Sunday, October 1, 1995

Joint Seminar with Russian and American Scientists

Event: 1993-1995.
Seminar support team at LANL (Coordinator Eugene Kovalenko is 2nd from right)  
In 1993 a plutonium reprossessing plant in Tomsk, Siberia, blew up and scattered plutonium over a wide area. The incident was not a nuclear explosion, but a chemical one due to operator procedural error. Because American nuclear materials reprossessing procedures are similar, a team from LANL was quickly put together to help the newly transformed Soviet-to-Russian scientists solve and remedy this problem.

Group leader Harold Sullivan from the LANL nuclear safety division was tasked to put the American team together. Having learned that I was newly available after having left my Stakeholder Information Office (SIO) in the Lab's deputy director's office, Harold hired me to coordinate a seminar between Russian and American scientists. He first sent me to the Defense Language Institute (DLI) in Monterey, California (formerly the Army Language School), for a a refresher course in Russian. Then we invited two top Russian scientists to come to Los Alamos to survey LANL facilities and help us set up an appropriate task force team and communication network.

In the photo above Harold is standing just to the right of the five seated ladies. I am the second from the right of the first standing row. I had met Harold in late 1993 in the Los Alamos Christian Church after having brought Birgitta from Sweden, moving to Los Alamos and marrying her in October 1993. Birgitta chose the church and Harold was the first person I met by sitting next to him on a sanctuary pew during our first church visit.