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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Scientist from LANL to lead research group

    SANTA FE (AP) — A scientist from Los Alamos National Laboratory has been tapped to help New Mexico with complex issues related to energy and water science.
    The state Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department says Jeri Sullivan Graham will lead the Brackish Water Work Group.
    One of the group’s overarching goals is to identify the state’s brackish water resources and find ways to make it more available and useable as a buffer against drought.
     

  • EM celebrates end of Recovery Act program

    Department of Energy officials last week marked a historic landmark in Environmental Management’s (EM) mission as they celebrated the close of the Cold War cleanup program’s $6 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Program.
       DOE officials recognized the commitment, leadership, and hard work of thousands of workers who helped make Recovery Act work successful.
       “I think it’s important to remember the bigger picture. The core of it was that DOE accomplished really, really, really important things,” David Klaus, DOE Deputy Under Secretary for Management and Performance, said of the Department’s Recovery Act work. “When you go to Hanford and you see the pump-and-treat facility, you understand what an important difference it makes on the Central Plateau. We’ve managed to put that facility in place for the protection of the surrounding community.”
    Back in 2009, the Los Alamos National Laboratory received $212 million in Recovery Act funding to perform environmental remediation work, including the TA-21 building demolition project, excavation of Material Disposal Area B (MDA-B), the Lab’s oldest waste disposal site, and the installation of 16 ground­water monitoring wells.

  • Ten N.M. small businesses recognized

    Ten New Mexico small businesses participating in projects using technical expertise and assistance of Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratories are being recognized at the 13th annual Innovation Celebration.
    The celebration is scheduled for April 3 at Balloon Fiesta Park in Albuquerque. It is part of Technology Venture Corporation’s Innovation Summit.
    Duncan McBranch, Los Alamos’ chief technology officer, is keynote speaker at the Innovation Celebration.
    “The technical expertise Los Alamos and Sandia principal investigators provide to small business owners is another example of the vital importance of the national laboratories to the state of New Mexico and small business owners,” said David Pesiri of Los Alamos’ Richard P. Feynman Center for Innovation. “Since the New Mexico Small Business Assistance program was created, national laboratory technology and expertise has helped thousands of small businesses in nearly every county in New Mexico. This is an outcome that our laboratory is proud to be a part of and it’s an accomplishment worth celebrating.”
    The New Mexico Small Business Assistance program was created by the New Mexico Legislature in 2000. Los Alamos National Laboratory joined the program in 2007.

  • State of the lab

    Los Alamos National Laboratory director Charlie McMillan briefed community leaders on the state of the lab during a breakfast Wednesday at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino. McMillan and new Los Alamos Site Office Manager Kim Davis Lebak talked about various projects at the lab including the NMSSUP security project and 3706 Tru-Waste Campaign. More on the breakfast will be reported on this week in the Los Alamos Monitor.

  • DOE takes steps to reopen WIPP

    One of two safety plans needed before workers can re-enter the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been approved, according to a release from the facility Monday.
    The Department of Energy has approved a plan to ensure the WIPP ventilation system is working. A second plan to ensure worker safety still needs approval before anyone can re-enter the underground site.
    This week, workers will inspect the hoist ropes for the Salt and Air Intake conveyances that will lower personnel to the underground facility.
    Plans are underway to move a number of waste packages from WIPP’s Parking Area Unit into the Waste Handling Bay for venting — a requirement of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. “Venting” involves removing the waste from the transportation packages to allow the dissipation of any hydrogen buildup, a process that poses no risk to the public or environment.
    The waste payloads will be removed from the shipping packages and stored in the Waste Handling Building in accordance with the WIPP Hazardous Waste Facility Permit, which allows for 60‐day storage in the Waste Handling Building.
    The New Mexico Environment Department approved an additional 45‐day extension to store wastes in the Waste Handling Building.

  • Neutron Center loses funding

    When President Barack Obama sent his FY2015 budget to Congress, it turned out to be bad news for the Manuel Lujan Jr. Neutron Center, which is part of the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center.
    Through the past two decades, the Lujan Center has been operated through a partnership between the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Office of Basic Energy Sciences.
    Obama’s budget request cut $10 million in funding for the operational costs of the Lujan Center.
    This is what the budget request said.
      “The BES operations of the Lujan Neutron Scattering Center will cease and funding is requested for safe storage of facility components”. For well over a decade, the Lujan Center at LANSCE has been an international center of excellence and innovation for basic and applied research in neutron scattering and fundamental nuclear physics,” the budget statement said.

  • State withdraws permit for WIPP expansion

    SANTA FE (AP) — New Mexico regulators have withdrawn a preliminary permit for an expansion of the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.
    Citing recent back-to-back incidents that included a radiation release that contaminated 17 workers, the New Mexico Environment Department on Friday notified the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) that it has withdrawn a pending draft permit.
    "NMED cannot move forward on the WIPP's request to open additional underground storage panels and for the other requested permit modifications until more information is known about the recent events at the WIPP," Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn said in a statement. "Just as NMED needs more information to make informed decisions on permit modifications, the public also needs more information about the radiation release in order to provide informed input during the public comment period. Once NMED has all of our questions answered, we will proceed with consideration of a revised draft Permit."
    The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is the nation's only permanent underground repository for low-level radioactive waste, including things like plutonium-contaminated gloves, tools and protective clothing, from nuclear weapons facilities.

  • LANL may ship waste to Texas

    Nuclear Waste Partnership, the management and operating contractor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Energy, is proposing to ship transuranic waste currently located at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for temporary storage at Waste Control Specialists, located in western Andrews County, Texas.
    The Department has committed to the state of New Mexico to removing 3,706 cubic meters of TRU waste from LANL by June 30.
    Lab spokesman Matt Nerzig said the campaign was 80 percent complete when WIPP operations were suspended.
    The waste will be moved to WIPP for final disposal once the site reopens. Any shipments of LANL transuranic waste to a temporary storage site are contingent upon the completion of an appropriate National Environmental Policy Act analysis.
    Nerzig said the goal is to begin shipments after the completion of the NEPA analysis with a target date of April 1.
    “We initially estimate that as many as 140 shipments of TRU waste from LANL would be sent to WCS,” said Nerzig, who added that the contract is contingent the completion of an appropriate analysis of the potential environmental impacts pursuant to the NEPA Act.

  • DOE puts Internet WIPP rumor to rest

    An Internet rumor has been fueling concerns this week about the need to be prepared to evacuate southeastern New Mexico because of recent events at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
    According to a release from WIPP, there is absolutely no basis for these rumors. Monitoring conducted by Nuclear Waste Partnership of air, soil, water and vegetation is showing no radiation releases that would approach levels causing health concerns. Independent monitoring by the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center has reached similar conclusions.
    In a recent letter to New Mexico’s senators, Ron Curry, regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, noted that “initial field measurements combined with modeling of potential public exposures indicate that it is very unlikely that any exposures would approach regulatory limits or represent a public health concern.”
    A package of work and safety controls required before safe re‐entry can take place at the WIPP has been prepared by Nuclear Waste Partnership, the management and operations contractor at WIPP. The package will be submitted to the Department of Energy for review and approval, the next step before sending personnel into the WIPP underground facility to understand the source of the recent radiation release.

  • LANL’s Jia named Fellow

    Quanxi Jia of the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (MPA-CINT) is a 2014 Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS).
    The MRS Fellow program recognizes outstanding members whose sustained and distinguished contributions to the advancement of materials research are internationally recognized.
    The number of new fellows selected annually is capped at 0.2 percent of the current total MRS membership.
    Achievements
    The MRS recognized Jia for “pioneering contributions to the development of high-temperature superconducting-coated conductors and for advancing the processing and application of multifunctional metal-oxide materials.”
    Jia received a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. He joined LANL in 1993 as a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow, and was converted to a staff in 1996.
    He is a leader at the Nanoscale Electronics and Mechanics at the Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT), which is jointly operated by Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories.
    He specializes in the synthesis of nanostructured materials, multifunctional materials, and thin films.