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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • LANL celebrates 50-year anniversary of launch

    Fifty years ago last month, Los Alamos National Laboratory sensor technology lifted off into space to help verify that world Superpowers were abiding by the newly signed Limited Test Ban Treaty — a pledge by the United States, the former Soviet Union and the United Kingdom to refrain from testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater or in space.

    “For the past 70 years, Los Alamos National Laboratory has serviced the country and provided technical solutions to the some of biggest national security challenges facing the nation,” said Principal Associate Director for Global Security Terry Wallace. “On October 4, 1957, the Soviets launched Sputnik, an event that changed the world. Space became a national-security concern; Los Alamos played the key role in providing a space platform to monitor nuclear weapons testing and treaties, and 50 years later the lab still has this role.

  • Sigma Labs inks second contract with LANL

    Sigma Labs, Inc. announced that it received from Los Alamos National Laboratory a second contract to provide Sigma Labs’ advanced manufacturing technology and continuing support efforts in nuclear weapons stockpile stewardship and disposition for the Advanced Recovery and Integrated Extraction System (ARIES).
    The ARIES program is the only one in the nation that disassembles and destroys surplus plutonium pits. The pits are transformed into plutonium oxide powder suitable for being made into fuel for civilian nuclear reactors. The ARIES Program is based on an agreement between the United States and the Russian Federation to eliminate 34 metric tons of weapons grade materials and turn them into nuclear fuel thereby reducing the threat of global weapons proliferation.
    Sigma Labs expects this contract with Los Alamos National Laboratory to generate up to $178,800 in revenues.
    Mark Cola, president and chief executive officer of Sigma Labs, said,
    “This latest contract is one in a series of awards that validates our expertise and our ability to deliver solid technical results to the most demanding applications in the world, namely U.S. National Security and reducing the threat of weapons proliferation.”

  • TRU-Waste shipments resume

    According to a statement from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, all environmental subcontracting companies have been recalled and shipments of TRU waste started again as of Oct. 21.

    Operations were suspended for processing and shipping transuranic (TRU) waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad Oct. 6 because of the threat of a government shutdown.

    The lab said at the time four shipments already loaded would be completed. Nuclear material was secured and facilities were put into a “safe standby” condition.

    The laboratory directed approximately 200 subcontractors on the TRU project to stand down and report back to their companies. These are mostly EnergySolutions subcontractors. Certain other environmental monitoring operations, including those supporting the Santa Fe water utility and chromium pump test, continued.

    On Oct. 21, the TRU shipping campaign restarted and the subcontractors were recalled after Congress reached an agreement to end the shutdown and increase the nation’s debt ceiling.

  • 2014 LANL giving campaign kicks off

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory kicked off its 2014 employee giving campaign with a car show Wednesday near TA-3.

  • New HIV vaccine design shows promise

    The considerable diversity of HIV worldwide represents a critical challenge for designing an effective HIV vaccine.

    Now, it appears that a vaccine optimized for immunologic coverage of global HIV diversity, called a mosaic vaccine and designed by Bette Korber and her team at Los Alamos National Laboratory, may confer protection from infection.

    “This is the first time the mosaic antigen inserts were used in a challenge study. In a challenge study, vaccine-elicited protection from infection is tested, versus testing a vaccine for its ability to stimulate good immune responses,” Korber said.

    These vaccines are specifically designed to present the most common forms of parts of the virus that can be recognized by the immune system. This new insight regarding a mosaic vaccine’s ability to protect from infection is the result of work by a scientific team led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and including Los Alamos researchers. The study, which was conducted in monkeys, is newly published in the journal Cell.

  • New HIV vaccine design shows promise

    The considerable diversity of HIV worldwide represents a critical challenge for designing an effective HIV vaccine.
    Now, it appears that a vaccine optimized for immunologic coverage of global HIV diversity, called a mosaic vaccine and designed by Bette Korber and her team at Los Alamos National Laboratory, may confer protection from infection.
    “This is the first time the mosaic antigen inserts were used in a challenge study. In a challenge study, vaccine-elicited protection from infection is tested, versus testing a vaccine for its ability to stimulate good immune responses,” Korber said.
    These vaccines are specifically designed to present the most common forms of parts of the virus that can be recognized by the immune system. This new insight regarding a mosaic vaccine’s ability to protect from infection is the result of work by a scientific team led by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC), and including Los Alamos researchers. The study, which was conducted in monkeys, is newly published in the journal Cell.

  • LANL to host permit meeting tonight

    Los Alamos National Laboratory will host a public meeting about its application to gain a permit to continue the treatment of hazardous waste by open air burning at Technical Area 16, located in the southwest corner of the laboratory, near the Bandelier National Monument.
    According to a press release from Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, LANL is proposing to burn up to 6,000 pounds of hazardous waste per year, which includes high explosives and solvents, with a limit of 200 pounds per individual burn. The meeting will take place from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Fuller Lodge.
    The meeting will occur before LANL submits its permit application to the New Mexico Environment Department.
    According to a lab release, the public meeting will include a description of the programs that generate explosives waste, how that waste is treated, and various alternative treatments that were tested to come up with a solution that is most protective of human health and the environment. There will also be time for questions.
    The proposed permit modification is available for public review weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at: NMED - Hazardous Waste Bureau, 2905 Rodeo Park Drive East, Building 1, Santa Fe, N.M. 87505-6313.

  • Security repairs completion pushed to February

     Repairs to a security system that protects the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s plutonium complex at Technical Area 55 is taking longer than expected.
    Lab spokesman Fred DeSousa says the planned December completion date of the security system for the lab’s plutonium complex has slipped to February.
    “Improvements in project management have been made. Construction is nearing completion and we’ve finished the testing, acceptance and verification phases in a number of areas,” DeSousa said in a statement.
    “We expect to complete the project within the total project cost of $244 million although official closeout of project documentation will not occur until mid-February. Thanks to regular collaboration with our NNSA partners, we remain committed to delivering a state-of-art set of buildings and systems that will help ensure the continuing security of our plutonium facilities.”
    The February timeline means that construction completion, testing, verification, and closeout of project documentation.
    DeSousa says the work is taking longer than expected because additional problems were found as work was done over the past year.
    The work includes repairs to a newly built network of fences, intrusion detection systems and cameras.

  • Lab to kick off giving campaign Wednesday

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory will host its kickoff event for the employee giving campaign from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the upper parking lot near the intersection of East Jemez Road and Diamond Drive. The “Cruis’n to Campaign” car show is open to the public and there is plenty of parking.
    “We have nearly 90 vehicles registered. At the ‘Cruis’n to Campaign’ kickoff event employees and the public also can meet representatives from the United Way of Northern New Mexico and United Way of Santa Fe County. All car show participants receive a commemorative t-shirt and are eligible for prizes,” lab spokesman Steve Sandoval said.
    For more information, call Debbi Wersonick of the Community Programs Office at 667-7870.

  • LANL offers insurance options

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has made the decision to move from an Exclusive Provider Organization (EPO) health insurance plan to Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) and High Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) options this year.
    Faced with rising healthcare costs, LANL rejected options other employers are taking, such as increasing the employees’ share of premiums, changing providers or going to a single plan such as the high deductible plan Sandia National Laboratories adopted.
    “What the lab decided to do was put the focus on a healthier workforce and more responsibility on us as consumers,” C.J. Bacino said.
    Employees must choose between the PPO plan and HDHP options.
    “The PPO is actually more robust (than the current EPO plan) because it will allow you to go out-of-network. It costs more money to go out-of-network, but there is still coverage,” Bacino, of the Human Resources Division said during one of the meetings explaining new plan options.
    The PPO plan comes with an 11 percent increase in premiums, as opposed to the eight percent increase the EPO plan would have been subject to. Those choosing the HDHP plan will see premiums decrease by 19 percent.
    Employee share of premiums continue to be 20 percent for the PPO plan. HDHP plans offer a 15/85 split on premiums.