National Nuclear Security Administration

NNSA senior leader nominated for prestigious public service award

May 8, 2018

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David Huizenga
David Huizenga

WASHINGTON – A leader in nuclear nonproliferation at the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has been named one of 27 finalists for the 2018 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medals.

David Huizenga, the Principal Assistant Deputy Administrator for NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation, works to reduce global nuclear dangers by advancing capabilities to prevent nuclear and radiological proliferation and terrorism threats worldwide.

“Dave is a widely regarded nonproliferation expert, not only throughout our government but by governments around the world,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette. “Today, there are fewer nuclear materials in rogue nations that could be diverted into nuclear warheads. The people of the United States and the entire world are more secure as a result of his work.”

Also known as the “Sammies,” the medals recognize outstanding federal employees who serve the public good and address many of the United States’ greatest challenges.

Huizenga and his team work to minimize the number of nuclear-armed states and deny terrorist organizations and sub-state actors access to nuclear weapons, materials, and expertise. In recent years, Huizenga worked with his staff to remove weapons-useable highly enriched uranium from Poland, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. Additionally, they’ve successfully removed more than 500 kilograms of uranium and plutonium from a Japanese research facility. 

Huizenga also coordinated with the International Atomic Energy Agency and Chinese counterparts to remove uranium from a research reactor in Ghana and convert the reactor for use with non-weapons grade fuel. He is currently engaged in the government-wide effort to develop options to counter increasing threats from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“We are all safer because of Dave Huizenga’s dedicated public service,” said Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, DOE Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator. “He’s a true team player, driving collaboration with domestic and international partners, the U.S. National Laboratories, and other federal agencies to accomplish a vital national security mission.”

Many U.S. hospitals use radiation for cancer treatments or to run diagnostic tests. In the wrong hands, those radiation sources could be used to make a dirty bomb so Huizenga and his team are working today to reduce the amount of radioactive materials used in medical devices.

“There are so many deserving men and women across federal service, including the many other feds and lab employees that I work with on a daily basis,” Huizenga said. “It takes the entire team to accomplish our nonproliferation goals, and I certainly couldn’t do this work without them.”

A federal employee for 28 years, Huizenga has leadership, management, and technical experience in a wide variety of programs across the Department of Energy. Huizenga previously served as the Acting Assistant Secretary for the Office of Environmental Management and was responsible for the management and oversight of the world’s largest environmental remediation program.