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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Controversial ‘icon’ takes in DOE meeting

    Just before the public comment session of Thursday night’s public scoping meeting to discuss the Department of Energy’s Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, the crowd grew noticeably larger at the Cities of Gold Hotel conference room.

    At that point, it was pretty clear this was not going to be an ordinary public comment session.

    A group of about 20 members representing the Citizens of the American Constitution for Nuclear Non-Proliferation entered the room. That wasn’t all.

  • Review cites issues with CMR fire suppression system

    The Office of Enforcement and Oversight conducted an independent review of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Chemistry and Metallurgy Research (CMR) Facility fire suppression system (FSS) safety system last July.

    And the results were just recently released.

    “The DOE-HS and NNSA LASO review of the CMR fire suppression system was part of DOE’s normal processes to maintain operational awareness of the status of important safety systems, communicate identified issues, and ensure continuous improvement.  This assessment and improvement process increases DOE, NNSA, and LANS confidence that safety-credited systems will function upon demand in the event of an accident,” said Chuck Keilers, LASO Assistant Manager for Safety Operations.

  • IBEX probe glimpses Interstellar Neighborhood

    Space scientists, including researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, have described the first detailed analyses of captured interstellar neutral atoms—raw material for the formation of new stars, planets and even human beings.

    The information was presented in Washington, D.C., at a press conference sponsored by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

    Researchers presented data from the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), which directly sampled material carried from outside our solar system across the galaxy by solar and stellar winds. Full details of the research comprise a six-paper special section in the February edition of Astrophysical Journal Supplements.

  • CMRR funding in limbo

    What’s next for the future of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility in the next fiscal year is just about anybody’s guess.

    Last week, an article in the Nuclear Weapons and Materials Monitor, said Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) officials are bracing for a “massive cut” to the proposed CMRR facility.

    “We’re not expecting funding for CMRR (in FY2013),” a LANL manager told the trade publication.  “Right now, we’re planning to go without.”

    In FY 12, the project did receive $200 million in funding but the final Congressional report said that no construction activities were funded.

  • LANL honors four for leadership, research

    Achievements in scientific research and leadership are being honored at Los Alamos National Laboratory this week.
    Laboratory Director Charles McMillan and the Laboratory’s Fellows organization have awarded the 2011 Fellows Prize for Leadership in Science or Engineering to scientists John Gordon of LANL’s Inorganic Isotope & Actinide Chemistry group and Geoffrey Reeves of the Lab’s Space Science & Applications group.
    “This year’s Fellows Prize winners embody the excellence of the science that is so vital to completing our national security missions,” McMillan said. “I congratulate each of the four winners and salute their creativity and innovation.”

  • DOE to Transfer Tracts to County

    The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration issued an amended Record of Decision (ROD) to the Environmental Impact Statement for the conveyance and transfer of certain land tracts to Los Alamos County.

    The tracts include the remaining acreage of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Technical Area 21 (about 245 acres) and the remaining acreage of the Airport Tract (about 55 acres).

    In the ROD, NNSA administrator Thomas D’Agostino wrote that DOE/NNSA has determined that it is no longer necessary to retain these lands and will make them available for conveyance and transfer.

  • NNSA announces quarterly awards

    The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) Defense Programs today announced the recipients of the Defense Programs’ Employee of the Quarter Awards.
    And two entities with Los Alamos connections were honored.
    Jesús T. Romero, Los Alamos Site Office, is recognized for leading the site technical efforts to upgrade the Los Alamos National Laboratory Plutonium Facility (PF-4) safety basis and address the post-seismic fire accident scenario in a technically defensible manner.

  • Students build world's first experimental super computer

    Several local high school and undergraduate students including those from Los Alamos spent their summer assembling 2,500 computers at the  New Mexico Consortium to create the world’s largest large-scale, low-level  systems research facility.  Another group of students spent their recent winter break putting the system together.
    The National Science  Foundation-sponsored project, known as PRObE, will provide a highly reconfigurable, remotely accessible and controllable environment that  researchers anywhere in the world can use to perform experiments that are not  possible at a smaller scale.

  • LANL achieves wastewater milestone

    Millions of gallons of industrial wastewater will be recycled at Los  Alamos National Laboratory as the result of a long-term strategy to treat wastewater rather than discharging it into the environment.

    The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, which issues permits for industrial and sanitary wastewater discharges, recently approved the removal of four more outfalls from the Laboratory’s permit. (An outfall is where wastewater from Lab operations is discharged down canyons.)  Only 11 outfalls remain, down from 141 in 1993.

  • POGO: CMRR funding should be slashed

    The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) took a stick to the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement facility in its latest report released this week.

    The main premise of the report is that Congress and the administration should stop funding of the CMRR, which is projected to cost between $3.7 billion and $5.8 billion.

    The report came up with the following recommendations:

    • The administration and DOE should cancel CMRR-NF and zero out funding for the project in the upcoming budget.

    • If the administration and DOE fail to act, Congress should cancel funding for CMRR-NF in its next appropriations bill.