.....Advertisement.....
.....Advertisement.....

Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • NNSA announces $25M grant for nonproliferation

    The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) Office of Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development today announced the award of a $25 million grant to a North Carolina State University-led consortium for research and development (R&D) in enabling capabilities for nonproliferation. This sizeable, long-term investment will support the consortium at $5 million per year for five years. The grant is in response to a funding opportunity announcement issued in May 2013.
    This grant will provide the U.S. government with cutting edge research and development to identify and address multi-disciplinary and cross-functional technology and research needs that are critical to detecting foreign nuclear weapon proliferation activities.
    Specifically, the research projects pursued by the consortium will include technologies to enhance simulation capabilities, algorithms and modeling; new test and evaluation models for detection sensors; new remote sensing capabilities; and applications of data analytics and data fusion to better characterize and detect special nuclear materials.

  • McMillan addresses pit production report

    Los Alamos National Laboratory director Charlie McMillan was in Washington last week to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.
    McMillan provided an update on recent Los Alamos technical and scientific achievements; the proposed plutonium strategy under evaluation in numerous national security circles; and, Los Alamos budget realities that pose challenges to meeting mission requirements.
    The following came from the Senate website and this was McMillan’s written testimony to the subcommittee.
    In his testimony, McMillan addressed a recent Pit Production report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which was written by Jonathan Medalia.
    Medalia received the help of Brett Kniss, Drew Kornreich, and Amy Wong, of Los Alamos National Laboratory, and Greg Mello and Trish Williams-Mello of Los Alamos Study Group in drafting the report.
     “Many of the ideas in the report were originally contemplated by lab staff as they began to look at alternatives to CMRR‐NF,” McMillan said. “While the report is comprehensive, it fails to recognize many of the risks and challenges certain options would face.”

  • Klotz sworn in as NNSA chief

    Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz swore in Frank G. Klotz as the Department of Energy’s Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and NNSA Administrator in a private ceremony Thursday afternoon.
    General Klotz was joined by his wife, Nancy, and Acting Administrator Bruce Held.
    “I am very pleased that General Klotz has now been sworn in as the fourth Undersecretary of Nuclear Security and Administrator for the National Nuclear Security Admiration,” said Moniz. “With his years of service to our country, his vision for NNSA’s nuclear security programs, and his dedication to supporting the men and women of the organization, I am confident General Klotz will bring strong leadership and management to this critical Department of Energy mission. I look forward to working closely with Frank in support of the President’s nuclear security priorities.”
    “The nuclear security enterprise has responsibility for an enduring and critically important national security mission,” Klotz said. “The United States is committed to maintaining a safe, secure and effective nuclear arsenal, as long as nuclear weapons exist. Our nation is also committed to leading international efforts to limit and reduce nuclear arsenals, prevent nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism, and secure nuclear materials across the globe.

  • Supercomputing challenge set for Monday

    More than 250 New Mexico students and their teachers will be at Los Alamos National Laboratory Monday and Tuesday for the 24th annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge expo and awards ceremony.
    “The goal of the year-long competition is to increase knowledge of science and computing, expose students and teachers to computers and applied mathematics, and instill enthusiasm for science in middle- and high-school students, their families and communities,” said David Kratzer of the laboratory’s High Performance Computer Systems group and LANL’s coordinator of the Supercomputing Challenge.
    About 70 teams of students from elementary, middle, and high school are expected at the event.
    While at the laboratory, students will present their projects and take part in tours, talks and demonstrations with laboratory scientists.
    Student projects will be recognized during an awards ceremony from 9 a.m. to noon, April 22 at the Church of Christ Auditorium, 2323 Diamond Drive in Los Alamos.
    More than $40,000 in scholarships will be awarded to student participants, along with many plaques and cash awards.
    The Challenge is project-based learning geared to teaching a wide range of skills: research, writing, teamwork, time management, oral presentations and computer programming.

  • Plutonium strategy comes to forefront

    Los Alamos National Laboratory director Charlie McMillan was in Washington last week to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.
    McMillan provided an update on recent Los Alamos technical and scientific achievements; the proposed plutonium strategy under evaluation in numerous national security circles; and, Los Alamos budget realities that pose challenges to meeting our mission requirements.
    The following came from the Senate website and this was McMillan’s written testimony to the subcommittee.
    After citing the lab’s accomplishments in the past year, McMillan turned his attention to an alternative plutonium strategy.
    McMillan reminded the subcommittee that he had outlined the structure of an alternative strategy after it was determined the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement‐Nuclear Facility (CMRR‐NF) would be scrapped for the time being.
    “Over the past year, we have worked hard to turn these ideas into a plan,” McMillan said. “The strategy proposes a three‐phased approach. The phased approach is designed to manage both safety and programmatic risk in the near, mid- and longer-term timeframe and to address risks in the timeworn Chemistry and Metallurgy Research (CMR) Facility and Plutonium Facility (PF‐4) respectively.

  • BioScience Lab opens at Santa Fe Business Incubator

    The Santa Fe Business Incubator unveiled its new BioScience Lab on Tuesday to a crowd of dignitaries that included Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rep. Ben Ray Luján, (D-N.M.).
    “What’s happening now with the Santa Fe Incubator and the BioScience Lab is a shot of growth, a new opportunity, where it’s not just experts and researchers and entrepreneurs here from Santa Fe, here from New Mexico,” Luján said.
    “It’s from the surrounding states, from cities that aren’t so close to us, that are looking to come here because of the investment that the Business Incubator has made with the support of the Department of Commerce and the Economic Development Administration, an investment in technology that’s not readily available to everyone else.”
    The BioScience Lab is a state-of-the-art cell biology and molecular biology facility designed to encourage, attract and support life science companies in the biotech sector. The lab’s specialized equipment includes bio-safety cabinets, ultra low temperature freezers, an ultracentrifuge, inverted fluorescence microscope and a real-time PCR system.
    Companies will be able to access the facility on a short-term basis, eliminating the need to invest startup capital in expensive equipment.

  • McMillan talks lab in D.C.

    Los Alamos National Laboratory director Charlie McMillan was in Washington last week to testify before the Senate Armed Services Committee Subcommittee on Strategic Forces.
    McMillan provided an update on recent Los Alamos technical and scientific achievements; the proposed plutonium strategy under evaluation in numerous national security circles; and, Los Alamos budget realities that pose challenges to meeting our mission requirements.
    The following came from the Senate website and this was McMillan’s written testimony to the subcommittee.
    McMillan first talked about the lab’s accomplishments in the past year.
    “In regard to our weapons program, we again completed, on time, my letter to the Secretaries of Energy and Defense regarding the 2013 Annual Assessment. We successfully conducted two B61 hydrodynamic shots, which were executed as planned and within committed budget levels,” McMillan wrote.
    “Los Alamos executed the important subcritical experimental series, Gemini, and I am pleased that the FY15 request recognizes this success by including an increase for the Los Alamos subcritical experiments at Nevada.”

  • NNSA completes wind tunnel test for nuclear bomb

    The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced Monday that its Sandia National Laboratories successfully completed the first full-scale wind tunnel test of the B61‑12 as part of the NNSA’s ongoing effort to refurbish the B61 nuclear bomb. The purpose of this test was to characterize counter torque, the interaction between the spin rocket motor plumes and tail fins, across the B61-12 flight envelope.
    “As long as the United States continues to have nuclear weapons, we must ensure that they remain safe, secure and effective without the use of underground testing,” said NNSA Deputy Administrator for Defense Programs Don Cook. “This wind tunnel test helps to understand the B61-12 flight characteristics in preparation for our first three full-scale development drop tests with the Air Force at the Tonapah Test Range in 2015.”
    Sandia conducted the test in a transonic wind tunnel at Arnold Engineering Development Center in partnership with Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC), and Boeing, St. Charles (Tailkit manufacturer). The test facility simulated numerous flight environments and the B61-12 spin rocket motors. Early review of the results suggests that the data from this test will allow for successful characterization of counter torque across the B61-12 flight envelope. 

  • World's largest single crystal of gold verified at LANL

     When geologist John Rakovan needed better tools to investigate whether a dazzling 217.78-gram piece of gold was in fact the world’s largest single-crystal specimen — a distinguishing factor that would not only drastically increase its market value but also provide a unique research opportunity — he traveled to Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Lujan Neutron Scattering Center to peer deep inside the mineral using neutron diffractometry. Neutrons, different from other probes such as X-rays and electrons, are able to penetrate many centimeters deep into most materials.
    “The structure or atomic arrangement of gold crystals of this size has never been studied before, and we have a unique opportunity to do so,” the Miami University professor said.
    Revealing the inner structure of a crystal without destroying the sample—imperative, as this one is worth an estimated $1.5 million—would allow Rakovan and Lujan Center collaborators to prove that this exquisite nugget, which seemed almost too perfect and too big to be real, was a single crystal and hence a creation of nature. Its owner, who lives in the United States, provided the samples to Rakovan to assess the crystallinity of four specimens, all of which had been found decades ago in Venezuela.

  • Klotz confirmed as NNSA administrator

    Lieutenant General Frank G. Klotz, United States Air Force (Ret), was confirmed by the Senate this week, as the Department of Energy’s Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA).
    “Lieutenant General Klotz’s confirmation comes at a critical point for the National Nuclear Security Administration,” said Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz. “His breadth of military and national security leadership experience makes him uniquely suited to lead the NNSA, fulfilling its commitments to the management and security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation, naval reactor programs, and nuclear and radiological emergency preparedness efforts. I thank the Senate for their attention to Lieutenant General Klotz’s nomination, and I look forward to working with him. I also thank Acting Administrator Bruce Held for his outstanding leadership of NNSA as Acting Administrator.”
    As Under Secretary for Nuclear Security, Lt. Gen. Klotz is responsible for the management and operation of the NNSA, as well as policy matters across the Department of Energy and NNSA enterprise in support of President Barack Obama’s nuclear security agenda. Acting Administrator Held will return to his position as Associate Deputy Secretary.