Public Release: 

Jefferson lab staff develop and teach safety class at particle accelerator school

Kelly Mahoney and Sandra Prior, of Jefferson Lab's Accelerator Division, were selected to design and teach System Safety and Safety Systems for Accelerators at the January 2003 U.S. Particle Accelerator School (USPAS), held in Baton Rouge, La

DOE/Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility

The Accelerator Division's Kelly Mahoney (left) and Sandy Prior pause for a photo in front of the safety systems console in the Machine Control Center.

Full size image available through contact

Kelly Mahoney and Sandra Prior, of JLab's Accelerator Division, were selected to design and teach System Safety and Safety Systems for Accelerators at the January 2003 U.S. Particle Accelerator School (USPAS), held in Baton Rouge, La.

Attendees from across the Department of Energy complex, the Department of Defense, Rutherford Lab in the UK, and CERN in Switzerland attended this first-of-its-kind class offered by the school. The program was well received, both by the national and international students, as well as by school director, Helmut Wiedemann.

Mahoney, leader of the Safety Systems Group in the Accelerator Operations department, has over 20 years of experience in high assurance system design such as radars, satellite transceivers, RF controls, JLab's personnel and machine protection systems, and the beam envelope limit system (BELS). He also contributes to the development of international standards used in the design of high reliability equipment. Mahoney provided the technical base for the USPAS safety class, covering subjects such as safety system design, risk and reliability analysis techniques, system architectures, and basic accelerator theory.

Prior, of the recently formed Accelerator Division EH&S Department, provided a different, but equally important aspect of the program. She has more than 25 years of experience in the field of Health and Safety and is very familiar with the federal, state, and international requirements that form the basis for accelerator regulation. She presented sections of the class covering national and international regulatory and statutory requirements for accelerator safety as well as hazard analysis and lifecycle management practices for system safety programs.

Prior gained her knowledge of international health and safety requirements during the mid-80s, while serving in the U.S. Army at its Medical Command Headquarters in Heidelberg, Germany, where she was responsible for setting up an occupational health and safety program for the military and civilian people working for U.S. Army European Command. In 1996, she served on a committee for JLab's "Necessary and Sufficient Review" of applicable federal and state requirements which received the Al Gore Hammer award from the then vice president. Her experiences set the context wherein safety systems are developed.

Mahoney and Prior were pleased with the outcome of the program. Fourteen students attended the class -- nearly doubling the expected number -- and gave them an outstanding rating on their surveys. USPAS Director Helmut Wiedemann has already contacted the two about presenting the class again. At present it is scheduled for mid-2004. In the future, in addition to university credits, credit toward professional certifications may be earned by attending the course.

USPAS is a DOE sponsored program designed to teach basic and advanced accelerator engineering and physics subjects in an intense two-week curriculum. The school is based at Fermilab in Chicago. Classes are offered semiannually with the next set planned for Santa Barbara, Calif., in June 2003. The January 2004 school will be hosted by JLab and the College of William & Mary. Attendees may take the classes for credit through Indiana University and apply them towards IU's graduate program in accelerator physics. Learn more about the school and its graduate program, online at


By John Anderson, Public Affairs Intern

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