Energy Secretary Moniz visits lab

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 U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz today during a visit to Los Alamos National Laboratory and the new biological laboratory built by the New Mexico Consortium (NMC) to explore alternative fuel sources from algae and other plants said that Los Alamos and all the DOE labs have a major role in addressing two key initiatives of the President.

“In view of the President's emphasis on nuclear security and climate change, the work at Los Alamos has never been more important," Secretary Moniz said.

Moniz also addressed Los Alamos employees and received briefings on the Laboratory’s nuclear weapons and intelligence work. It was the first visit by an Energy secretary to Los Alamos since 2009.

Moniz was accompanied by Rep. Ben Ray Luján and New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology President Daniel Lopez.

Moniz also met privately with Gov. Susana Martinez.

Here is a statement from the governor’s office.

“The Governor was pleased to meet with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz in Los Alamos during his brief visit to New Mexico.

“During their private meeting, the governor congratulated the Secretary on his recent Senate confirmation and thanked him personally for the Department’s role in securing additional funding necessary to meet the milestones outlined in the 2012 agreement between the State and the Department which was drafted as a result of the Governor’s personal visit to LANL during the Las Conchas fire in 2011 and designed to prioritize the clean-up of 3706 cubic meters of TRU waste stored above-ground at LANL.  

“Governor Martinez also stressed the importance of both Los Alamos National Lab and Sandia National Lab to the country’s national security, the labs’ legacies in New Mexico, and the need for predictable and adequate funding for ongoing activities at WIPP.

“She was encouraged by the Secretary’s shared belief in the value of the mission and the highly-skilled workforce at the labs and WIPP and she looks forward to working collaboratively with the secretary on future endeavors tied to the success of our labs, their employees, and communities. “

The NMC is a non-profit formed by the three New Mexico research universities to engage universities and industry in scientific research in the nation's interest and to increase the role of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in science, education and economic development in the state.

The Biological Laboratory was built by the NMC in partnership with the County of Los Alamos, Los Alamos National Bank and Los Alamos National Laboratory. The County of Los Alamos played a critical role in the project, providing a $2.6 million toward construction of the building.

The NMC Biological Laboratory supports the LANL/NMC initiative in sustainable global energy and food security. This initiative pursues joint research on higher yielding biofuel production systems and more nutritious and higher yielding crops.

“Los Alamos National Laboratory has been forward thinking and innovative in pursuing new mechanisms to engage with universities and industry through the NMC. I am very excited about the future of this partnership. ” said NMC Executive Director Katharine Chartrand.