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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Christmas Burst reveals neutron star collision

    A strangely powerful, long-lasting gamma-ray burst on Christmas Day, 2010 has finally been analyzed to the satisfaction of a multinational research team.
    Called the Christmas Burst, GRB 101225A was freakishly lengthy and it produced radiation at unusually varying wavelengths.
    But by matching the data with a model developed in 1998, the team was able to characterize the star explosion as a neutron star spiraling into the heart of its companion star.
    The paper, “The unusual gamma-ray burst GRB 101225A from a helium star/neutron star merger at redshift 0.33,” appears in Friday’s issue of the journal Nature.  

  • NNSA continues aerial survey

    The National Nuclear Security Administration plans this week to complete the high-fidelity aerial survey of Los Alamos town site begun Nov. 21.

    Mechanical issues with the helicopter conducting the survey temporarily halted the flyover before the survey was finished.

    NNSA arranged for the Remote Sensing Laboratory/National Aerial Measuring System (RSL) of Las Vegas, Nev., to conduct the flyover following a similar survey of lab property after the Las Conchas fire.  

    The objective is to ensure that any and all legacy radiological contamination sites have been identified and effectively cleaned up.  

  • LANL scrutinizes costs, spending

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan has announced a plan to establish the Laboratory Integrated Stewardship Council (LISC) in response to the uncertainties of operating in FY12 under a Continuing Resolution through Dec. 16.

    “This leaves us in a financial position that is filled with uncertainty, since the timeframe for a completed budget is unknown,” McMillan said in an organization-wide memo. “While we have already implemented a number of cost savings measures at the laboratory, we must do more given the financial uncertainty facing us.”

    Will there be layoffs at the lab?

  • 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.