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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Lab names new weapons boss

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan announced the selection of Bret Knapp as the new principal associate director for Weapons Programs Thursday.  Knapp has been acting in that position since June 2011 when McMillan left the post to become laboratory director.

    As the head of LANL’s Weapons Programs, Knapp is responsible for the leadership, development, and execution of the Laboratory’s primary mission: ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The programs have a $1.5 billion annual budget that is split between two directorates with a workforce of more than 1,400.  

  • LANL names new head of weapons programs

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan announced the selection of Bret Knapp as the new principal associate director for Weapons Programs Thursday.  Knapp has been acting in that position since June 2011 when McMillan left the post to become Laboratory director.

    As the head of LANL’s Weapons Programs, Knapp is responsible for the leadership, development, and execution of the Laboratory’s primary mission: ensuring the safety, security, and effectiveness of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. The programs have a $1.5 billion annual budget that is split between two directorates with a workforce of more than 1,400. 

  • Two LANL scientists win E.O. Lawrence Awards

    U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced Monday that Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists Mark Chadwick and David Chavez are winners of 2011 Ernest Orlando Lawrence Awards.

    The award recognizes their outstanding contributions in research and development supporting the Department of Energy and its missions.  Nine winners were named in eight categories.  Winners in each category will receive a gold medal, a citation, and $20,000. Winners will be honored at a ceremony in Washington, DC, early next year. The E.O. Lawrence Award is administered by the Department of Energy's Office of Science.

  • LANL wants more time for cleanup

    Los Alamos National Laboratory is asking the state of New Mexico for more time to meet some mandated cleanup milestones as it faces shifting priorities and uncertainty about its environmental cleanup budget.

    The northern New Mexico lab would be able to speed up the shipment of radioactive waste from lab property to a permanent disposal site if allowed to shift resources to higher priority work, George Rael, head of environmental  management for the federal government’s Los Alamos Site Office told the Albuquerque Journal.

    The changes in lab cleanup priorities come amid discussion among the state, the lab and members of the public regarding the lab’s 2005 agreement on environmental cleanup milestones.

  • Legacy waste lingers amid cleanup efforts

    (Second of a two-part series)

    For more than 65 years, research, development and testing activities related to nuclear arms production have taken place at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    During that time, there have been releases of contaminants to the environment at various locations across the laboratory. In fact, back in the early days, nuclear waste was just thrown into the canyon.

    In 2005, a series of community groups reached agreement with LANL to address investigation and cleanup of legacy contamination.

    Last week, New Mexico Environment Department Secretary David Martin made a presentation concerning the status of the Consent Order, which laid out the timeline for lab cleanup.

  • Second phase of NNSA aerial flyover underway Monday

    The National Nuclear Security Administration has arranged for the Remote Sensing Laboratory/National Aerial Measuring System  (RSL) of Las Vegas, Nev., to provide a high-fidelity aerial survey of the Los Alamos townsite Monday.

    The survey, conducted via helicopter, is to ensure that any and all legacy radiological contamination sites have been identified and effectively cleaned up.  

    Residents may see the helicopter make several passes at about 300 feet above ground over and near the Los Alamos town site to measure for background radiation.

  • Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Visits LANL

    Admiral James A. Winnefield, the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff visited Los Alamos National Laboratory Thursday.  Winnefield is a four star Navy Admiral, and as Vice Chairman is the second highest-ranking U.S. military officer.

    Winnefield was at Los Alamos to receive a wide variety of classified briefings that covered the broad spectrum of national security science at Los Alamos.  The Vice Chairman was briefed by the laboratory’s senior leadership including director Charlie McMillan, and Principal Associate Directors Bret Knapp and Terry Wallace.  The briefings included details of the laboratory’s Nuclear Weapons Program and Global Security portfolio.

  • NMED to lab: No renegotiation of Consent Order

    Discussion about the LANL Consent Order has been rare in a public forum.

    But this morning in Santa Fe, New Mexico Environment Department Secretary David Martin gave a presentation to the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities and he made one thing perfectly clear.

    “NMED is not renegotiating the Consent Order,” Martin said.

    So what is the Consent Order?

    An Order of Consent between the New Mexico Environment Department and Los Alamos National Laboratory was signed on March 1, 2005. The Order provides the timetable and requirements for environmental cleanup of hazardous constituents for the laboratory. Following the schedule of the Order, the clean-up program will be completed by 2015.

  • Researchers unravel mystery of quantum-dot blinking

    Research by Los Alamos scientists published in the journal Nature documents significant progress in understanding the phenomenon of quantum-dot blinking. Their findings should enhance the ability of biologists to track single particles, enable technologists to create novel light-emitting diodes and single-photon sources, and boost efforts of energy researchers to develop new types of highly efficient solar cells.

  • Nuke Safety Board to convene in Santa Fe

    The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board will be in Santa Fe Thursday to conduct a public meeting and discuss seismic safety of the Plutonium Facility at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    The sessions will be from 1-5 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at the Santa Fe Convention Center, 201 Marcy Street.

    The DNFSB is an independent agency in the executive branch of the U.S. government that oversees health and safety issues at defense nuclear facilities at LANL.

    During the first session, the board will receive testimony on National Nuclear Security Administration actions to address Plutonium Facility seismic issues that lead to severe accident scenarios.