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LANL

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LASO employee dies after exercise on LANL property

By The Staff

 


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Los Alamos student Cole Kendrick finishes second in supercomputing challenge

 


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LANL physicist wins E.O. Lawrence Award

 


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County updates hazard mitigation strategy

By Tris DeRoma

 

 Los Alamos County is halfway done with its update of its original Hazard Mitigation Plan, a plan originally created in 2006 in response to the federal Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. The county is updating the plan to keep it eligible for federal mitigation funds but to asses the recent changes in Los Alamos since 2006. 

According to Phil Taylor, emergency management coordinator for the county, no plan is invulnerable, but another point to making a plan is to reduce future losses to life and property.

“You can’t absolutely guarantee we’re never going to have a fire here, we’re never going to have an earthquake here, but what we can do is mitigate the impact of those events,” Taylor said. “ We can practice defensible space, we can have a good evacuation plan, we can have a robust way of notifying the community when bad things happen and give them good solid direction and information on what to do.” 


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WIPP president ousted

By Associated Press

 

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The president of southeastern New Mexico's troubled nuclear waste dump has been ousted as investigations into a truck fire and radiation release near completion.

URS Corp., the company that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project for the Department of Energy, says Farok Sharif has been replaced as head of the Nuclear Waste Partnership. In a statement Thursday, the company says Bob McQuinn has been named president and project manager. Sharif has been moved to a new job overseeing the program for transitioning nuclear waste to other locations while WIPP is not operational, and working with other U.S. Department of Energy sites to develop plans for the temporary storage of their waste.

The change comes as teams are investigating back-to-back incidents that shuttered the nation's only deep underground nuclear waste repository last month.


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Beth Sellers resigns as deputy director of LANL

By John Severance

 


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Thirteen employees exposed to radiation at WIPP

By Associated Press

 

ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Thirteen workers at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico have tested positive for radiation exposure after a recent leak released toxic particles in and around the plant, officials announced.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project declined to comment further on the preliminary test results announced Wednesday, saying they'll discuss the issue at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

"It is important to note that these are initial sample results," the DOE and Nuclear Waste Partnership, the plant operator, said in a joint statement. "These employees, both federal and contractor, will be asked to provide additional samples in order to fully determine the extent of any exposure."

All employees who were working at the southeastern New Mexico plant when the leak occurred late Feb. 14 were checked for contamination before being allowed to leave, the news release said. But biological samples were also taken to check for possible exposure from inhaling radioactive particles.

Elevated radiation levels have been detected in the air around the plant, but officials have said the readings are too low to constitute a public health threat.

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Wiens to discuss ChemCam

 Dr. Roger Wiens will discuss “Curiosity” rover on Mars and lasers in a talk Feb. 27 at Fuller Lodge, Pajarito Room. 

Dinner will be served at 6 p.m. and the lecture will begin at 6:40 p.m.

The one-ton Curiosity rover has been exploring Mars for the last 18 months, having already found evidence for an ancient freshwater lake in 90-mile-wide Gale crater. 

The rover holds 10 instruments including Los Alamos National Laboratory ChemCam laser instrument which vaporizes bits of rock up to 25 feet from the rover to determine their compositions. 


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Washington expert thinks outside the box

By The Staff

 

(First of a series)

Jonathan Medalia is a specialist in nuclear weapons policy for the Congressional Research Service in Washington.

It was Medalia’s job last week to address those in attendance at the Nuclear Deterrence Summit in Washington.

The topic?

Thinking Inside the Boxes:  Can Existing Buildings Meet Department of Defense’s Pit Needs?

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Nuke dump officials confirm leak of waste at WIPP

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal officials Thursday confirmed a leak of nuclear waste at a southeastern New Mexico repository, but it could be weeks before workers can safely access the underground dump to determine what happened.

The release of radiation from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant poses no public health threat, officials emphasized, but the state environment secretary said he was concerned with the lag in getting information about the incident.


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Crews monitor WIPP for radiation

By Associated Press

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy stressed Sunday that no surface contamination has been found after airborne radiation was detected underground at a southeastern New Mexico site where the government stores low-grade nuclear waste.

The department says that tests were taken at several sites around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant after a monitor found radiation on underground levels late Friday night.

No workers were underground and no injuries or damages have been reported.

A news release Sunday reflected information provided Saturday and said the "DOE emphasizes there is no danger to human health or the environment."


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Lebak named new Los Alamos Field Office manager

 

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has announced that Kim Davis Lebak will be the Los Alamos Field Office Manager effective January 2014. As Field Office Manager, Lebak will serve as the Secretary of Energy’s senior representative on site at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico.

“With her strong leadership skills and wide experience at both headquarters and in the field, Kim is perfect as our Los Alamos Field Office Manager,” said Acting NNSA Administrator Bruce Held. “Secretary Moniz and I believe that Kim and Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan will make a great team in promoting mission excellence in science, security, nuclear safety and project management.”


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Fails to get another year added to contract

Lab scores 89 percent in NNSA performance evaluation

By The Staff

The Los Alamos National Laboratory received a final score of 89 percent on its annual performance evaluation from the National Nuclear Security Administration, according to documents released Friday.


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LANL> Video shows new MRI-X-ray technology at work

Scanning advance could enhance airport security

Los Alamos scientists have advanced a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology that may provide a breakthrough for screening liquids at airport security. They’ve added low-power X-ray data to the mix, and as a result have unlocked a new detection technology. Funded in part by the Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, the new system is named MagRay.

The goal is to quickly and accurately distinguish between liquids that visually appear identical. For example, what appears to be a bottle of white wine could potentially be nitromethane, a liquid that could be used to make an explosive. Both are clear liquids, One would be perfectly safe on a commercial aircraft, the other would be strictly prohibited. How to tell them apart quickly without error at an airport security area is the focus of Michelle Espy, Larry Schultz and their team.


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