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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Atomic bomb trigger man dies at 96

    PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Robert F. Christy, a former California Institute of Technology professor who helped design the trigger mechanism for the atomic bombs used in World War II, died Wednesday. He was 96.

    Christy died of natural causes at his home in Pasadena, surrounded by his family, according to Caltech spokeswoman Deborah Williams-Hedges.

    Christy was one of the early recruits to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos Laboratory, a U.S. government research project to develop atomic weapons during the war. He was hand-picked to join by his University of California, Berkeley, professor J. Robert Oppenheimer, with whom Christy studied quantum mechanics.

  • LANL Foundation to host conference

    A team called the “rock stars” of education will present at the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation’s 15th Annual Conference on Education from 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Oct. 11-12 at Buffalo Thunder Resort and Conference Center.
    Dr. Harry K. Wong and Dr. Rosemary Wong, authors of the best-selling book, “The First Days of School,” will present the keynote session on “Effective Teaching.” Dr. Jeff Goldstein, director of the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education and a popular Huffington Post tweeter, will be the afternoon speaker.
    Harry Wong has been called “Mr. Practicality” for his common sense, research-based, no-cost approach to managing a classroom for student success. He is credited with renewing entire schools and rescuing frustrated teachers. 
    The speakers will address two audiences. Oct. 11 is open to public school teachers in Northern New Mexico. Oct.12 is a special presentation to schools participating in LANL Foundation’s Inquiry Science Education Consortium (ISEC): Dulce, Española, Mesa Vista, Peñasco, Pojoaque, Santa Fe and Springer.
    Registration, including, breakfast, lunch and conference materials, is $70 per person for non-ISEC educators and is available at lanlfoundation.org.

  • LANL tops shipping record in first year

    In the first year of an effort to accelerate shipments of transuranic (TRU) waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), Los Alamos National Laboratory topped its own record with 59 more shipments than planned and it also became one of the largest shippers of this type of nuclear waste in the country.

    “Our goal this fiscal year was to send 184 shipments to WIPP,” said Lee Bishop, TRU waste manager at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Los Alamos Site Office, “and we finished the fiscal year in September with 230 shipments, surpassing Los Alamos’ all-time record by nearly 60 shipments.”
    Los Alamos’ previous record was 171 shipments, set last year.

    In an agreement between the New Mexico Environment Department and the Department of Energy, Los Alamos has committed to removing 3,706 cubic meters of TRU waste stored above ground by June 30, 2014.

    The laboratory removed 916 cubic meters of waste from its stored inventory this year, more than its goal of 800 cubic meters. It plans to more than double that effort during fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1, with a goal of shipping 1,800 cubic meters by the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, 2013. The final 1,106 cubic meters will be shipped by June 30, 2014.

  • LANL tops records in first year of accelerated shipping

    In the first year of an effort to accelerate shipments of transuranic (TRU) waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), Los Alamos National Laboratory topped its own record with 59 more shipments than planned, and it also became one of the largest shippers of this type of nuclear waste in the country.

    “Our goal this fiscal year was to send 184 shipments to WIPP,” said Lee Bishop, TRU waste manager at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration Los Alamos Site Office, “and we finished the fiscal year in September with 230 shipments, surpassing Los Alamos’ all-time record by nearly 60 shipments.”

    Los Alamos’ previous record was 171 shipments, set last year.

    In an agreement between the New Mexico Environment Department and the Department of Energy, Los Alamos has committed to removing 3,706 cubic meters of TRU waste stored above ground by June 30, 2014.

    The Laboratory removed 916 cubic meters of waste from its stored inventory this year, more than its goal of 800 cubic meters. It plans to more than double that effort during fiscal year 2013, which began Oct. 1, with a goal of shipping 1,800 cubic meters by the end of the fiscal year on September 30, 2013. The final 1,106 cubic meters will be shipped by June 30, 2014.

  • DOE awards Regional Coalition $100K

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Site Office has awarded the State of New Mexico funding for the

    Regional Coalition of Los Alamos National Laboratory Communities to help address environmental and other related issues at LANL that affect the Regional Coalition’s members.

    Under the $100,000 grant funding, one of the key roles of the Regional Coalition will be to understand and help address the various issues regarding the cleanup and longterm management of LANL, and to provide a forum to foster discussions among DOE, the regulatory agencies, and site contractors. The Regional Coalition will work to educate and perform public outreach to DOE, Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) and the State on LANL environmental issues.

    “We are very pleased that local elected leaders can work with DOE to help promote clean up at Los Alamos as well as realize the job creation opportunities for our constituencies related to this environmental effort,” said Santa Fe Mayor David Coss, chair of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities.

  • NMCF to relinquish database activities

    After eight years of providing public education and outreach related to environmental monitoring information from the Los Alamos National Laboratory site, New Mexico Community Foundation) has been asked by the Department of Energy to relinquish its responsibility as outreach coordinator and database manager of the Intellus NM Project.

    DOE notified NMCF on Sept. 18 that, due to financial constraints and uncertainties in DOE Environmental Management’s budget, NMCF would no longer be funded to provide training, education and outreach to the public on behalf of Intellus NM.

    Additionally, LANL and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) are currently negotiating the closure of the 2007 Settlement Agreement and Stipulated Final Order, also known as the Chromium Settlement, which required LANL to turn their environmental data over to an independent manager. The closure of this agreement allows LANL to manage their data without oversight or involvement from a third-party. 

  • LANL publishes 2011 Environmental Report

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory has published its 2011 Environmental Report. The massive 406-page volume contains information on virtually every aspect of the lab's impact on the Northern New Mexico environment.

    Chapters cover areas such as compliance, radiological and non-radiological dose assessments, air sampling, groundwater monitoring, foodstuffs and biota monitoring, and environmental restoration.

    The full report can be viewed by clicking here.

  • Funds may come back to lab

    Some details were uncovered in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s reprogramming request after $120 million was returned to Washington from the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility.

    According to the Nuclear Weapons and Material Monitor, the NNSA said that approximately $20-$25 million would be spent on start-up activities at the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building, while $20-$30 million would go to purchase additional analytical chemistry equipment for RLUOB. The request was made Sept. 13.

    The trade publication went on to report that another $20-$25 million would go toward relocating analytical chemistry sample management/preparatory capabilities from the existing CMR facility to the lab’s Plutonium Facility (PF-4), and $20-$30 million would be needed to relocate material characterization equipment from CMR to PF-4. In addition, NNSA said it would need $15-$25 million to build a tunnel between PF-4 and the RLUOB.

  • CMRR meetings grind to a halt

    The folks in charge of building the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility are acting like the project will be deferred for five years.

    That may be the case or maybe not.

    The House and Senate Armed Service Committees put funding in for the project for the FY13 budget, but a continuing resolution passed by Congress last week earmarked no funding for the CMRR-NF.

    In fact, Steve Fong of the Los Alamos Site Office who helped run the project said $120 million of the $200 million in funding earmarked for the project has returned to Washington.

    Fong made the statement at a semi-annual public meeting that was required by a settlement agreement brokered by the New Mexico Environment Department between a coalition of six activist groups and the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Fong then announced this would be the final meeting.

    That did not sit to well with some of the activists.

    “We don’t believe these meetings should end,” said Joni Arends from Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety in Santa Fe. “We need to get everybody to the table and have a discussion about this.”

  • LANL fetes R&D award winners -- Video added

    Los Alamos National Laboratory recognized four of its teams that won R&D awards Wednesday night at the Hilltop House Hotel.

    Lab Director Charlie McMillan handed out the awards to the winners. Other teams that were up for awards also were honored.

    These awards honor the top 100 proven technological advances of the year, as selected by a group of R&D Magazine’s chosen judges.

    “Congratulations to this year’s R&D 100 award winners,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.” The research and development at the Department of Energy’s laboratories continues to help the nation meet our energy challenges, strengthen our national security and improve our economic competitiveness.”

    “These awards demonstrate the continued success of Los Alamos researchers and partners in defining the frontiers of innovation across a wide range of national security science,” said LANL Director Charlie McMillan. “This innovation and creativity will drive the solutions to tomorrow’s problems.”

    Here is a brief look at each of the award winners: