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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Regional coalition approves letter

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities approved a letter to be sent to Dr. Monica C. Regalbuto, the newly appointed Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management (EM) in the Department of Energy (DOE), at its monthly board meeting earlier this month.
    The letter was a formal request that EM release information pertaining to the Life Cycle Baseline Cost stating the start-to-finish scope of work, including funding requirement, timeline of work and risk of each site, for cleaning up the legacy waste at LANL.
    The meeting was held Aug. 14 in the Santa Fe County Council Chambers.
    Regional Coalition members traveled to Washington, D.C., in February to request cleanup funding for FY16 in order to conduct an operation to reach desired cleanup results at EM sites.
    Following that trip, as well as other discussions with various appropriations staff members and Congressional officials, coalition members have been told that without a Life Cycle Baseline Cost they cannot properly defend their monetary requests for cleanup.

  • Parks touts plans in podcast

    A Community Connections podcast episode that features the new CEO of the LANL Foundation, Jenny Parks, has just been released by the Los Alamos National Laboratory Community Programs Office.
    In the podcast, Parks discusses her diverse professional background and the Foundation’s plans for the future with Carole Rutten, deputy director of community programs.
    Parks joined the Foundation as CEO in January after serving as CEO of the New Mexico Community Foundation.
    The LANL Foundation was established in 1997 through an allocation from LANL, along with congressional appropriation through the Department of Energy. The primary mission of the Foundation is to support the educational needs of children in the public schools in the vicinity of Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Today, they are serving this mission by focusing on three areas: early childhood education, inquiry science and scholarships.
    “These scholarships are really changing lives,” Parks said. “We now have scholarships available for all ages, along with the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund which has granted more than 1,000 scholarships to date.”
    According to Parks, plans are underway to expand its Firstborn program that the foundation manages into a statewide program that can operate autonomously.

  • Initiatives will try to spur on clean energy

    On Monday, President Barack Obama announced more than $1 billion in Department of Energy initiatives to drive innovation and accelerate the clean energy economy.
    As part of the President’s Clean Power Plan, DOE’s Loan Programs Office (LPO) is making up to $1 billion in loan guarantees available to support commercial-scale distributed energy projects, such as rooftop solar with storage and smart grid technology.
    In addition, through the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA-E), DOE is awarding $24 million in funding for 11 high-performance solar power projects that the government believes can serve lower the cost and improve the performance of solar photovoltaic (PV) power systems.
    According to the DOE, “these initiatives will spur innovation, ensure grid reliability and help ensure America’s low-carbon energy future.”

  • July was wet, cool in county

    The wet spring and summer, that started in May, continued all the way through July, according to researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Rainfall was well above average in July according to the lab’s measurements. In Los Alamos, average rainfall was nearly double what happens during the month, with the townsite recording 6.68 inches.
    At least one weather record, that has stood for 44 years, was broken on July 20, when Los Alamos received 1.44 inches of rain, far and away the most it had ever gotten on that particular day — the previous record was .95 inches set in 1971.
    LANL said that through the month Los Alamos has received nearly 15.5 inches of rain this year, which is the most total rainfall since 1949 and more than 5.5 inches above normal.
    David Bruggerman, a meteorologist with LANL, said the Climate Prediction Center is expecting above-average rainfall through October.
    Neither Los Alamos nor White Rock were as warm last month, however, breaking a trend of warm weather seen in June.
    In the first half of July, the mean maximum temperature was 3.1 degrees below average and White Rock was 4.4 degrees below average.
    Lower temperatures were also expected by the Climate Prediction Center through the rest of the summer and early fall.

  • U.S. gets $5.9M in settlement

    The United States Department of Justice announced earlier this week that PC Specialists Inc., doing business as Technology Integration Group (TIG), has agreed to pay the United States $5.9 million to settle allegations that the company inflated the price of computers sold through another company to the National Nuclear Security Administration.
    The computers in question were for use at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque.
    According to the DOJ, from 2003-2013, TIG sold Dell computers to Sandia Corporation for resale to the United States under Sandia’s contract with the NNSA.
    The United States alleged that TIG knowingly inflated the amounts it charged Sandia by failing to give credits for rebates and discounts it received from Dell as required by its contract and causing false claims to the government for the inflated prices.
    TIG, headquartered in San Diego, buys computers and other technology products for resale to other purchasers.

  • Keith to oversee LANL's Community Programs office

    Regional Development Corporation (RDC) Executive Director Kathy Keith has been selected as the incoming Director of Community Programs at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Keith has served as executive director of the RDC for more than four years, joining the organization in January 2011.
    She will join LANL’S Communications and Public Affairs Division starting Aug. 17.

    "We are pleased to have someone with Kathy's experience and skills lead the Laboratory's community programs," said Matthew Nerzig, acting director for CPA. "Her knowledge of northern New Mexico, familiarity with the issues confronting the communities in this region, and track record of working with key leaders make her a valuable addition to the Lab's community outreach efforts."

    At the RDC, Keith was credited with helping to establish a Business Expansion and Retention Program, the Northern New Mexico 20/20 Campaign and the Native American Venture Acceleration Fund. Each of these programs were designed to help northern New Mexico companies grow and create more jobs for the region.

  • Funsten to speak about deep space

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellow and physicist Herb Funsten will explore the edge of the solar system and anticipate its future as it moves through our galactic neighborhood in a series of three Frontiers in Science lectures beginning Wednesday in the Duane Smith Auditorium at Los Alamos High School.
    The talks, “Beyond Pluto: The Search for the Edge of the Solar System,” will focus on the heliosphere — the region of space under the Sun’s influence — that extends far beyond Pluto and forms a protective cocoon that shields us from cosmic radiation.
    “In this talk, we will travel to the edge of the solar system, peer into the structure and dynamics of the outer heliosphere as it interacts with the interstellar medium, and anticipate the future of the solar system as it moves through our galactic neighborhood,” said Funsten, of Los Alamos’ Intelligence and Space Research Division.
    Funsten will make two other appearances as well, those scheduled for Aug. 11 at the Museum of Natural History and Science in Albuquerque and Aug. 14. at the James A. Little Theater, on the campus of the New Mexico School for Deaf, in Santa Fe.
    All Frontiers in Science talks begin at 7 p.m.

  • Trio of businesses stand out at DisrupTech

    Three potential business partnership projects emerged from the 2015 DisrupTech competition at Los Alamos National Laboratory with winning proposals.
    “The goals of the DisrupTech forum were two-fold, to expose industry to potentially world-changing, disruptive, early-stage technologies developed by Los Alamos scientists,” said David Pesiri, Director of the Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation.  “We also wanted to spark the entrepreneurial spirit in our scientists, giving them a chance to present their technologies outside of an academic setting.  We hope the experience might give them a new perspective on the end use of their technology.”
    An audience of more than 100 entrepreneurs, business executives, investors and government leaders from across the country listened intently as each of eight candidates gave a “Shark Tank”-like presentation.
    A panel representing some of Los Alamos’ industry partners, including Alion Science and Technology, Allied Minds, Chevron Energy Technology Company, Ernst & Young, Moon Express and State Science and Technology Institute, evaluated the presentations and provided feedback to the scientists on pitching a disruptive technology as a market solution.

  • Canyon side cleanup completed

    The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management announced today that the EM’s Los Alamos Field Office recently completed a steep canyon-side cleanup of mercury-contaminated soil on DOE property just south of a shopping center here.
    The project was finished successfully in about five weeks, which was approximately three weeks ahead of schedule, according to the DOE.
    The field office, management and operations contractor Los Alamos Nuclear Security, LLC, and subcontractor TerranearPMC completed the work.
    “We are committed to reducing the laboratory’s historical footprint and intend to continue to make progress on environmental legacy cleanup,” said Christine Gelles, the field office's acting manager.
    Experts used a specialized telescoping crane and spider excavator to remove 160 cubic yards of mercury-contaminated soil from the rugged canyon side.
    The contaminants derived from Manhattan Project and early Cold War era operations at Solid Waste Management Unit 32-002(b2) at the former Technical Area 32, which was the site of a small medical research facility.
    After results of the excavation sampling confirmed that the human health and environmental risk at the site was fully addressed, the team restored the site.

  • Hazmat Challenge returning to LANL

    A dozen hazardous materials response teams from New Mexico, Missouri and Nebraska will test their skills in a series of graded, timed exercises at the 19th annual Hazmat Challenge July 27-31 at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    “The challenge provides hazardous materials responders the opportunity to test their skills, share best practices with other response agencies and learn new techniques through realistic hazardous materials release scenarios in a safe, non-hazardous environment,” said Chris Rittner of the laboratory’s Security and Emergency Operations Division.
    Held at Los Alamos’ Technical Areas 16 and 49, the event requires participants to respond to simulated hazardous materials emergencies involving an aircraft, clandestine laboratories, various modes of transportation, industrial piping scenarios, a simulated radiological release and a confined space event.
    The finale of the Hazmat Challenge is a skills-based obstacle course.
    Teams are graded and earn points based on their ability to perform response skills through a 10-station obstacle course while using fully encapsulating personal protective equipment.
    LANL began the Hazmat Challenge in 1996 as a way to hone the skills of its own hazmat team members.