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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • LANL research helps improve solar cells

     Solar cells made with low-cost, non-toxic copper-based quantum dots can achieve unprecedented longevity and efficiency, according to a study by Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sharp Corporation.
    “For the first time, we have certified the performance of a quantum dot sensitized solar cell at greater than 5 percent, which is among the highest reported for any quantum dot solar cell,” said Hunter McDaniel, a Los Alamos postdoctoral researcher and the lead author on a paper appearing in Nature Communications this week. “The robust nature of these devices opens up the possibility for commercialization of this emerging low-cost and low-toxicity photovoltaic technology,” he noted.
    The reported solar cells are based on a new generation of nontoxic quantum dots (not containing either lead or cadmium as do most quantum dots used in solar cells). These dots are based on copper indium selenide sulfide and are rigorously optimized to reduce charge-carrier losses from surface defects and to provide the most complete coverage of the solar spectrum.

  • Nearly $2 million pledged in LANL 2014 campaign

    Nearly $2 million has been pledged by Los Alamos National Laboratory employees to United Way and other eligible nonprofit programs during the laboratory’s 2014 Employee Giving Campaign.
    Los Alamos National Security, LLC plans to prorate its $1 million match among the selected nonprofit organizations, bringing the total donation to nearly $3 million.
    “I give because I am a member of the Northern New Mexico community,” said Terry Wallace, Los Alamos’ principal associate director for Global Security and this year’s campaign champion. “I want to thank the Los Alamos National Laboratory staff for their participation in the Lab’s giving campaign.
    Nearly $2 million was pledged to the various community charities. Given the turmoil of the potential lab shut down, I am impressed that our employees wanted to ‘give because’ they care for their friends and neighbors.” 

  • Manhattan Project Park stalls in U.S. Senate

    Hopes that the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act would become law this year were dashed when the U.S. Senate rejected a House of Representatives amendment attaching the bill to the National Defense Authorization Act.

    The House amendment passed in June, but was not included in the final text of the defense bill released late Tuesday night.

    “What I understand is that they just determined that it would not be the best place to approach the legislation, through the Defense Authorization Act. And so they took it out of there,” said Bradbury Science Museum Executive Director Linda Deck. “So it’s not that they said, no, it shouldn’t happen. It’s just that they took it out of that piece of legislation.”

    Los Alamos Historical Museum Executive Director Heather McClenahan noted that supporters have become accustomed to disappointment in the 10 years since MCNHP legislation was first introduced. McClenahan is the county’s MPNHP project point person.

  • Watchdogs applaud stalling of park bill

    Not everyone was disappointed to hear about the Manhattan Project National Historical Park Act’s stall in the U.S. Senate.

    Greg Mello, secretary and executive director for the Los Alamos Study Group, responded to the Los Alamos Monitor’s query by saying, “We are pleased that the proposed park was dropped from the defense bill and we will oppose it again next year.

    “It’s basically a propaganda and lobbying initiative that will benefit nuclear weapons contractors. It is not now and will never be an objective interpretation of history. Creating such a park inherently endorses the Manhattan Project and its modern-day successor activities as positive national achievements. Indeed that is the purpose of the proposal.

    “Supposedly ‘objective’ background materials supporting the Park proposal are already one-sided, significantly incomplete and historically incorrect.

    “If the Park is established, we hope to help make it a Mecca for protest activity of all kinds. The Manhattan Project and the atomic bombing of Japan were national mistakes. Los Alamos has played, and continues to play, a heavy role in weakening U.S. national security and misdirecting national priorities.”

  • Stockpile lecture on tap

    The role Los Alamos National Laboratory plays in stockpile stewardship is the focus of the final 70th Anniversary Lecture Wednesday at the Bradbury Science Museum. Jon Ventura, Los Alamos’s executive staff advisor to the Principal Associate Director for Weapons Programs, will give the talk beginning at 5:30 p.m.
    Ventura’s talk, titled “Stockpile Stewardship: Keeping the Nation’s Stockpile Safe, Secure and Reliable with Science and Engineering,” will highlight some of the experimental, engineering and computational tools used to monitor nuclear weapons.
    The talk will also focus on how the Laboratory fits into the broader Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration complex, the relationships with United States’ armed forces and how stewardship tools solve national security challenges.
    For decades, the laboratory designed, tested and built weapons for the stockpile; however, that paradigm shifted from 1989 to 1992 with the closure of Rocky Flats, the end of nuclear testing and the collapse of the Soviet Union.  

  • LANL names four fellows

    Four scientists are being inducted into the Los Alamos National Laboratory Fellows, a distinguished organization that honors outstanding contributions to science and technology. This week, laboratory director Charles McMillan appoints new Fellows Mark Chadwick, Cheryl Kuske, Geoff Reeves and Frank Pabian.

    “In our field, to be recognized by one’s peers is the highest of honors,” said McMillan. “Congratulations to Mark, Cheryl, Geoff and Frank. Their creativity and innovation have led to great accomplishments in national security science. I thank them for their service.”

    Laboratory Fellows are lauded for their sustained, high-level achievements and exceptional promise. Fewer than two percent of the lab’s technical staff attain fellow status, and for 30 years the fellows’ organization has helped guide the laboratory’s scientific direction. The fellows also organize symposia and public lectures and administer prizes for outstanding research and leadership in science and engineering.

    This year’s inductees are as follows:

  • LANL begins shipments to Idaho

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has made the first of its 18 shipments of transuranic (TRU) waste to the Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project at Idaho National Laboratory.

    The first shipment left Los Alamos, Nov, 13, according to lab spokesman Fred DeSousa.

    “Known as MTRU, or mixed transuranic waste, the material requires special handling because it consists mostly of large, metal equipment with sharp edges. By using equipment and technology available at the Idaho site, this waste can be remotely repackaged safely and efficiently with far fewer hazards for workers,” Desousa said in a statement. He added, “Removing such waste from Los Alamos facilitates the lab’s effort to meet our commitments with New Mexico. In addition, the three-site operation demonstrates DOE-EM’s ability to meet the challenge of conducting high priority but technically complex environmental management operations.”

    In all 46 cubic meters will be shipped to Idaho and eventually back to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

    The shipments are part of the lab’s campaign to remove 3,706 cubic meters of TRU-Waste by the end of June.

    On Friday, DeSousa said, “We ended FY 13 having shipped 2,745 cubic meters vs. our goal of 2,600 toward the campaign goal of 3,706.”

  • NNSA conducts training for Iraqi first responders

    The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) this week is conducting an Advanced International Radiological Assistance Program Training for Emergency Response (I-RAPTER) course in Las Vegas, Nev., for a group of 15 Iraqi first responders headed by the Iraqi Radioactive Source Regulatory Authority (IRSRA).
    The course focuses on border radiation monitoring, alarm interdiction and adjudication, characterization of detained or suspect cargo, and source recovery with extensive hands-on equipment operations using a wide range of radiation sources.
    “This course demonstrates NNSA’s commitment in assisting Iraqi first responders to be prepared to handle hazardous material following a radiological incident or event,” said NNSA Associate Administrator for Emergency Operations Joseph Krol. “We will continue to provide our technical expertise and assistance to Iraq and to countries around the world.”
    The course, a follow on to a March 2013 I-RAPTER course taught in Amman, Jordan, for Iraq and Jordon, is being conducted by personnel from NNSA and taught by instructors from Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., and NSTec’s Remote Sensing Laboratory from Joint Base Andrews and Nellis Air Force Base.

  • Lab gets two new associate directors

    Los Alamos National Laboratory recently announced two new associate directors: Mary Hockaday is the associate director of the Experimental Physical Sciences Directorate and Cheryl Cabbil joined the laboratory Monday as associate director for Nuclear and High Hazard Operations.

    “Mary is a 30-year veteran of the lab and currently serves in a joint role as the deputy associate director for the Weapons Physics directorate as well as leading LANL’s MaRIE signature facility effort,” said laboratory director Charlie McMillan. “She is skilled and passionate in communicating with the scientific and customer communities on issues concerning laboratory capabilities and national security.”

    “Cheryl brings a distinguished track record for developing and implementing nuclear facility management programs, for improving nuclear and high hazard conduct of operations, nuclear safety bases, integrated safety management, R&D laboratory operations and nuclear quality assurance,” McMillan said. “She has demonstrated leadership skill in working with regulators, including the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, stakeholders and staff to identify common ground and gain consensus.”

  • Ex-lab employee requests new lawyer

    A defense lawyer says a former Los Alamos National Laboratory nuclear physicist who admitted communicating classified nuclear weapons data may try to withdraw his guilty plea.
    Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni and his wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, were accused of offering to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela through dealings with an undercover FBI agent posing as a representative of the Venezuelan government.
    The couple pleaded guilty in June in federal court in Albuquerque, but a Nov. 27 court filing by a federal public defender says Pedro Mascheroni may seek to withdraw his plea.
    The filing was made in connection with Mascheroni’s pending request to obtain new court-appointed lawyers.
    The public defender, Richard Winterbottom, said it was a “future possibility” that Mascheroni would change his plea but did not elaborate.
    In the filing, Winterbottom asked a judge to keep confidential a 35-page letter that Mascheroni had written the judge to express dissatisfaction with his current lawyers and to ask for appointment of new ones.
    Release would disclose Mascheroni’s defense strategy, Winterbottom wrote.
    Federal prosecutors have yet to respond to Mascheroni’s request that they not be allowed to see his letter.