Welcome to the February 2014 Communicator


By Brian Boyer
INMM Communicator Editor

While it may be cold and snowing around the United States, here in New Mexico it has been sunny, cold and dry the last two months. I have been very busy as well as struggling with flu bugs and my home computer’s buggy death throes, which have slowed down the Communicator. A key development in the Communications Committee with thanks to George Baldwin is a new improved web presence for INMM. We also thank our HQ staff Patricia Sullivan for her efforts getting this improved platform up and running. The goal is to make it easier to use the web site and easier to see the benefits of INMM for members and for NGOs and government and international organizations by our promoting and supporting nuclear material management efforts around the globe. I feel that INMM has been and is a true bargain for the folks in the trenches as well as those in the ivory towers and seats of power in the world-wide efforts to manage the atom.


New – Improved – INMM Web Site - Faster, Higher, Stronger!

My tardiness allows me to include the Southwest Chapter’s very successful Winter Meeting January 17 in Santa Fe. Acting Administrator and Acting Undersecretary for Nuclear Security Bruce Held was our speaker. He is responsible for operational and policy matters across the DOE/NNSA enterprise in support of President Obama’s nuclear security agenda. Held is a retired clandestine operations officer of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) where he received the Intelligence Commendation Medal for “tenacity and extraordinary accomplishments during a period of hostilities.” During his career with the CIA, he served as Chief of Station in Asia, Latin America and Africa. He also served as Special Assistant to Anthony Lake, National Security Adviser to President Clinton, and as Special Assistant to George Tenet, Director of Central Intelligence.

Bruce Held gave an interesting talk on NNSA and the future of NNSA efforts and goals. He is a bit different than most of our speakers in that his previous jobs had him carrying a gun and living rather surreptitiously under cover sometimes meeting shady characters in back streets to give them a bag of 3-5 million dollars with only a scrap of paper for a receipt. He noted that the best spy novel he ever read is Agents of Innocence by David Ignatius.  He noted that his wife in reading it said, “that is you!”

He also said that former DOE Secretary Chu called him a 19th Century man when Bruce told him he had no TV. I imagine that being a spy makes watching TV pedestrian.  Furthermore, for the youngsters in the audience, as they used to say on the baseball game of the week 40 years ago, eschewing TV maybe a key to career success.  However, since Dr. Chu watches TV and also has a Nobel Prize in Physics I may be sending a mixed message. The message that Held sent out in his interesting talk was received by an audience of more than 70, including University of New Mexico students including Chapter President Arnika Chidambaram, and Faculty Adviser Adam Hecht, Sandia and Los Alamos lobbies, Aqila people and retirees, and six present and former INMM presidents including Ken Sorenson, of course. One possible bright note from Bruce Held was that he feels that Ernie Moniz will be a good DOE Secretary and there may be some relief from the onerous conference government guidelines in the coming year. 


Southwest Chapter Cavalcade of INMM presidents and Speaker Bruce Held (17 Jan 2014)
From left to right: John C. Matter (‘03-‘04), Nancy Jo Nicholas (‘07-‘08), Ken Sorenson (‘13-‘14),
Bruce Held, Yvonne Ferris (‘85-‘86), Dennis Mangan (‘93-‘94), James Lovett (‘71-‘72)

Looking back to November 2013 we had a spirited Executive Committee Meeting in Chicago at the Drake Hotel on the shores of Lake Michigan. Our leadership is working hard to steer INMM through the rough fiscal waters we find ourselves in. There will be changes to the Annual Meeting but I guarantee that it will still be a great event in Atlanta. While the weather was gray and damp our spirits are high and we are dedicated to the members of the INMM here in the United States and around the world.  We see new chapters forming overseas and at universities and vow to support them and their members. I want to note that Steve Wyrick has replaced Ruth Duggan as a Member-at-Large.  We wish Ruth the best and thank her for her services.


Water Tower Place - Chicago skyline in Lego – my son’s favorite mode of expression –
rain and fog made the real skyline hidden from photographic views so a Lego variant must suffice.


View from the Drake Hotel of Lake Michigan on a chilly November rush hour
as the fog drops over Chicago and the lake


On the “L” from the hotel to Chicago’s Midway Airport, one passes by a school aptly appropriate for INMM
and to Polish pride in Chicago (Marie Sklodowska Curie Metro High School). While an IAEA inspector,
I did a safeguards inspection in Warsaw at the Maria Skodowska-Curie Institute of Oncology in 2000.

In This Issue

Once again we have a mix of contributions this issue.

We have features from two of our technical divisions from representing the International Safeguards Technical Division (ISD) , on their activities and the Facility Operations Technical Division (FOTD), describing their divisions’ activities.

Michael Huggins has contributed another piece on the emerging generation of nuclear professional on his recent work trip to Mexico with Siemens AG working on PET pharmaceuticals. The diversity and worldwide scope of nuclear materials management is on display here.

We also have an short article about the new digital delivery of the Journal and another on the INMM 55th Annual Meeting.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you. If you have any items you would like to have in the Communicator, please forward them to me. We are the Communications Committee!

Spreading the news of what is and what goes on in our profession is our mission!

Of course, the Communications Committee is still looking for volunteers: drop me a line at  With my foray into the Executive Committee we are looking for a new Communications Committee Chair and I believe we should also get some new blood to run the Communicator.