Pantex Blog

Pantex Emergency Management joins NISC

Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 15:48

Pantex Emergency Management was recently granted membership in the National Information Sharing Consortium, an independent consortium of civic, federal, and private leaders in public safety, emergency preparedness and response, and information sharing technologies.

NISC was launched in 2012 to improve the state of public safety and emergency management information sharing and interoperability. The organization achieves this goal by sharing, connecting, innovating, and leading. With its NISC membership, Pantex Emergency Management has new access to tools, templates, and lessons learned that will provide value to the site’s emergency response operations.

Pantex honors North Amarillo Auto Parts

Posted: Thursday, December 7, 2017 - 15:12

Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC honored North Amarillo Auto Parts as Small Business of the Year at this year’s Amarillo Small Business Awards. The ceremony was a collaborative effort among CNS, West Texas A&M University, the City of Amarillo, and the WTAMU Small Business Development Center to recognize small businesses in the Texas Panhandle area.

With a fleet that includes fire trucks and specialized security vehicles, many of Pantex’s requests fall outside normal auto parts requests. Paul Bently, Pantex crafts supervisor, said "Matt (Newkirk) at North Amarillo Auto Parts spends countless hours on the phone and on the internet searching for hard-to-find parts that we need every day in the shop."

CNS has set a goal to award 60 percent of contracts to small businesses. “CNS would not be able to achieve its mission without the support of small businesses; they truly are the heart of our economy,” said Ryan Johnston, the CNS Small Business Program Manager.

Watch this video about North Amarillo Auto Parts and its relationship with Pantex.

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Wild Pantex – Panhandle Texas Horned Lizards: Small, Yet Resourceful

Posted: Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 10:51

Article by Jim Ray, Pantex Wildlife Biologist/Scientist

Most of us who were raised in Texas and the adjoining states in the early and middle portions of the 20th Century have fond memories of the Texas horned lizard, which we called the horny toad. This flat and well-armored lizard was quite abundant in my hometown of Dalhart, Texas. As a child, I spent many an hour searching for them, studying them a few minutes, and then allowing them to continue on their way. Now, less abundant or even absent from much of its original range, this species of horned lizard is protected in Texas and is the subject of many research questions which will hopefully comprise the pieces to the puzzle as to why this species has declined in many areas.

The U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration Pantex Plant where I work happens to still have a good population of Texas horned lizards. In fact, I find they are still abundant in grassland areas of this part of the state. As the Pantex wildlife biologist (and with proper permits in hand) I have had a great opportunity over the last 18 years to continue to play with these lizards. Better yet, one of the first two research projects that we have initiated here at Pantex was one working on Texas horned lizards and other herpetofauna (reptiles and amphibians) in collaboration with Dr. Richard Kazmaier of West Texas A&M University. We studied this reptile on site for nearly a decade, even using tiny radio-transmitter backpacks for tracking and determining its habitat needs here in the shortgrass prairies of the Southern Great Plains.

One very interesting aspect of our research was a contradiction that we found relative to previously known research on the lizard’s diet. Diet analyses of a large sample of Texas horned lizards at Pantex and another research site studied by West Texas A&M indicated that Panhandle lizards are more generalists in their diet than horned lizards from other areas. These lizards are widely known to primarily consume several species of the harvester ant, most notably the red harvester ant (Pogonomyrmex barbatus). Although various species of ants still comprise the majority of their diet, Panhandle horned lizards tend to consume more of the much smaller species of ants, as well as other invertebrate prey.

The fact that these “northern” horned lizards are smaller than those in the rest of the state likely plays a role in this difference of diet. The energetics associated with the smaller body size allows them to subsist on smaller invertebrate prey. Or is it the opposite? Does the small body size come from the lower dependence on the large harvester-ant species? Although harvester-ant colonies may still be an important component of their habitat across their range, being more of a generalist allows the lizards in the Texas Panhandle to survive should harvester-ant colonies be less abundant than in other areas or between years.

Please feel free to share this link with others who enjoy wildlife or that appreciate entities that strive to contribute to wildlife conservation.

Texas horned lizard

Photo: Both of these Texas horned lizards exhibited blood-squirting behavior (from the eyes as a defense strategy) upon capture as part of research on the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration Pantex Plant. Pantex and West Texas A&M staff possessed the required permits to capture and handle these lizards for research purposes.

Secretary Perry visits Pantex

Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 09:55
Secretary of Energy Rick Perry tours the ASCSecretary of Energy Rick Perry tours the Administrative Support Complex construction site during his first visit to the Pantex Plant.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry recently made his first visit to the Pantex Plant to observe operations and tour new facilities. He toured the Administrative Support Complex construction site, bays and cells used for weapon assembly and disassembly activities, and a weapon and component staging area. Secretary Perry also viewed the new Confined Large Optical Scintillator Screen and Imaging System (known as CoLOSSIS II) and a live-fire demonstration of the Common Remotely Operated Weapons System. The visit provided Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC an excellent opportunity to showcase Pantex’s important role in America’s security and the site’s ongoing infrastructure revitalization efforts.


Pantexan’s dissertation named best of the year

Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 08:48
Pantex’s Mike Bromley of Projects Management

Pantex’s Mike Bromley of Projects Management recently received the 2017 American Society for Engineering Management Best Dissertation award at the organization’s International Annual Conference in Huntsville, Alabama.

The engineering and management professionals in the ASEM remarked that Bromley’s dissertation integrated analytical and managerial concerns with quality design and data collection, resulting in conclusions with application to many organizations.

The analysis of his dissertation, Economic Analysis Model for High Reliability Organizations, required significant input related to plant operations, facilities, personnel, costs, events, incidents, and accidents. Bromley said he appreciated the helpful input from many Pantex subject matter experts on meteorology, asbestos, cost estimating, safety analysis, process engineering, and high explosives. He also added that a non-employee could never have collected the required data, and it was a challenge to keep everything unclassified.