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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Laboratory releases cause of chemical reaction at TA-21

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory confirmed what caused the chemical reaction in a bottle containing liquid drawn for a 60-year-old cylinder at Technical Area 21, which caused lab officials to summon Hazmat and emergency personnel March 14.

    LANL spokesperson Colleen Curran said this week that the chemical that reacted was nickel tetracarbonyl, which was used in a variety of industrial processes.

    According to Websters Dictionary, nickel tetracarbonyl is a volatile flammable poisonous liquid compound Ni(CO)4 obtained by passing carbon monoxide over finely divided nickel and readily decomposed by heating.

  • LANL says it’s ahead of schedule on waste removal

    The TRU Waste Program at Los Alamos National Laboratory is currently two months ahead of schedule processing and repackaging waste stored in large fiberglass-reinforced boxes (FRPs).

    These large boxes pose particular repackaging challenges since they contain many different types of radioactively contaminated equipment and can be up to 30-feet long. The contents must be characterized, then repackaged to meet the criteria of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant or other permanent disposal facilities, before being shipped to those locations.

    Program Manager Michael Romero credits the skill of workers, efficient processing and good planning for the work being so far ahead of schedule.

  • Small businesses selected for environmental work

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has awarded a master task order agreement for up to $250 million to three small businesses with offices in Northern New Mexico.
    The agreement is for services related to the transportation and disposal of hazardous and radioactive waste.
    The companies include ARS Cavanagh Environmental Services, LLC; Portage, Inc. and Navarro Research and Engineering, Inc.
    “Safely handling and transporting waste containers is an important part of our environmental cleanup efforts at Los Alamos,” said Pete Maggiore, assistant manager for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Site Office Environmental Projects Office.

  • NNSA makes progress on PF-4 upgrades

    Periodically, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board in Washington makes a report to Congress.
    The main thrust of the report, released earlier this month, was to discuss the status of significant unresolved issues with the Department of Energy’s design and construction reports.
    On top of the list is the seismic evaluation and upgrade of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Plutonium Facility and the Hanford Site’s Waste Treatment and Immobilization Plant. According to the report, these two projects have the most significant unresolved safety issues.
    According to interagency correspondence between the Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Safety Administration have made some headway in resolving some of these issues.

  • LANL Foundation announces scholarship winners

    Last week, the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation announced the 2012 scholarship recipient awardees.  
    Sixty-eight students were awarded a total of $401,000 in scholarships.  The recipient of the top Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund) $30,000 Platinum award is Scott Carlsten, a Los Alamos High School senior and burgeoning career scientist.

  • 557 take LANL buyout

    Officials were hoping between 400 and 800 employees would take the voluntary separation agreement.
    On Monday, Los Alamos National Laboratory announced that 557 employees will leave the lab as part of a voluntary separation program. The employees come from nearly all lab functions, excluding certain essential areas.
    The last day of work for those employees will be April 5.
    “I would like to thank each and every employee who volunteered for the program,” said LANL Director Charlie McMillan. “Some of them devoted their entire careers to serving the nation during a truly historic time for the country and the lab. They set the example that we will continue to follow.”

  • Coalition issues statement

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities released a statement following its press conference Friday in Santa Fe.
     “Adequate funding is needed to ensure environmental liabilities are addressed. Funding cuts are undermining DOE’s commitment to a safe and timely cleanup. The hazardous materials incident that occurred last week at TA-21 raises serious questions about the challenges that the site faces in remediating legacy waste and reinforces the urgent need to fund cleanup efforts.

  • Coalition: Fully fund lab cleanup

    The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities is calling on Congress to provide full funding to the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s toxic waste clean-up efforts.
    Members of the group recently returned from Washington, D.C., where they met with members of the New Mexico congressional delegation and federal Department of Energy officials to request adequate funding be provided as part of the fiscal year 2013 budget.

  • Lab reaches magnet milestone

    Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s biggest magnet facility Thursday met the grand challenge of producing magnetic fields in excess of 100 tesla, while conducting six different experiments.
    The 100-tesla level is roughly equivalent to two million times Earth’s magnetic field.
    “This is our moon shot, we’ve worked toward this for a decade and a half,” said Chuck Mielke, director of the Pulsed Field Facility at Los Alamos.

  • Details hazy on what triggered Hazmat incident

    More details have begun to emerge after a chemical reaction in a bottle containing liquid drawn from a 60-year-old cylinder at Los Alamos Laboratory’s Technical Area 21 caused lab officials to summon Hazmat personnel last week.

    A laboratory worker took a sample of the gas inside the bottle of liquid; a chemical reaction occurred that caused the material to flare briefly. Neither the worker nor anyone in the area was injured or exposed to hazardous chemicals, but the workers immediately employed standard emergency response procedures and called in the laboratory’s hazmat and emergency response personnel.