News Release

Nonproliferation, national security, nuclear energy, infrastructure resilience and climate teams from Argonne earn Secretary of Energy Honor Awards

Six groups of Argonne researchers net top awards for climate science, nuclear technologies, infrastructure resilience and national security efforts

Grant and Award Announcement

DOE/Argonne National Laboratory



Argonne National Laboratory.

view more 

Credit: (Image by Argonne National Laboratory.)

Extraordinary work by Argonne teams garners awards that celebrate a combination of specialized capabilities, collaboration and common purpose.

Researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory are part of six groups that received 2023 Secretary of Energy Honor Awards. The awards are considered among the highest forms of recognition that can be bestowed by DOE.

Secretary Jennifer Granholm recognized the broad-sweeping impact of award-winning teams with unique specialties but common and ​“amazing purposes” in a ceremony on Feb. 20. Deputy Secretary David Turk and undersecretaries from across the federal agency acknowledged individuals and provided project specifics.

Five of the groups that received team Achievement Awards featured members of Argonne’s Nuclear Technologies and National Security (NTNS) directorate. A sixth multilaboratory group that received an Achievement Award for Leadership in Climate Action included Rao Kotamarthi, a senior scientist in Argonne’s Environmental Science division (EVS) in the Computing, Environment and Life Sciences directorate. Kotamarthi’s work included funding from AT&T and DOE’s Biological and Environmental Research program, as well as several other government and industry sponsors.

“We treasure the teamwork that turns individual expertise into global impact.” — John G. Stevens, Argonne National Laboratory

Jiali Wang, another EVS scientist, and Bonnie Basiorka, from Argonne’s Financial Management and Procurement Services (FMPS) directorate, were recognized for their contributions to NTNS-led projects.

“Congratulations to our colleagues on earning the highest recognition from the Secretary of Energy,” said Argonne Director Paul Kearns. ​“These honors exemplify some of the pivotal discoveries and global impact that our world-class community of talent achieves here at Argonne. Their accomplishments also underscore the success of the NTNS directorate since its establishment only two years ago and the strength of our EVS and FMPS teams.”

NTNS’s five remarkable Honors Awards

The first award announcements for Argonne’s NTNS directorate came to two groups dedicated to nuclear nonproliferation research and development. The two projects were funded by National Nuclear Security Administration’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation in what is now the Office of Reactor Conversion and Uranium Supply.

The first team featured 13 people who worked to make nuclear fuels and processes safer in Germany. The Achievement Award granted to the German FRM-II Low-Enriched Uranium Conversion Team recognized Aurelian Bergeron, Cezary Bojanowski, Thad A. Heltemes, Jeremy Richard Licht, Basar Ozar, Francesc Puig, Jordi Roglans-Ribas, Marta Anna Sitek and John G. Stevens from NTNS’s Nuclear Science and Engineering division and Gerard L. Hofman, Yeon Soo Kim, Abdellatif M. Yacout and Bei Ye from NTNS’s Chemical and Fuel Cycle Technologies division.

The second team featured 14 people working on a project involving molybdenum-99, a valued isotope used in medical procedures whose purification process needed to be re-examined during conversion efforts. The Achievement Award granted to the International Molybdenum-99 Conversion Team included Bonnie Basiorka from Argonne’s FMPS directorate; M. Alex Brown, William L. Ebert, Artem Gelis, now at University of Nevada, Las Vegas, James L. Jerden, Peter Tkac, George Vandegrift and Amanda J. Youker from NTNS’s Chemical and Fuel Cycle Technologies division; and Karen R. Grudzinski, Thad A. Heltemes, John W. Holland, Jordi Roglans-Ribas, John G. Stevens and Caryn Warsaw from NTNS’s Nuclear Science and Engineering division.

“We treasure the teamwork that turns individual expertise into global impact,” said John G. Stevens, an NTNS program manager in reactor material management who was recognized for his work on both teams. ​“These are remarkable individuals and deeply impactful teams who finish daunting tasks with creativity and persistence.”

One group was recognized with an Achievement Award for impact in national security. The DOE Ukraine Response Team included five Argonne honorees from NTNS’s Nuclear Science and Engineering division and Strategic Security Sciences division. They conducted nuclear safety and security assessments and supported large-scale shipments that helped secure nuclear energy infrastructure to mitigate risk in Ukraine. This work was done for NNSA. NTNS’s Thomas Fanning, senior advisor to the assistant secretary for nuclear energy, received an Achievement Award for his part in the DecaBDE Response Team, which addressed impacts on the nuclear industry of an Environmental Protection Agency ruling prohibiting distribution in commerce of a specific flame retardant used in wire and cable insulation. The project was done for DOE’s Office of Nuclear Energy.

A fifth Achievement Award celebrating NTNS efforts recognized work by the Puerto Rico Grid Recovery & Modernization Team. Three scientists from NTNS’s Decision and Infrastructure Sciences division — Susan Jones, Lawrence Paul Lewis and John Murphy — were honored with Jiali Wang from the EVS division. The team’s creativity, steadfastness and collaboration will ensure that the pathways toward a 100% renewable energy transition for Puerto Rico promote energy justice, bolster infrastructure resilience and are adapted to future climate risks. This work was funded through an interagency reimbursable work agreement between DOE, DOE’s Grid Deployment Office and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Argonne National Laboratory seeks solutions to pressing national problems in science and technology. The nation’s first national laboratory, Argonne conducts leading-edge basic and applied scientific research in virtually every scientific discipline. Argonne researchers work closely with researchers from hundreds of companies, universities, and federal, state and municipal agencies to help them solve their specific problems, advance America’s scientific leadership and prepare the nation for a better future. With employees from more than 60 nations, Argonne is managed by UChicago Argonne, LLC for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science is the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States and is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information, visit https://​ener​gy​.gov/​s​c​ience.

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.