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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Worker burned in lab accident

    Los Alamos National Laboratory is starting an investigation into the cause of an electrical accident that injured nine workers Sunday at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center, two of them critically.
    Sunday, during preventive maintenance operations at LANSCE, a LANL employee was burned while working at an electrical substation.
    The employee, who has not been identified, was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque. As of Monday afternoon, the employee was listed in critical but stable condition, although UNM Hospital would release no other information.
    LANL announced Monday afternoon the accident at the TA-53 substation is currently under investigation. LANL said it would likely have a joint investigation board along with the Department of Energy going within the next three days.
    Of the other eight injuries in the incident, seven of those employees were transported to Los Alamos Medical Center, treated and released. The eighth, a 57-year-old male was kept at LAMC for observation. As of Monday, he was listed as being in stable condition.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan said he and the rest of LANL are hoping for a full recovery for the employee severely burned in Sunday’s accident at the LANSCE site.

  • McMillan: 'Sympathy and support' to family of burn victim

    Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan said he and the rest of LANL are hoping for a full recovery for the employee severly burned in Sunday's accident at the LANSCE site.

    "We are deeply concerned about the serious medical condition of the worker who was injured in an electrical accident this Sunday," McMillan said in a news release from LANL. "Nothing is more important at this time than his well-being. On behalf of the entire workforce at Los Alamos, I would like to express our hope for a full recovery and our sympathy to his family at this very difficult and trying time."

    LANL announced Monday afternoon the accident at TA-53 is currently under investigation. LANL said it would likely have a joint investigation borad along with the Department of Energy going within three days.

    On Sunday, nine workers were injured in the electrical accident. Of those, seven were taking to Los Alamos Medical Center for treatment and released.

    One with serious injuries was transported to UNM Hospital in Albuquerque and is in critical but stable condition. The other, a 57-year-old male who has not been named, is in stable condition at Los Alamos Medical Center.
     

  • LANL’s Hoover will be in Washington

    A group of 10 delegates from the New Mexico library community, including one from Los Alamos National Laboratory, will travel to Washington, D.C. this week to attend the American Library Association (ALA) National Library Legislative Day (NLLD).
    The annual event gives representatives from each state the opportunity to meet with their Senators and U.S. Representatives on Capitol Hill to advocate for local and national library issues.
    Among those attending is Carol Hoover, the digital information resources manager at Los Alamos National Laboratory Research Library and chair of the New Mexico Library Foundation Board of Trustees.
    This year’s delegation, the largest ever sent to NLLD from New Mexico, is led by Acting State Librarian and Department of Cultural Affairs Deputy Cabinet Secretary Michael Delello and includes librarians from the New Mexico Municipal League Librarians Association, New Mexico Library Association and New Mexico Library Foundation, as well as public, school and academic librarians.
    The delegation will speak to Congressmen and Senators about various issues important to libraries here in New Mexico such as recent library legislation.

  • Fines from N.M. total $73 million

    The state of New Mexico and the Department of Energy came to terms on a settlement in lieu of a big fine doled out by the state’s Environment Department late last year.
    Thursday, the DOE and the state issued a joint statement saying they had agreed to a $73 million settlement of the state’s claims against the DOE for the department and its contractors actions related to the February 2014 accident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
    The $73 million price tag is considerably more than the fine the NMED initial levied against the DOE, but that money will go toward “mutually beneficial and critical” projects relating to state infrastructure.
    Among those projects, $34 million would go toward improving roads and transportation routes around the WIPP site and another $12 million would go to improve roads around Los Alamos on which transuranic (TRU) waste would be shipped.

  • Hoffman, Zurek are honored by LANL

    Darleane Hoffman and Wojciech Zurek are 2014 Los Alamos Medal recipients, the highest honor bestowed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, LANL’s press office announced Thursday.
    “Darleane Hoffman’s distinguished career and her contributions to nuclear science and actinide chemistry make her a trailblazer and role model for all women in science, while Wojciech Zurek’s world-renowned work in quantum theory has inspired Nobel Laureates and provided a bridge between classical and quantum mechanics,” said LANL Director Charlie McMillan. “Los Alamos does not necessarily award a medal each year, preferring instead to wait to bestow the honor only upon a prestigious subset of nominees who have demonstrated the highest levels of scientific achievement. This year’s recipients are well worth the wait.”
    The Los Alamos Medal was established in 2001 to honor those who have contributed to the laboratory at the highest level. The Los Alamos Medal recognizes individuals who have made a contribution that changed the course of science, a major enhancement of LANL’s ability to accomplish its mission, a significant impact on sustainability and/or established a major direction for the lab and the nation.

  • Hoffman, Zurek are honored by LANL

    Darleane Hoffman and Wojciech Zurek are 2014 Los Alamos Medal recipients, the highest honor bestowed by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, LANL’s press office announced Thursday.
    “Darleane Hoffman’s distinguished career and her contributions to nuclear science and actinide chemistry make her a trailblazer and role model for all women in science, while Wojciech Zurek’s world-renowned work in quantum theory has inspired Nobel Laureates and provided a bridge between classical and quantum mechanics,” said LANL Director Charlie McMillan. “Los Alamos does not necessarily award a medal each year, preferring instead to wait to bestow the honor only upon a prestigious subset of nominees who have demonstrated the highest levels of scientific achievement. This year’s recipients are well worth the wait.”
    The Los Alamos Medal was established in 2001 to honor those who have contributed to the laboratory at the highest level. The Los Alamos Medal recognizes individuals who have made a contribution that changed the course of science, a major enhancement of LANL’s ability to accomplish its mission, a significant impact on sustainability and/or established a major direction for the lab and the nation.

  • Santa Fe students take top prize at Challenge

    Meghan Hill and Katelynn James of Santa Fe’s Monte del Sol Charter Sol took the top prize in the 25th New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge Tuesday at Los Alamos National Laboratory for their research project.
    The title of the winning project was “Using Concentrated Heat Systems to Shock the P53 Protein to Direct Cancer into Apoptosis.”
    Their project, which posited that using nanotechnology robots can kill cancer cells without damaging healthy cells, also won several other awards in the challenge.
    “The goal of the yearlong event is to teach student teams how to use powerful computers to analyze, model and solve real-world problems,” said David Kratzer of Los Alamos’ High Performance Computer Systems group, and executive director of the Supercomputing Challenge.
    “Participating students improve their understanding of technology by developing skills in scientific inquiry, modeling, computing, communications and teamwork.”
    The Albuquerque Academy trio of Carl Cherne, Mark Swiler and Jason Watlington took second place for their research, “Popuation Fluctuation in Ecosystems,” which studied interactions between organisms and answers the question of how wild animal populations fluctuate.

  • Computer challenge returns Monday

    More than 200 New Mexico students and their teachers are expected for Los Alamos National Laboratory’s for the 25th annual New Mexico Supercomputing Challenge expo and awards ceremony.
    “One of the goals of the year-long competition is to teach student teams how to use powerful computers to analyze, model and solve real-world problems,” said David Kratzer of LANL’s High Performance Computer Systems group, LANL’s coordinator of the Supercomputing Challenge. “Participating students improve their understanding of technology by developing skills in scientific inquiry, modeling, computing, communications and teamwork, and have fun doing it.”
    The challenge is project-based learning geared to teaching a wide range of skills, such as research, writing, teamwork, time management, oral presentations and computer programming.
    Any New Mexico middle-school or high-school student is eligible to enter.
    While at LANL, students will present their projects and take part in tours, talks, and demonstrations with scientists.
    Student projects will be recognized during an awards ceremony Tuesday from 9 a.m.-noon at the Church of Christ Auditorium, 2323 Diamond Drive in Los Alamos. More than $20,000 in scholarships will be awarded to student participants, along with many plaques and cash awards.

  • Report: Safety lapses, management at fault in WIPP leak

    ALBUQUERQUE (AP) — A radiation leak that forced the indefinite closure of the federal government's only underground nuclear waste repository could have been prevented, a team of investigators said Thursday.

    A combination of poor management, lapses in safety and a lack of proper procedures were outlined in a final report released by the U.S. Department of Energy's Accident Investigation Board. Officials planned to review the findings Thursday night during a community meeting in Carlsbad.

    The investigators spent more than a year looking into the cause of the radiation release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico.

    Like a separate team of technical experts, they too found that a chemical reaction inside a drum of waste that had been packaged at Los Alamos National Laboratory forced the lid open, allowing radiation to escape. The contents included nitrate salt residues and organic cat litter that was used to soak up moisture in the waste.

  • DOE issues WIPP report

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) released the Accident Investigation Board (AIB) Phase II Report related to the Feb. 14, 2014, radiological event at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.
    The AIB completed an exhaustive investigation at WIPP and Los Alamos National Laboratory to examine the cause of the radiological release at WIPP and identify managerial controls and safety measures necessary to prevent or minimize the probability or severity of a recurrence of this type of accident. Based on post-event chemical, radiological, and fire forensic analyses, the AIB concluded that the release was caused by an exothermic reaction involving the mixture of organic materials and nitrate salts in one drum that was processed at LANL in December 2013. The Board also concluded that an underground salt haul truck fire that occurred at WIPP on Feb. 5, 2014, did not cause or contribute to the radiological release event. The AIB’s findings identify shortcomings within both contractor and federal processes at LANL, WIPP, EM, and the National Nuclear Security Administration.