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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Secure Computing for the 'Everyman'

    The largest information technology agreement ever signed by Los Alamos National Laboratory brings the potential for truly secure data encryption to the marketplace after nearly 20 years of development at the nation’s premier national-security science laboratory.
    “Quantum systems represent the best hope for truly secure data encryption because they store or transmit information in ways that are unbreakable by conventional cryptographic methods,” said Duncan McBranch, Chief Technology Officer at Los Alamos National Laboratory. “This licensing agreement with Whitewood Encryption Systems, Inc. is historic in that it takes our groundbreaking technical work that was developed over two decades into commercial encryption applications.”
    By harnessing the quantum properties of light for generating random numbers, and creating cryptographic keys with lightning speed, the technology enables a completely new commercial platform for real-time encryption at high data rates.
     For the first time, ordinary citizens and companies will be able to use cryptographic systems that have only been the subject of experiments in the world’s most advanced physics and computing laboratories for real-world applications.

  • Grand Canyon awaits LANL scientist

    Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist, Pawel Listwan, has always liked a challenge — like leaving his home country of Poland at the age of 19, living, studying and exploring Australia for nearly twenty years and arriving in Los Alamos eight years ago where he settled with his wife Dorota Listwan and their three children.
     In November 2012, together with his business partners, Patrick Mockler-Wood, Catherine Mockler and his wife Dorota, they opened the Pajarito Brewpub.
    Now Listwan has set his sights on a new challenge. On Sept. 24, Listwan will join Albuquerque attorney, Matthew Vance, at the Grand Canyon to step off the South Rim in pre-dawn darkness for a 48-mile “Feat for Justice” fundraising hike to support New Mexico Legal Aid’s Veterans Justice Project.
    They will hike “rim-to-rim-to-rim,” from the South Rim to the Canyon floor, up to the North Rim, back down and up to the South Rim again, all in 22 hours or less.

  • C-130 makes way to LANL

    Los Alamos National Laboratory finally received a C-130 airplane from Kirtland Air Force Base Thursday. The fuselage of the plane will be used for emergency response training purposes. The plane, which is surplus from Kirtland Air Force Base, has been demilitarized and will be located at the laboratory’s emergency response training area at Technical Area 49. The transport was delayed a day. 

  • LANL to receive C-130 airplane for training purposes

    Los Alamos National Laboratory will receive a C-130 airplane from Kirtland Air Force Base. The fuselage of the plane will be used for emergency response training purposes.
    “This plane will boost our training capabilities for first responders,” Christian Rittner of the Laboratory’s Security and Emergency Operations Division said.
    The plane, which is surplus from Kirtland Air Force Base, has been demilitarized and will be located at the laboratory’s emergency response training area at Technical Area 49.
    The C-130 will depart from Kirtland today via flatbed truck and will arrive in Los Alamos. The expected transportation time is six hours and will be transported, under escort by New Mexico State Police, via Interstate 25, north to N.M. 599, to U.S. 84/285, west on N.M. 502 and up N.M. 4 to Technical Area 49.
    Motorists traveling along the expected route from Albuquerque to Los Alamos should be aware that this transportation could cause traffic delays and adjust their schedules, or take an alternate route.
     

  • Former Sandia scientist pleads guilty to transporting government property to China

     Jianyu Huang, a scientist formerly employed by Sandia Corporation at Sandia National Laboratories pleaded guilty this afternoon to making a false statement and unlawfully transporting converted government property in interstate and foreign commerce.
    The guilty plea was announced by U.S. Attorney Damon P. Martinez and Special Agent in Charge Carol K.O. Lee of the FBI’s Albuquerque Division.
    Huang, 46, a naturalized U.S. citizen from the People’s Republic of China who resides in Albuquerque was arrested in June 2012, on a six-count indictment charging him with misusing U.S. government resources and equipment to conduct research for Chinese research institutions and with falsely stating that he did not intend to take U.S. government equipment with him on a trip to China. The indictment subsequently was superseded to add an interstate transportation of converted property charge and a theft of government property charge. Huang was employed by Sandia until his employment was terminated in late April 2012.

  • New nuke pit report released

    Jonathan Medalia, a specialist in nuclear weapons policy with the
    Congressional Research Service in Washington, has issued another report in regards to manufacturing nuclear weapons pits.
    It’s called “A Decision making approach for Congress” and the Los Alamos National Laboratory is front and center in the report.
    Medalia starts off with a little history. First off, a “pit” is the plutonium “trigger” of a thermonuclear weapon.
    During the Cold War, the Rocky Flats Plant (Colorado) made up to 2,000 pits per year (ppy), but ceased operations in 1989. Since then,the Department of Energy (DOE) has made at most 11 ppy for the stockpile, yet the Department of Defense stated that it needs DOE to have a capacity of 50 to 80 ppy to extend the life of certain weapons and for other purposes.
    Medalia’s report focuses on 80 ppy, the upper end of this range.
    And he explains what options are out there.

  • Scientists urge rehiring of fired nuke lab worker

    SANTA FE (AP) — A group of scientists who work to limit the spread of nuclear weapons is urging the U.S. Energy Secretary to intervene on behalf of a fired worker at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    Santa Fe political scientist James Doyle says he was fired after 17 years on the job in July after writing an article for a nonprofit website in support of abolishing nuclear weapons.
    Doyle worked on the lab’s non-proliferation team.
    Federation of American Scientists President Charles Ferguson urged Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to ensure that that Doyle isn’t penalized for participating in the national dialogue over nuclear policy. Doyle tells the Santa Fe New Mexican he was fired after lab officials claimed his article raised classification concerns.
    He says the article had been cleared for publication. 

  • Cleanup project begins at upper Truck Route

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Corrective Actions Program has begun a legacy-contaminant soil cleanup project at the former Technical Area 61.
    Located on the south side of East Jemez Road adjacent to the county landfill, the project began on Aug. 11 and will last until mid-September.
    Crews will excavate about 120 cubic yards of soil contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), which are common in industrial sites, from a utility corridor where a leaking transformer was staged in the past. The contamination is underground, covered with clean soil, and poses no human health risks.
    “This is yet another step in a larger effort to clean up sites around Los Alamos that are more accessible to the public,” said Corrective Actions Program Director Dave McInroy. “We hope to increase this type of work during the next two years.”
    Crews will use an excavator to remove contaminated soil and replace it with fresh fill. The work will occur behind temporary fencing and is not expected to impact traffic.
    “We look forward to doing this work safely and returning the site in good environmental condition which will not restrict future use,” McInroy said.
     

  • LANL still looking for answers

    Last Friday, the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities received updates on the Feb, 14 radiological release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad. LANL WIPP Recovery Leader and Principal Associate Director For Global Security Terry Wallace and Jeff Kendall, general counsel for the New Mexico Environment Department, provided the updates.
    The event occurred just two weeks after a drum of radioactive waste processed at Los Alamos National Laboratory was placed at WIPP. The breached drum was part of a shipment from the 3,706 campaign to remove 3,706 cubic meters of above ground transuranic waste from lab property.
    The campaign was 93 percent complete when the incident occurred and WIPP shipments were halted.
    Wallace reported that 300 LANL scientists with a range of expertise have performed roughly 3,000 experiments to determine the cause of the breach.
    That work has revealed some answers, but not definitive ones. Experts have determined that the breach in the drum was caused by a series of step-wise exothermic reactions.

  • Former lab worker sentenced

     A former Los Alamos National Laboratory contractor has been sentenced to a year and a day in prison for conspiring with her physicist husband to sell nuclear secrets.
    The Justice Department on Wednesday announced the sentencing of 71-year-old Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, who pleaded guilty to charges accusing the couple of plotting to communicate classified nuclear weapons data to an undercover agent who they thought was a Venezuelan government official.
    Her husband, 79-year-old Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni, has also pleaded guilty in the case and is in federal custody pending his sentencing. He was a scientist at the lab from 1979 to 1988. She did technical writing and editing from 1981 to 2010. Prosecutors say both held security clearances that allowed them access to certain classified information and restricted data.
    Her husband, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Argentina who is also a former LANL employee, also entered a guilty plea in June 2013, and is in federal custody pending his sentencing hearing.