary’s Honor Awards are the Department of Energy’s highest form of internal employee recognition and the Achievement Award recognizes cooperation, individual and team excellence and significant achievement on behalf of the DOE. Award recipients receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of Energy, Rick Perry. The Secretary presented the awards at a ceremony in Washington, D.C. on August 29, 2018.
GHARR-1, the only nuclear reactor in Ghana, near Accra, is one of seven HEU-fueled Miniature Neutron Source Reactor, or MNSRs, that the National Nuclear Security Administration Office of Material Management and Minimization (M3) is working to convert. Designed and constructed in China, GHARR-1 is used as a research and development tool for Ghana’s nuclear power program, including nuclear engineering, physics experiments and for educational purposes at the University of Ghana School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences.
The GHARR-1 is the first exported MNSR to be converted, resulting in a permanent nuclear threat elimination by minimizing the risks associated with the use of HEU. This 11-year project demonstrates a commitment to Argonne’s core values, including impact, safety, respect, integrity and teamwork.
John Stevens, a member of the convert team, said, “It is so satisfying to see such a long and complex project reach success. Many worked hard for years to progress from design, to fabrication, to implementation. Together, we reduced the threat of nuclear proliferation while maintaining the scientific capability of the Ghana MNSR.”
The GHARR-1 team comprised 32 team members, including staff at M3 headquarters, Argonne, Idaho and Oak Ridge National Laboratories, and the Y-12 National Security Complex.