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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • LANL Catalyst Could Advance E-Cars, Green Energy

    Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists have designed a new type of nanostructured-carbon-based catalyst that could pave the way for reliable, economical next-generation batteries and alkaline fuel cells, providing for practical use of wind- and solar-powered electricity, as well as enhanced hybrid electric vehicles.

    In a paper published in Nature Communications, Los Alamos researchers Hoon T. Chung, Piotr Zelenay and Jong H. Won, the latter now at the Korea Basic Science Institute, describe a new type of nitrogen-doped carbon-nanotube catalyst. The new material has the highest oxygen reduction reaction (ORR) activity in alkaline media of any non-precious metal catalyst developed to date. This activity is critical for efficient storage of electrical energy.

    The new catalyst doesn’t use precious metals such as platinum, which is more expensive per ounce than gold, yet it performs under certain conditions as effectively as many well-known and prohibitively expensive precious-metal catalysts developed for battery and fuel-cell use. Moreover, although the catalyst is based on nitrogen-containing carbon nanotubes, it does not require the tedious, toxic and costly processing that is usually required when converting such materials for catalytic use.

  • Wadt named president of LANL Foundation board

    Bill Wadt has been elected president of the Board of Directors of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation.

    He succeeds Liddie Martinez, Director of the Community and Economic Development Division of SOC Los Alamos, who continues to serve on the Executive Committee.

    After retiring as Deputy Contract Assurance Officer for Los Alamos National Laboratory in 2010 following a 34-year career, Wadt is chair-elect of Quality New Mexico and becomes president of the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation in July.

    Other officers are:
    • Richard Marquez, LANL Executive Director on the senior executive management team at the Lab, vice president.
    • Wayne Kennedy, former Senior Vice President of the University of California, treasurer.
    • Ginger Richardson, Vice President for Education and Institutional Outreach at the Santa Fe Institute, secretary.

    New members elected to the Board are Walter Dasheno, former Governor of Santa Clara Pueblo; and Jerry Lopez, former Group Leader for NIE-CS at LANL, who retired in 2012.

    Re-elected to three-year terms are Jeffrey Howell and Kennedy.
     

  • Lab begins tests on chromium plume

    Los Alamos National Laboratory will begin pumping tests in two groundwater monitoring wells this summer located on lab property within a chromium plume in the regional aquifer.
    The purpose of the pumping tests is to refine understanding of the plume properties within the regional aquifer and evaluate the potential for large-scale pumping to remove chromium. Chromium concentrations in the plume exceed state and federal standards for groundwater.
    “These pumping tests are a key step in identifying measures to address the plume,” said Pete Maggiore, assistant manager for environmental projects at the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos Field Office. “Data from this testing will be used to recommend a final remedy which we will then submit to the state.”
    The chromium investigation is part of environmental work being conducted under the 2005 Consent Order between New Mexico, the lab and the Department of Energy. Under the Consent Order process, the state will select a final remedy after input from the public.

  • Bradbury to honor military personnel

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bradbury Science Museum is again partnering with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families Foundation and the Department of Defense in the Blue Star Museums program to host active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
    “In this the 70th anniversary year celebration of Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Bradbury Science Museum is once again excited and proud to be part of the 1,800 museums throughout the United States participating in the Blue Star Museums program to thank our nation’s military personnel — and their families — for their service,” Bradbury Science Museum Director Linda Deck said.
    “The museum already has a free-admission policy, but we’re participating in this program to raise awareness of the importance of honoring members of the U.S. armed services, as we share our collective history,” Deck said.
    The Bradbury Science Museum features films and interactive exhibits interpreting LANL’s contributions to modern science, research and technology, including its role in the Manhattan Project and current mission in national security. The museum is open daily except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.

  • McMillan echoes concerns on cybersecurity

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan told a gathering of energy executives Tuesday that securing the electrical grid is a major concern right now and it’s only going to become more serious.
    “If you look back at the last year, there were several hundred attacks on critical infrastructure,” McMillan said, addressing attendees at the Deloitte Energy Conference near Washington, D.C. “More than 40 percent of those attacks were on the energy sector.”
    Resilience and reliability of the electrical grid have become key energy security concerns at the Laboratory and are important focus areas in global security. Experience with massive amounts of data, complex systems and security technology involved in nuclear weapons research are now providing insights for grid security, McMillan said.
    “In the time it takes me to say this sentence, the external firewalls of Los Alamos will be challenged hundreds of times by adversaries. Our systems, and yours, are very attractive.” McMillan said. “But encrypting control signals on the grid is particularly challenging because any encryption scheme must be able to meet competing standards for very rapid response and high security.”

  • LANL makes strides in cleaning runoff

    Engineer Erin English, with Biohabitats, Inc., a firm representing the Communities for Clean Water (CCW), gave the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities a progress report on Los Alamos National Laboratory’s efforts at storm water management.

    English spoke highly of the LANL stormwater team.

    “We’ve actually ended up in quite a collaborative process and have found that the LANL folks have gone far above what they had committed to doing as a result of that lawsuit, and have really looked to us for some assistance in how to manage that storm water, not only in conventional ways but perhaps in ways that give them a little more flexibility that are rooting in green infrastructure grounds,” English said.

    English believes LANL’s budget for compliance with the stormwater mitigation is approximately $10 million.

    The core members of CCW are Amigos Bravos, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Honor our Pueblo Existence and the New Mexico Acequia Association, with several other groups also participating.

  • Congress approves additional LANL cleanup money

    LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — Congress has approved an additional $19 million for nuclear waste cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The New Mexico congressional delegation on Wednesday announced the approval of a "reprogramming" request by the Department of Energy to transfer money from other programs to ensure the lab can meet its promise to remove thousands of barrels of radioactive waste by 2014.

    The potential dangers of the waste, which is stored above ground, made national headlines in 2011 when the Las Conchas fire raged near the lab.

    The Obama Administration had requested $239 million for the cleanup in the fiscal year 2013 budget. But a continuing budget resolution froze the cleanup funding level at $189 million and sequestration cuts further reduced that figure to $173 million.

    Watch for more details on this developing story in the Los Alamos Monitor.

  • Two LANL scientists honored by DOE

    Two Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers are among the 61 national recipients of the Energy Department’s Early Career Research Program awards for 2013.
    Marian Jandel won for his proposal, “New Data on Neutron Reactions Relevant to Basic and Applied Science,” selected by the Office of Nuclear Physics.
    Nathan M. Urban will be supported for his work on “Beyond the Black Box: Combining System and Model Dynamics to Learn About Climate Uncertainties,” selected by the Office of Biological & Environmental Research.
    The Early Career Research Program, now in its fourth year, is designed to bolster the nation’s scientific workforce by providing support to exceptional researchers during the crucial early career years, when many scientists do their most formative work.
    “The Early Career Research Program reflects the Administration’s strong commitment to creating jobs and new industries through scientific innovation,” said Acting Energy Secretary Poneman. “Strong support of scientists early in their careers is crucial to sustaining America’s scientific workforce and assuring U.S. leadership in discovery and innovation for many years to come.”

  • Production of medical isotope moves a step closer at LANL

    Los Alamos National Laboratory announced Monday that for the first time, irradiated uranium fuel has been recycled and reused for molybdenum-99 (Mo-99) production, with virtually no losses in Mo-99 yields or uranium recovery.

    This demonstrates the viability of the separation process, as well as the potential for environmentally- and cost-friendly fuel recycling. Medical isotope production technology has advanced significantly now that scientists have made key advances in separating Mo-99 from an irradiated, low-enriched uranium (LEU) solution.

    Low-Enriched Uranium as a Source of Mo-99

    Technetium-99m (Tc-99m) is the most commonly used medical isotope today, accounting for about 50,000 medical imaging procedures daily in the United States. Tc-99m is derived from the parent isotope Mo-99, predominantly produced from the fission of uranium-235 in highly enriched uranium targets (HEU) in aging foreign reactors. The North American supply of Tc-99m was severely disrupted when the Chalk River nuclear reactor in Canada experienced an outage several years ago.

  • All about Mars

    LANL scientist Roger Wiens signs a copy of his book “Red Rover: Inside the Story of Robotic Space Exploration, from Genesis to the Mars Rover Curiosity,” Saturday at CB Fox.