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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Reliability Technology wins LA Award

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has honored Michael Hamada, Harry Martz and a team of LANL researchers with its first Richard Feynman Prize for Innovation Achievement for the team’s long and successful collaboration with Procter & Gamble.

    Hamada, Martz and their colleagues worked with Procter & Gamble for years developing a concept known as Reliability Technology—a statistical method that P&G has used to streamline its manufacturing processes and save more than a billion dollars a year in costs by increasing uptime in their plants worldwide.

    “Now that the Reliability Technology system has been fully developed by Procter & Gamble, they are bringing the system back to Los Alamos to help us improve our manufacturing operations related to our national security mission,” said Terry Wallace, Principal Associate Director for Global Security at Los Alamos, who awarded the Feynman Prize to Martz and Hamada. “This is an example of ‘full-cycle’ innovation: We bring mission-essential tools to bear on an important complementary problem for industry; it helps us perform our primary mission job, and the innovation comes back to help the laboratory in another area.”

  • Director challenges cuts

    Los Alamos National Laboratory director Charlie McMillan reportedly sent a letter to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz in July warning of dire consequences for the plutonium mission if sufficient funding is not secured.

    According to a letter obtained by the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor, McMillan cited the lack of action on a $120 million reprogramming request from the NNSA to begin work on an alternative plutonium strategy and the funding cuts included in both versions of the FY 2014 Energy and Water Appropriations bills.

    Congress has not signed off on the reprogramming request, which came about when the decision was made to defer the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility.

    There have been reports the lab is considering an alternative strategy based on a modular approach to maintain the nation’s plutonium capabilities.

  • NNSA completes radiation training in Taiwan

    The NNSA this week conducted an advanced course in radiation medical (Advanced I-MED) training at the Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital in Taiwan. The course had 60 participants from hospitals mostly from southern Taiwan. The course was sponsored by the Taiwan Atomic Energy Council and Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital. Training was conducted by NNSA’s Office of Emergency Operation’s Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS).

  • NNSA, Tajikstan sign MOU

    The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and Tajikistan’s Nuclear and Radiation Safety Agency signed a memorandum of understanding April 29, that will strengthen efforts to deter, detect and interdict the illicit smuggling of special nuclear and other radiological materials.

    “This agreement represents the shared commitment of both the United States and Tajikistan to combat nuclear smuggling,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Anne Harrington. “The deployment of advanced radiation detection technologies, which will be provided to Tajikistan under the agreement, will enhance our mutual security efforts.”

  • Safety board visits LANL

    The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board is in town, conducting its annual site visit to the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    According to lab spokesman Fred DeSousa, four of the five members of the board are on the visit along with several staff members. They met with lab and Site Office staff Tuesday and Wednesday.

    “We are briefing them on their topics of interest, including the status of PF-4 improvements, transuranic waste operations and emergency response,” DeSousa said. “The board will tour PF-4 and our Weapons Engineering Tritium Facility. In this case, there is no public hearing scheduled for this site visit.”

    The main topic of conversation likely will be PF-4.

    NNSA acting administrator Bruce Held sent a letter to DNFSB chairman Peter Winokur, regarding the conduct of operations and the implementation of criticality safety controls at PF-4.

    In June, lab director Charlie McMillan paused all programmatic activities at the facility and in early August some of those activities resumed.

    But not all.

    Held’s letter detailed the corrective actions the lab has taken in regards to PF-4 and by Dec. 6, Held said the NNSA will provide the DNFSB with a fully developed plan and an updated status of progress.

  • Robots to take over Bradbury

    Employees and the public can see and drive a variety of different robots at Robotics Night from 5 to 8 p.m., Friday, at the Bradbury Science Museum.
    Robots from the Laboratory’s Hazardous Devices Team, the FIRST Robotics Leagues, UNM-Los Alamos, the Los Alamos Police Department and other local enthusiasts will be at the museum.
    Demonstrations will include the laboratory’s robots each weighing in at more than 500 pounds and the Los Alamos Police Department’s Bomb Squad robot. UNM-LA’s robotics program also will have many of their student-built bots on display with information on their degree program offerings.
    In addition, attendees can operate the robotic arm on display at the museum acting out possible real-life scenarios. The arm is similar to the kind used in hot cells and glove boxes at the laboratory.
    Also featured will be Sumo Bot battles. The Sumo robots are autonomous, battery powered and controlled by an Arduino or a similar processor.
    Competitors will battle to push each other out of the ring with only their sensors and programming to guide them.
    A number of other Arduinos also will be on display for the evening in an Arduino Zoo.

  • Albuquerque firm acquires LANL water patent technology rights

    IX Power Clean Water, a company based in Albuquerque, has acquired the patent rights to OrganiClear from Los Alamos National Laboratory and begun commercialization of the technology to filter and destroy organic hydrocarbons in “produced water” without creating an additional waste stream.
    IX Power Clean Water’s “OrganiClear” cleans organic hydrocarbons – BTEX – from produced water from oil and gas, mining operations, and industrial processes.
    Produced water is a term to describe water extracted from the earth along with oil and gas. The water produced may include water from the fossil fuel reservoir, water injected into the formation (including the high pressure water used to fracture the rock formation—“fracking”), and chemicals added during production and well treatment processes.
    The OrganiClear machine cleans water to the point that it can be safely used for agriculture and livestock and, with additional processes, can also be used for community water systems.

  • Former student pleads guilty to murder

    Alex Kinyua, 22, who attended a Los Alamos National Laboratory symposium in the summer of 2011, entered a guilty plea Monday in a Baltimore courtroom to first-degree murder in the death of 37-year-old Kujoe Bonsafo Agyei-Kodie last year.
    The former Morgan State University student spoke softly as he responded to questions from the judge, saying he had agreed to the plea and medications he had been taking were helping him. He declined an opportunity to address the court.
    Judge Stephen Waldron said he had concerns about agreeing to the plea, but had to accept determinations by psychiatrists for the defense and prosecution that Kinyua could not be held criminally responsible. He expressed condolences to family and friends of the Agyei-Kodie.
    “My heart breaks for you,” Waldron said. “I am very, very sorry.”
    Kinyua has been held at the state’s maximum-security psychiatric hospital and returned there after the hearing.
    Kinyua, a U.S. citizen originally from Kenya, admitted using a knife to kill Agyei-Kodi, the Harford County Sheriff’s Office said when Kinyua was arrested last year. Agyei-Kodie, a native of Ghana, had been staying with the Kinyua family for about six weeks at their townhouse in a Baltimore suburb when he disappeared in May 2012. His body was found four days later.

  • LANL lecture series

    Los Alamos National Laboratory historian emeritus Roger Meade discussed Captain William S. “Deak” Parsons’ contributions to World War II during LANL’s 70th Anniversary Public Lecture Series, which took place on Wednesday. His lecture filled up all available space, making it necessary for event coordinators to provide a live feed of the lecture in the smaller museum auditorium. The anniversary lectures occur monthly on the second Wednesday of the month. 

  • Bradbury's legacy to be discussed

    Concluding his two-part lecture series about Norris Bradbury, Los Alamos National Laboratory historian Alan Carr will discuss the leadership of the lab during the Cold War and the unique legacy that Bradbury left in Los Alamos during a “brown bag” lecture Aug. 21 at the Bradbury Science Museum.
    The talk is at noon and employees and the public are welcome to bring their lunch.
    “The Life, the Times, and the Laboratory of Norris E. Bradbury,” will review the final decade of Bradbury’s time as Los Alamos’ second director, as well as defining moments for the laboratory, including the postwar period.
    Bradbury succeeded J. Robert Oppenheimer as laboratory director in 1945 and developed and grew LANL into what it is today during his 25 years as director, making him the longest-serving leader of the lab.