James Peery

James Peery

Sandia National Laboratories named James Peery of Oak Ridge National Laboratory as director starting Jan. 1. He will replace Stephen Younger, who is retiring.

Peery, 57, started his career at Sandia’s Albuquerque in 1990 and worked there until 2002, when he moved to Los Alamos National Laboratory.

He returned to Sandia from 2007 to 2017. When a new contract manager took over the laboratory, he moved to Oak Ridge as associate laboratory director of national security.

He has a PhD in nuclear engineering from Texas A&M University.

Sandia is a $3.3 billion operation with some 14,000 employees, most of whom are located in its Albuquerque headquarters. Its Livermore site employs about 1,600. Its primary mission is maintaining the U.S. nuclear stockpile, but the overall laboratory is extremely diversified.

Regarding Steve Younger, Sandia’s retiring director and a physicist who once worked at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, the head of the National Nuclear Security Administration said that “the nation owes (him) a debt of gratitude for his contributions to our nuclear security for nearly 40 years.”

Younger “has brought incredible passion and commitment to his work,” according to Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who is also Under Secretary for Nuclear Security at the U.S. Department of Energy.

She said she has “full confidence that Dr. Peery will be able to pick up where (Younger) left off and will continue Sandia National Laboratories’ history of successfully fulfilling its mission of ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of America’s nuclear stockpile.”

Gordon-Hagerty is also a former LLNL employee.

Another physicist who once worked at LLNL, John Browne, knew Peery both at Los Alamos, where Browne was director from 1997 through 2003, and at Sandia, where Browne was on that laboratory’s Science Advisory Board.

He “made tremendous contributions to (Los Alamos) in the five years he was there,” Browne said, and is “a great choice” to lead Sandia now.