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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Lab weighs in on safety infractions

    According to a weekly Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board memorandum, lab director Charlie McMillan provided a final response to a September 2011 NNSA Site Office letter regarding criticality safety infractions last month.

  • Scientists, residents cheer Mars landing

    NASA’s Curiosity rover on Monday transmitted a low-resolution video showing the last 2 1/2 minutes of its white-knuckle dive through the Mars atmosphere, giving Earthlings a sneak peek of a spacecraft landing on another world.

    As thumbnails of the video flashed on a big screen on Monday, scientists and engineers at the NASA Jet Propulsion let out “oohs” and “aahs.” The recording began with the protective heat shield falling away and ended with dust being kicked up as the rover was lowered by cables inside an ancient crater.

    It was a sneak preview since it’ll take some time before full-resolution frames are beamed back depending on other priorities.

  • Lab sets shipment record

    For the fourth consecutive year, Los Alamos National Laboratory’s TRU Waste Program has sent a record number of transuranic waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad for permanent disposal.

    The laboratory’s 172nd shipment of TRU waste this year left Los Alamos bound for WIPP Aug. 2. With two months left in the fiscal year, the laboratory has already beat last year’s fiscal year record of 171 shipments.

    “Our goal this fiscal year is 184 shipments and we are on track to surpass that by a substantial margin,” said Lee Bishop, TRU waste manager at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos Site Office. “We expect to send in the neighborhood of 200 shipments to WIPP this year.”

  • Mars landing may have some anxious moments

    Seven minutes of terror.

    It sounds like a Hollywood thriller, but the phrase describes the anxiety NASA is expecting as its car-sized robotic rover tries a tricky landing on Mars late Sunday.

    Skimming the top of the Martian atmosphere at 13,000 mph, the Curiosity rover needs to brake to a stop — in seven minutes.

    The rover is headed for a two-year mission to study whether Mars ever had the elements needed for microbial life.

    Because of its heft, the 2,000-pound robot, which has many instruments designed by scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, can’t land the way previous spacecraft did.

  • TA-21 demolition makes Energy.gov photo of week

    Sarah Gerrity, Multimedia Editor, Office of Public Affairs at the Department of Energy, features "energy-related" photos on the Energy.gov website. This week, she featured a shot of demolition work being done at LANL.

  • GAO weighs in on NNSA

    The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report that takes a look at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s reviews of budget estimates this week.

    And what did it find?

    The GAO says the NNSA needs to make better decisions when it comes to its budgets.

  • Martian fever comes to Bradbury

    Curious about Curiosity, the SUV-sized rover scheduled to touch down on Mars on Sunday? Then come to an opening party for a new exhibit about it this Sunday at the Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos.
    The public is invited to a special opening reception beginning at 10 p.m. Sunday to celebrate Los Alamos National Laboratory technologies aboard the six-wheeled mobile science laboratory. The Curiosity rover, the centerpiece of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission, is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet Sunday at 11:31 p.m. local time. The museum plans to show the landing via NASA TV live that evening.

  • Anti-nuclear activities

    Friday in Santa Fe:

    • 5 p.m.-7 p.m.: Art exhibit at El Museo
    • Workshop on non-violent direct action (relating to activities planned for Mon. Aug. 6.
    Saturday in Santa Fe:

    • Center for Contemporary Arts (CCA), 1050 Old Pecos Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87505
    Conference schedule:
    • 9 a.m.-9:15 a.m.: Ceremonial opening and blessing: Las Mujeras Hablan
    • 9:30 a.m.-10:45 a.m.: Nuclear Weapons 101: With Jay Coghlan, Scott Kovac, and Marylia Kelley
    • 10:45 a.m.-11:15 a.m.: The Bridge From Nuclear Weapons to Nuclear Power: Linda Gunter
    • 11:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Community Stories of the Nuclear Legacy: with Las Mujeras Hablan, Tina Cordova*, and Kristen Iverson

  • Protesters coming to LA

    With anti-nuclear groups coming to town Sunday and Monday to mark the anniversary of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings, residents can expect a little more edge and passion to the protests and events, thanks to the national “Occupy” movement.

    “This year, we’ve had lots of participation because of the Occupy movement,” co- organizer Bud Ryan said. “This year, we have more than 30 volunteers helping us.”

  • More questions on PF-4

    The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board is keeping tabs on the Department of Energy, NNSA and the Los Alamos National Laboratory when it comes to the structural integrity of the Plutonium Facility (PF-4).

    In DNFSB’s latest letter, dated July 18, the board said an ongoing government analysis of the lab’s ability to withstand earthquakes may be flawed.

    The board used the term “technically inadequate” in several ways when it described the lab’s own analysis of how well PF-4 would hold up in a strong earthquake.

    The letter stated, “Timely action must be taken to fully understand if additional building modifications are required.”