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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Storm water monitoring

    Erin English (right) and two others check out posters at the LANL stormwater permit meeting Thursday night in Pojoaque. English, who works for Biohabitats in Santa Fe, was one of five speakers at the event. She talked about green infrastructure and low impact development. For more on the meeting, check out next week’s Los Alamos Monitor.

  • Molecules exhibit switch ‘handedness’ at speed of light

    A multi-institutional team of researchers including scientists with Los Alamos National Laboratory (of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration) has created the first artificial molecules whose chirality can be rapidly switched from a right-handed to a left-handed orientation with a beam of light on them.
    Switchable molecules hold possibilities for the application of terahertz technologies across a wide range of fields, including biomedical research, homeland security and ultrahigh-speed communications.

  • New research contract links LANL and robotics firm

    Miniature robots are about to get an intelligence boost from a new partnership, linking Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and ReconRobotics, Inc.

    Representatives from the two organizations announced today that they have signed a cooperative research and development agreement to “identify, evaluate and develop a range of mutually beneficial technologies,” efforts that will assist LANL in its mission-related activities for the U.S. Department of Energy and create value for ReconRobotics shareholders. Among the areas of research are systems related to sensing technologies, communications and autonomy.

  • Activist to begin hunger strike

    Peace activist Alaric Balibrera of Santa Fe expects to begin a hunger strike on Monday. July 16 is the anniversary of the first atomic bomb test in 1945 at the Trinity Site.

    Balibrera says his hunger strike is intended as a call for the transformation of the scientific work at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), a transformation from being injurious to humanity to being constructive.

    Before Balibrera begins his strike, he plans to speak with New Mexico Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and LANL Director Charles McMillan.

    Lab spokesman Fred DeSousa said that he was unaware that Balibrera had tried to contact McMillan.

  • Radiation risk underestimated

    Much has been made in the past year on the speculation of how a major earthquake would affect Los Alamos and especially the Plutonium Facility (PF-4).

    The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board weighed in on one of those scenarios recently. And the news was not good.

    Apparently, the Los Alamos National Laboratory has underestimated the amount of radiation that could leak from the facility as a result of an earthquake, according to the DNFSB.

    This is the first paragraph of a letter from DNFSB addressed to NNSA administrator Thomas D’Agostino, dated June 18.

  • LANL scientist to give talk on cryptography

    Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Richard Hughes discusses the basics of cryptography and quantum physics and the ways LANL researchers use them to address security challenges in an increasingly networked world at Frontiers in Science series talk at 7 p.m., today in the Museum of Natural History and Science, 1801 Mountain Road N.W., Albuquerque.
     “Anyone who uses a credit card, computer or smartphone relies on cryptography,” said Hughes, of LANL’s Applied Modern Physics Group. “The story of cryptography is a centuries-long struggle between code makers and code breakers, but the new technology of quantum cryptography is poised to tip the scales in favor of the code makers by harnessing the quantum properties of light,” he said.

  • World record set for neutron beam at LANL

    Using a one-of-a-kind laser system at Los Alamos National Laboratory, scientists have created the largest neutron beam ever made by a short-pulse laser, breaking a world record. Neutron beams are usually made with particle accelerators or nuclear reactors and are commonly used in a wide variety of scientific research, particularly in advanced materials science.

    Using the TRIDENT laser, a unique and powerful 200 trillion-watt short-pulse laser, scientists from Los Alamos, the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, and Sandia National Laboratories focus high-intensity light on an ultra-thin plastic sheet infused with an isotope of hydrogen called deuterium.

  • U.S. releases updated plutonium inventory report

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the public release of a report that details the current plutonium inventory of the U.S.

    Titled the United States Plutonium Balance, 1944-2009, the document serves as an update to Plutonium: the First 50 Years, which was first released by the Department of Energy (DOE) in 1996.

    The report provides the U.S. inventory of plutonium owned by DOE and includes material in the possession of the Department of Defense (DoD). It can be found online at nnsa.energy.gov/plutoniuminventory.

    As an update to the report released in 1996, the current document provides data on the plutonium inventory through 2009.

  • House seeks GAO review

    Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested this week that the Government Accountability Office evaluate the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s efforts to upgrade radioactive waste management capabilities, critical to maintaining its nuclear weapons stockpile.

    In addition, committee leaders requested that the GAO evaluate the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) procedures for evaluating independent contractors charged with operations and management.
    LANL spokesperson Kevin Roark said all questions should be directed to the NNSA.

    Spokesperson Josh McConaha said that NNSA had no comment.

  • Groundbreaking for new fire center

    Marking the one-year anniversary of the Las Conchas Fire — the state’s second largest fire —was the groundbreaking of a new, permanent Interagency Fire Center Tuesday.

    The effort — stemming from coordination among several agencies during last year’s fire — is part of a partnership between the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Bandelier National Monument, and Santa Fe National Forest.

    The 6,400 sq. ft. building will be located at Technical Area 49, and will accommodate up to three helicopters and other equipment used for firefighting activities.

    The project is expected to be complete by next spring.