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Argonne National Laboratory

U.S. Nuclear Nexus Leadership

Allison Bennett Irion, Director

Allison Bennett Irion is the Director of the U.S. Nuclear Nexus, managing this U.S. nuclear industry resource for the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA). Allison and her team work to demystify the process of connecting with NNSA expertise and guidance on the global deployment of U.S. civilian nuclear technology.

As a systems engineer, Allison has nearly twenty years of experience focusing on managing and implementing nuclear nonproliferation and supply chain optimization efforts, including spending nearly ten years working with NNSA’s global partners from London, UK. She leads Argonne National Laboratory’s Nuclear/Radiological Proliferation Analysis and Modeling Group, which provides technical expertise on international nuclear security, nuclear safeguards and export control compliance.  As Chair of Argonne’s Advanced Supply Chain Analytics (ASCA) Initiative, she connects multi-disciplinary teams to provide end-to-end supply chain solutions that assure the supply of materials critical to U.S. strategic interests and deny the supply of proliferation-sensitive goods to adversaries. Serving as a Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve’s Strategic Sealift Program, Allison is a licensed officer in the U.S. Merchant Marine. She is currently a Veteran’s in Advanced Energy Fellow at the Atlantic Council. Allison holds a B.S. in Logistics and Intermodal Transportation from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and a master’s degree in Systems Engineering, focusing on Logistics and Supply Chains from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Erna Gevondyan, Program Manager

Erna Gevondyan is the Program Manager for U.S. Nuclear Nexus, an effort sponsored by DOE/NNSA’s Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation (DNN) aimed at streamlining connections between U.S. civilian nuclear industry and NNSA with a focus of providing access to NNSA expertise on international nuclear security, international nuclear safeguards, and proliferation resistance in nuclear systems. She is an energy systems risk analyst focused on improvement of energy systems safety and security.

Erna also serves as Argonne’s relationship manager with the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), where her support focuses on improving system safety as well as research on greenhouse gas management.

Additionally, Erna’s work includes the introduction and application of the U.S. standards and best practices to the energy systems safety in post-Soviet countries, such as safety enhancement efforts for VVER-type nuclear power reactors in Armenia and Ukraine. 

Through her passion for continuous learning and teaching, Erna supports a number of education and student outreach activities at Argonne National Laboratory.

Lauren Boldon, Senior Technical Lead

Dr. Lauren Boldon serves as a nuclear subject matter expert for U.S. Nuclear Nexus. She is a Principal Nuclear Engineer in the Strategic Security Sciences Division. She received her Ph.D., M.Eng, and B.S. in Nuclear Engineering and Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with her research focused on the development of a sustainability metric for advanced energy systems that incorporated exergy, life cycle, and economic analyses. She also received her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification in 2020.

In her programmatic role at Argonne, Dr. Boldon primarily supports the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of Nonproliferation and Arms Control (NPAC) and is one of the relationship managers for the NPAC Policy Office. Her work covers export control licensing, compliance, and interdiction; multilateral regime support; and engagement and capacity building of export controls.

Dr. Boldon continues to be heavily involved in the Women and Science and Technology (WIST) program, serving as the current WIST Program Initiator and prior role as In-Reach Subcommittee Chair and member of the Steering Committee. The main focus areas of this effort include fostering the pipeline of women pursuing STEM and supporting the development of women in science at the laboratory.

Acacia Brunett, Industry Outreach Lead

Dr. Acacia (Kacie) J. Brunett is a Principal Nuclear Engineer at Argonne National Laboratory. As the Industry Outreach Lead for the Nexus team, Kacie focuses on the alignment of the U.S. Nuclear Nexus with current domestic industry needs through outward-facing engagements. Her primary goal in this role is to help industry connect with Nexus and facilitate improved positioning of Nexus to meet stakeholder’s needs.

Since joining the Lab in 2013, Kacie’s work has focused on advanced reactor safety methods development and spans topics such as probabilistic risk assessment, passive system reliability, mechanistic source terms, and systems codes development, application, and qualification. Her work has been applied to a variety of advanced reactors designs extending from large-scale, liquid-metal cooled reactors to microreactors. She has led several Lab-industry collaborations directed at commercialization of systems-level advanced reactor safety methods qualified for use in the commercial nuclear licensing space. Kacie also spent time leading nuclear systems design and analysis at Oklo, Inc. She holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in Nuclear Engineering from The Ohio State University.

Janelle Richmond, Communications and Social Media Lead

Janelle Richmond manages the communication, marketing and digital media for U.S. Nuclear Nexus. She brings a wealth of communications, marketing and PR experience to her role as Communications Lead. A gifted storyteller and content strategist, she has experience in nonprofit organizations, crisis communications, media relations, healthcare, and higher education. A part of the Nexus team, Janelle provides communications and marketing support to create brand awareness within the U.S. civilian nuclear industry about U.S. Nuclear Nexus.

Before joining Argonne National Laboratory, Janelle worked as a consultant specializing in healthcare and higher education, advising clients how to position themselves within competitive industries. 

Janelle holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Douglas Johnson, Web Development Lead

Douglas Johnson leads the development and maintenance of the website for US Nuclear Nexus, as well as the issue tracking system used to process requests from industry.

Doug has been engineering software solutions at Argonne National Laboratory since 1998, primarily through the development and management of national security-related web applications. He is currently the Group Leader for the National Security Information Systems (NSIS) group. In 2000, he co-designed and -created the Electronic Foreign Ownership, Control or Influence (e-FOCI) System for the Department of Energy (DOE), which now plays a key role in the establishment of facility clearances for contractors doing classified work with DOE and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). Doug was also closely involved with the development of the Electronic Facility Clearance (e-FCL) System, for the review of Department of Defense (DoD) contractors. Doug designed and developed the Report Analysis and Archive System (RAAS) for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), a searchable repository for documents related to radiation detector tests, and has been instrumental in the development and operation of several other systems for a variety of government sponsors in the areas of counter-proliferation, radiological incident response, industrial security, defense logistics support, export control, nuclear safeguards, and nuclear forensics. 

Doug’s group, NSIS, has extensive expertise in developing both Java- and .NET-based web applications, keeping pace with new developments in the World Wide Web. NSIS systems include sophisticated knowledge management systems, document repositories, workflow systems, web-based training, and reasoning systems. NSIS areas of expertise include distributed systems, natural language processing, information retrieval, metadata curation, custom workflows, relational databases, web accessibility standards, and Semantic Web technologies.

A classically trained musician, Doug moonlights as a freelance double bassist and composer.