Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • LANS selects CSNI for telecommunications support

    CNSI last week announced it has been selected by Los Alamos National Security LLC (LANS) to continue its work providing telecommunications support and related services at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
    LANS has managed operations at the laboratory since 2006 and CNSI was selected in 2008 to support telecommunications at the laboratory. As part of the service contract, CNSI supports the laboratory’s efforts to utilize the latest technology in its communications system, with special emphasis toward a LANL-wide conversion to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. Recently, CNSI was awarded a new 3 year contract with 1 base year and 2 additional option years to continue the telecommunications support.
    As part of the telecommunication support to LANS, CNSI has operated LANL’s switching offices, maintained hundreds of miles of transmission and distribution facilities and provided comprehensive customer support to one of the Department of Energy’s largest and most significant science and technology institutions.

  • Steinhaus to speak in ABQ

    As a former teacher and educational administrator, Community Programs Office Director Kurt Steinhaus is passionate about education.
     Steinhaus manages the Community Commitment Plan, which details how the Laboratory and Los Alamos National Security, LLC, implement educational investment initiatives by Los Alamos in Northern New Mexico.
    Steinhaus provides his perspective on what schools, teachers, administrators, parents and communities can do singly and collectively to improve education in New Mexico’s and the nation’s schools during a TEDxABQED talk Friday.
     TEDxABQED is from 1 to 5 p.m. in the African American Performing Arts Center, 310 San Pedro N.E., in Albuquerque.
    Friday’s TEDxABQED talk is sold out, however it can be watched on a livestream.
    “Teachers have told us that the Math and Science Academy has changed their teaching careers and given them a renewed energy to teach math and science,” said Steinhaus. “Collectively we’re making a difference for teachers and students in Northern New Mexico.” 

  • LANL to co-sponsor youth conference

    Approximately 150 Northern New Mexico girls will get hands-on experience learning about science and math at the 35th annual Expanding Your Horizons conference from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 6 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory partners with New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering, Los Alamos Women in Science, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, and the LANL Foundation on EYH to increase awareness of and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities and careers.
    “Science outreach has always been important to me,” said Jan Frigo of the Laboratory’s Space Data Systems Group, chair of this year’s EYH. “Expanding Your Horizons participants participate in hands-on workshops, browse a career fair and interact with many female role models in STEM careers.”
    Early registration for the conference has ended, but a waiting list has been created to accommodate additional students as space is available.
    Contact Susan Coulter at 667-8425 or write to eyh14_planning@lanl.gov.

  • Sandia lab releases economic impact report

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Sandia National Laboratories says it spent about $975 million dollars on goods and services during the last fiscal year, and more than 40 percent of that went to New Mexico businesses.
    The federal lab released its annual economic impact report Monday.
    One of Sandia’s managers, Don Devoti, says 2013 was a challenging year for the national economy and for small businesses in New Mexico. Still, he says Sandia’s spending was up $79 million.
    Lab officials say models suggest the effect Sandia has on New Mexico’s economy could be about three times the total amount it spends on purchases and salaries.

  • Existing facilities could be option for further plutonium work

    Second of a series
    During his talk in Washington last week, Jonathan Medalia, a specialist in nuclear weapons policy for the Congressional Research Service, talked about existing buildings in relation to pit production.
    Medalia said other sites away from LANL could be used including Livermore, Idaho and Savannah. Then he discussed the pros and cons of LANL’s Plutonium Facility (PF-4) and the Radiological Laboratory-Utility-Office Building, which was completed in 2010.
    A source said the idea of using existing facilities is nothing new and the lab actually has been doing that very thing.
    RLUOB has 19,500 square feet of lab space, plus office space. But as a Radiological Facility, it is permitted to hold 38.6 grams (plutonium) Pu-239E. WGPu (weapons-grade plutonium) is more radioactive than pure Pu-239.
    “The utility basement and the laboratory floor above it are made of heavily-reinforced concrete, while the office floors are built to the standards of an emergency response building like a fire station, so RLUOB is much more seismically robust than CMR (Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Building). LANL estimates the cost of moving AC and related work from CMR to RLUOB and PF-4 to be $800 million,” he said.

  • WIPP officials say environment is safe 

    CARLSBAD (AP) — Officials investigating a leak from the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste dump tried to reassure skeptical southeastern New Mexico residents Monday night that their health is safe.
    More than 250 people attended a two-hour meeting to ask questions about back-to-back accidents at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad and the first-known release of radiation from the repository.
    “I’m just a mom,” said Anna Hovrud, “and my first reaction was to start praying. ... Basically I am not understanding about two-thirds of what has been said here. Is there a chance we could be exposed to radiation, that we are being poisoned somehow, while we are waiting for these samples?”
    Joe Franco, who manages the Department of Energy’s Carlsbad office, told Hovrud “there is no risk from this event that would be a hazard to you or your children.”
    Farok Sharif, president of the Nuclear Waste Partnership that runs the plant, told Hovrud his family also lives in the community. And he said he has been to the site repeatedly in the past week — without protective gear — to gather readings “because I know it is safe.”

  • Nun, 84, sentenced to three years for breaking into Tennessee nuclear facility

    An 84-year-old nun was sentenced Tuesday to nearly three years in prison for breaking into a nuclear weapons complex and defacing a bunker holding bomb-grade uranium, a demonstration that exposed serious security flaws at the Tennessee plant.
    Two other peace activists who broke into the facility with Megan Rice were sentenced to more than five years in prison, in part because they had much longer criminal histories of mostly non-violent civil disobedience.
    Although officials said there was never any danger of the protesters reaching materials that could be detonated or made into a dirty bomb, the break-in raised questions about safekeeping at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge. The facility holds the nation’s primary supply of bomb-grade uranium and was known as the “Fort Knox of uranium.”
    After the break-in, the complex had to be shut down, security forces were re-trained and contractors were replaced.
    In her closing statement, Rice asked the judge to sentence her to life in prison, even though sentencing guidelines called for about six years.
    In 2010, Rice was arrested at the Los Alamos National Laboratory during a protest.

  • NMED, San I reach accord

    New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the Pueblo de San Ildefonso last week announced the signing of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) and protocols that will establish procedures for access to Pueblo Lands, data sharing, sampling, and responding to inadvertent discoveries, and to formalize a process for government-to-government relations that is consistent between the NMED and the Pueblo.
    The MOA will allow for better environmental protections and certainties for the Pueblo de San Ildefonso while giving the state the ability to collect data within the exterior boundaries of the Pueblo and Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    “This is a common-sense agreement where both parties win and the environment reaps the benefits,” says Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn. “We will now have an agreement and protocols in place to respectfully access and monitor Pueblo lands in an area that helps us better understand potential environmental threats. The agreement eliminates uncertainties and creates a more efficient way of protecting the environment while providing defined procedures for NMED operations on Pueblo land. ”

  • Plutonium found outside WIPP

    CARLSBAD (AP) — The U.S. Department of Energy has appointed a team to investigate the detection of radiation in and near a southeastern New Mexico facility that’s the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository in operation.
    The assessment of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will be conducted by an accident investigation board consisting of department officials and representatives of health and safety agencies, the department said in a statement released late Wednesday.
    The board will be assisted by experts in fields such as fire protection, ventilation, and mine safety, the department said.
    An underground monitor at the plant near Carlsbad detected airborne radiation late Friday night, and an independent monitor center said Wednesday it found radioactive isotopes in an air sensor a half-mile from the plant.
    A filter from a monitor northwest of the plant had trace amounts of americium and plutonium, said Russell Hardy, director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center, an arm of New Mexico State University.
    The detected levels are highest ever detected at or around the site but also far below those deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency, Hardy said.

  • NNSA reaches milestone

    The National Nuclear Security Administration this week announced that Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories successfully completed the first full-system mechanical environment test of the B61-12 as part of the NNSA’s ongoing effort to refurbish the B61 nuclear bomb.
    This first full-system mechanical environment test is one of several critical milestones for the B61-12 Life Extension Program (LEP).
    The B61-12 LEP is an essential element of the U.S. strategic nuclear deterrent and of the U.S.’s commitments to extended deterrence.
    “As long as the United States continues to have nuclear weapons, we must ensure that they remain safe, secure and effective without the use of underground nuclear explosive testing,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook. “The first full-system mechanical environmental test of the B61-12 is a significant achievement and gives us confidence in our ability to move forward with our efforts to increase the safety and security of the bomb.”
    The B61-12 LEP is now in its second year of development engineering.
    The scope of this LEP includes refurbishment of both nuclear and non-nuclear components to address aging, ensure extended service life and improve security and reliability of the bomb.