National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA nonproliferation expert nominated for prestigious public service award

May 10, 2019

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Led international programs to convert weapons-grade nuclear materials for civilian use

WASHINGTON – An expert in nuclear nonproliferation at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has been named one of 26 finalists for the Partnership for Public Service’s 2019 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals.

Kara L. De Castro, currently a senior advisor for NNSA’s Office of Business Services, has led international programs to convert weapons-grade nuclear materials for civilian use and enhanced security culture to guard against their mishandling and misuse around the globe.

“More than three hundred million Americans and everyone else on the planet are safer because of Kara De Castro’s nuclear security work and all of the contributions she has made to our global nonproliferation efforts,” said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE’s Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator.

Also known as the “Sammies,” the medals highlight excellence in the government workforce to inspire other talented and dedicated individuals to join public service.

De Castro partnered with 14 sites in Russia and seven in Ukraine to protect nuclear materials and improve security, and spent time working on important security issues with Belarus and Belgium. She also served as the primary energy and nonproliferation advisor to the U.S. embassy in Pakistan and negotiated the establishment of a nuclear security training center in China.

“I’m honored to be nominated for this award. The mission is vital and I believe the work we’re doing creates a better world for future generations,” said De Castro.

The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization whose mission is to help make our government more effective. The 2019 Sammies winners will be announced this October. There will also be a People’s Choice Award winner selected via online poll. You can vote once per day, starting today, Friday, May 10, through Monday, July 8.