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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • 'Manhattan' to begin shooting in Santa Fe

    A new television series set against the backdrop of the U.S. government’s top-secret effort to develop the world’s first atomic bomb in Los Alamos will begin production in New Mexico later this month, state officials announced Wednesday.
    The drama “Manhattan” will follow a group of scientists and their families as they attempt to navigate a world of secrets and lies. The cast includes John Benjamin Hickey as the professor charged with leading the Manhattan Project and Daniel Stern as a mentor to young scientists who knows how to wade through politics.
    “I’m excited that this series will highlight New Mexico’s celebrated history and our amazing, picturesque landscapes. I can’t wait to watch it,” Gov. Susana Martinez said in a statement.
    The U.S. government’s $2.2 billion Manhattan Project operated from December 1942 until September 1945 at a remote installation in northern New Mexico, which later became home to Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    At its peak, the project employed 130,000 workers, but it was kept largely secret and out of public view. It resulted in scientific and technological advancements that ushered in the atomic age.

  • Union awaits info on WIPP leak

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A union representing some 200 workers at the nation’s only underground nuclear waste dump said Tuesday its wants to be sure employees are safe when the repository reopens after a radiation leak that exposed at least 13 people.
    The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad has been off-limits to most workers for nearly three weeks. Only essential workers have been called to duty and others have been using the down time to keep current with regular training requirements at an off-site training center, said officials from United Steelworkers of America.
    Union officials said they’re waiting for more information from the U.S. Department of Energy and Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC, the contractor that runs the repository.
    “What we’re trying to understand is what happened, where this contamination came from and then understand how to correct this problem and make certain that something similar is not going to happen again,” said Jim Frederick, assistant director of the union’s health, safety and environment department.
    Some of the 13 workers who were exposed during the Feb. 14 night shift were union members. Another 140 employees showed up for work the following day, and union officials say if there’s any doubt about whether they were exposed, more tests should be done.

  • Wide use of flexible metallic glass coming your way

    What do some high-end golf clubs and your living room window have in common? The answer is glass, but in the golf clubs’ case it’s a specialized glass product, called metallic glass, with the ability to be bent considerably and spring back into its original form. Your windows, as you know, aren’t quite as forgiving of a sudden impact, and they shatter ­— they are brittle, as opposed to ductile, or more flexible products.
    For the golf clubs, however, a new generation of flexible metallic glass puts more bounce back into a golf ball, from the metallic glass’ high elasticity. They’re not unbreakable, but close. And scientists are working toward even stronger and more elastic glass types which would fail in a ductile fashion instead of shattering.
    “In glass, localized plastic deformation usually leads to immediate failure,” said Seth Imhoff, a Los Alamos National Laboratory materials scientist.
     “Normally, metal alloys freeze into a collection of crystals in which the atoms line up into very specific patterns. In specially designed metal alloys an amorphous, or random atom arrangement, can be retained in the solid, which can allow us to tailor a wide range of properties such as the ability to be bent severely and spring back into place.”

  • State sets deadline for handling nuke waste

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — The federal government’s only underground nuclear waste dump remained shuttered Monday and state environment officials said they have set deadlines for the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor to deal with radioactive waste left above ground at the repository.
    Dozens of drums and other special containers that have been shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant from federal facilities around the country are being stored in a parking area at the plant and inside the facility’s waste handling building.
    From there, the waste is usually taken to its final resting place deep in underground salt beds. However, the repository has been closed since early February due to back-to-back accidents, including a radiation release that exposed at least 13 workers and set off air monitoring devices around the plant.
    Under its permit with the state, the dump can keep waste stored in the parking area for only 30 days and up to 60 days in the handling building. Due to the closure, the state is extending those deadlines to 60 days and 105 days, respectively. The federal government would have to develop an alternative storage plan if the underground dump remains off-limits for more than three months.

  • Report details pit options

    Apparently, Jonathan Medalia’s lecture at the Nuclear Deterrence Summit in Washington two weeks ago was just the appetizer.
    This week, the Los Alamos Monitor obtained a 90-page report, titled U.S. Nuclear Weapon Pit Production Options for Congress, written by Medalia, a specialist in Nuclear Weapons Policy for the Congressional Research Service in Washington.
    Front and center in the report is the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    First a little history — until 1989, the Rocky Flats Plant in Colorado mass-produced plutonium pits and since then the United States has made at most 11 pits per year.
    The report said, “U.S. policy is to maintain existing nuclear weapons. To do this, the Department of Defense states that it needs the Department of Energy (DOE), which maintains U.S. nuclear weapons, to produce 50-80 ppy by 2030.
    “While some argue that few if any new pits are needed, at least for decades, this report focuses on options to reach 80 ppy. Pit production involves precisely forming plutonium — a hazardous, radioactive, physically quirky metal. Production requires supporting tasks, such as analytical chemistry (AC), which monitors the chemical composition of plutonium in each pit.”

  • Fourteen receive LANL Foundation scholarships

    Fourteen Northern New Mexicans have received $1,000 Returning Student/Regional College scholarships from the Los Alamos National Laboratory Employees’ Scholarship Fund.
    These awards help students returning to a formal education for certification or a two-year degree at an accredited regional college. Many of the students receiving these awards are pursuing new careers.
    Funding comes from donations by LANL employees and a matching amount from Los Alamos National Security, LLC. The scholarships are administered by the LANL Foundation.
    Awards go to:
    • Catrina Garcia, Santa Fe, to pursue an Associate of Science degree in nursing from Santa Fe Community College.
    • Jessica Garcia, Española, who is a Licensed Practical Nurse, to pursue a nursing degree at Northern New Mexico College.
    • Ross Griego, Chimayo, who is returning to school after military service and 20 years working with a nonprofit, to pursue an Associate of Arts degree from Northern.
    • Leigh Ann Grow, Los Alamos, is a special education aide in the Los Alamos schools and is pursuing a teaching certificate at SFCC. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry from the University of Idaho.

  • LANS selects CSNI for telecommunications support

    CNSI last week announced it has been selected by Los Alamos National Security LLC (LANS) to continue its work providing telecommunications support and related services at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
    LANS has managed operations at the laboratory since 2006 and CNSI was selected in 2008 to support telecommunications at the laboratory. As part of the service contract, CNSI supports the laboratory’s efforts to utilize the latest technology in its communications system, with special emphasis toward a LANL-wide conversion to Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology. Recently, CNSI was awarded a new 3 year contract with 1 base year and 2 additional option years to continue the telecommunications support.
    As part of the telecommunication support to LANS, CNSI has operated LANL’s switching offices, maintained hundreds of miles of transmission and distribution facilities and provided comprehensive customer support to one of the Department of Energy’s largest and most significant science and technology institutions.

  • Steinhaus to speak in ABQ

    As a former teacher and educational administrator, Community Programs Office Director Kurt Steinhaus is passionate about education.
     Steinhaus manages the Community Commitment Plan, which details how the Laboratory and Los Alamos National Security, LLC, implement educational investment initiatives by Los Alamos in Northern New Mexico.
    Steinhaus provides his perspective on what schools, teachers, administrators, parents and communities can do singly and collectively to improve education in New Mexico’s and the nation’s schools during a TEDxABQED talk Friday.
     TEDxABQED is from 1 to 5 p.m. in the African American Performing Arts Center, 310 San Pedro N.E., in Albuquerque.
    Friday’s TEDxABQED talk is sold out, however it can be watched on a livestream.
    “Teachers have told us that the Math and Science Academy has changed their teaching careers and given them a renewed energy to teach math and science,” said Steinhaus. “Collectively we’re making a difference for teachers and students in Northern New Mexico.” 

  • LANL to co-sponsor youth conference

    Approximately 150 Northern New Mexico girls will get hands-on experience learning about science and math at the 35th annual Expanding Your Horizons conference from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 6 at the Santa Fe Community Convention Center.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory partners with New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering, Los Alamos Women in Science, Los Alamos National Security, LLC, and the LANL Foundation on EYH to increase awareness of and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities and careers.
    “Science outreach has always been important to me,” said Jan Frigo of the Laboratory’s Space Data Systems Group, chair of this year’s EYH. “Expanding Your Horizons participants participate in hands-on workshops, browse a career fair and interact with many female role models in STEM careers.”
    Early registration for the conference has ended, but a waiting list has been created to accommodate additional students as space is available.
    Questions?
    Contact Susan Coulter at 667-8425 or write to eyh14_planning@lanl.gov.
     

  • Sandia lab releases economic impact report

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — Sandia National Laboratories says it spent about $975 million dollars on goods and services during the last fiscal year, and more than 40 percent of that went to New Mexico businesses.
    The federal lab released its annual economic impact report Monday.
    One of Sandia’s managers, Don Devoti, says 2013 was a challenging year for the national economy and for small businesses in New Mexico. Still, he says Sandia’s spending was up $79 million.
    Lab officials say models suggest the effect Sandia has on New Mexico’s economy could be about three times the total amount it spends on purchases and salaries.