National Nuclear Security Administration

Y-12 extends nuclear expertise by housing certified reference materials used around the world

July 23, 2018

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Workers prepare a shipment in Y-12 National Security Complex’s new NBL Center. The center provides special nuclear certified reference samples internationally.
Workers prepare a shipment in Y-12 National Security Complex’s new NBL Center. The center provides special nuclear certified reference samples internationally.

Y-12 National Security Complex has taken on a new responsibility in NNSA: as a storage and distribution center for the NBL Program Office. The NBL Program Office is named after the former the New Brunswick Laboratory, ensures the reliability of the nation’s certified reference materials to provide measurement support to programs in nonproliferation, safeguards, and other national security programs.

In addition to meeting the needs of NNSA’s and the Department of Energy’s domestic programs and laboratories, the reference materials are also vital to commercial entities and research institutions around the world. The materials are used in a laboratory setting to verify the performance and quality assurance of an instrument or method. Their size typically ranges from less than one gram to a few grams, depending on the material type. 

About 50 people from the Nuclear Security Enterprise attended the opening of the NBL Program Office Center at Y-12 last month.

“Y-12 is honored to assume the work of the center, which previously was done at Argonne National Laboratory,” said NNSA Production Office Manager Geoff Beausoleil. “Our expertise with nuclear materials has earned us many accolades, and this one is a big feather in our cap. As a center of excellence in uranium, we have the means and the expertise to run the center easily.”

The new facility made its first shipment of reference material to the International Atomic Energy Agency, in April. By the end of Fiscal Year 2019, it will house 8,800 certified reference materials.

To learn more about the NBL Program Office, see this link.

Officials cut the ribbon to open a new building and nuclear security mission for Y-12 National Security Complex: the NBL Center.
Officials cut the ribbon to open a new building and nuclear security mission for Y-12 National Security Complex: the NBL Center.