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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Lab gets 80 percent of possible fee

    Los Alamos National Lab Director Charlie McMillan sent out a memo to employees Friday that detailed the National Nuclear Security Administration’s evaluation of the lab.

    According to the memo obtained by the Los Alamos Monitor, McMillan, who said the lab worked through a $400 million shortfall, told employees the lab scored 80 percent and the Los Alamos National Security, LLC, was awarded another year on its contract.

    Out of a possible total of $74.5 million, NNSA awarded LANS a combined total of $59.6 million in fees for executing more than $2.2 billion in work for the nation in FY 2012.

    “To be sure, our performance evaluation is only one measure of our success,” McMillan wrote. “I have always maintained that if we do the right thing for our customers and the nation, the award term and fee will take care of themselves.

    “They are, however, a documented evaluation of how the government values our work. This year, we have very plain evidence of how issues in safety or project execution can overshadow a very successful year when measured in other ways.”

    McMillan said the extra year awarded was significant.

  • Program has waiting list

    Even with support from the LANL Foundation and New Mexico Children Youth and Families Department, the Los Alamos First Born® program has 11 parents on its waiting list. The local program has launched a campaign to raise $20,000 by March.

    Contributions can be made to the Los Alamos Medical Center Auxiliary, attention First Born®, 3917 West Road, Los Alamos, 87544. For more information, contact director Patty Worth at 661-9224.

     

  • APS awards fellowships to LANL scientists

    Ten scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are being inducted into the ranks of fellowship in the American Physical Society for 2012.

    The criterion for election as an APS Fellow involves exceptional contributions to the physics enterprise; such as performing outstanding physics research, important applications of physics, leadership in or service to physics, or significant contributions to physics education.

    Fellowship is an honor signifying recognition by professional peers. APS represents more than 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories and industry in the United States and throughout the world.

    “In our fields, the respect of one’s peers is a most valuable reward,” Los Alamos Director Charlie McMillan said. “I congratulate this year’s inductees. They again show the depth of talent here at the laboratory and we’re proud to call them colleagues.”

  • D’Agostino leaves post at NNSA

    The National Nuclear Security Admninistration has confirmed that administrator Thom D’Agostino will be leaving his post Jan. 18.

    D’Agostino said NNSA Principal Deputy Administrator Neile Miller will become acting administrator and acting undersecretary for nuclear security.

    D’Agostino is leaving after more than 36 years of federal service, including the last five-and-a-half years as the NNSA administrator and under secretary for Nuclear Security, and two years as deputy administrator for Defense Programs.

    “My wife Beth and I have decided the timing is right for me to leave Federal service,” he said. “This was a difficult decision for me as I am committed to serving our country, committed to the missions of the NNSA, the Environmental Management Organization, the Office of Legacy Management and I am committed to you in carrying out this mission.  

    “However, I have an equally important commitment to my wife and family and I am a strong believer that organizations are healthier when leadership changes on a periodic basis. The time is right for this change and I will step down from this position on 18 January 2013, at the end of the first term of the Obama administration.”

  • Track Santa Claus Monday

    Los Alamos trackers will use state-of-the-art technology to mark the course taken this year by Santa Claus and his eight tiny reindeer during the jolly elf’s annual mission to spread joy to all the children of the world. Visit LAMonitor.com beginning at 6 a.m. Monday to see St. Nick’s whirlwind journey.

    Dec. 21 marks the Winter Solstice in the northern hemisphere and also the eve of the completion of the 13th b’ak’tun on the Mayan calendar. Despite some rumors to the contrary that are being spread by very naughty children, Santa Claus takes to the skies above the North Pole again this year on Christmas Eve, bringing joy to all those who believe in the spirit of Christmas.

    “We expect Santa and his team to arrive in Northern New Mexico about midnight on Christmas Eve,” said Los Alamos space scientist Diane Roussel-Dupré of the lab’s Space Data Systems group.

    While Santa’s tradition of delivering toys and goodies across the world has endured for countless generations, Los Alamos has helped track Father Christmas for nearly two decades. Working in concert with the North American Aerospace Defense Command and other agencies, Los Alamos has helped ensure Santa’s safe passage across the globe.

  • Spreading cheer

    Some 1,031 holiday gifts from LANL employees are being readied for Northern New Mexico children and seniors. The gifts are being delivered to partner agencies in Northern New Mexico. Some of the partners include: Wings for Hope, Santa Fe; Los Alamos Family Council; Taos Housing Authority; Boys and Girls Club Del Norte; Chimayo and Abiquiu; State Children, Youth and Families Department offices in Española, Las Vegas, Raton and Santa Fe.

  • Congress tries CPR on CMRR

    The Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility may be alive after all, but then again, maybe not.

    Legislators are almost finished debating the defense authorization bill for FY 2013 and the language in the bill would mandate that the federal government construct the controversial facility by 2026.

    The Obama administration and the National Nuclear Security Administration have deferred the project for five years.

    According to Global Security News Wire, the administration has argued that delaying construction of the new CMRR facility by five years would save money without harming nuclear-weapon readiness, but the plan has received mixed reviews on Capitol Hill.

    Some lawmakers sought to proceed on a schedule that would have construction completed by 2024, though a budget resolution Congress approved for the first half of the fiscal year that began on Oct. 1 included no funds for the project.

    On Tuesday, however, a conference committee established to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions of the fiscal 2013 defense authorization legislation released a bill that would establish a legal mandate that the CMRR building be up and running within 14 years.

  • Los Alamos National Lab, NNSA donate $3.1 million

    Los Alamos National Laboratory employees have again demonstrated concern for their communities and those in need by pledging a record $2.13 million to United Way and other eligible nonprofit programs.

    Los Alamos National Security, LLC, which manages and operates the Laboratory for the National Nuclear Security Administration, plans to prorate its $1 million match among the selected nonprofit organizations, bringing the total donation to $3.1 million.

    “I am again touched by the generosity of our employees,” said Los Alamos Director Charlie McMillan. “In a challenging year for the Laboratory, they have come through for Northern New Mexico. It speaks to their pride in where they work and live.”

    “I am truly impressed with the level of participation we achieved during this year’s employee giving campaign. The leadership and dedication across the lab in supporting the campaign along with all the special events, really made a difference,” said Paul Henry, Los Alamos’s principal associate director for Capital Projects and this year’s campaign champion.

    “The employees at the Lab should be very proud of the fact that we achieved 21 percent participation and raised more than $3.1 million.”

  • Research shows nuke weapon pits age gracefully

    New research uncovered by scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reveals that plutonium can age gracefully.

    A story by Arnie Heller in Science and Technology Review gives a synopsis of the history of the research.
    In 1997, the National Nuclear Security Administration launched a comprehensive study at Lawrence Livermore and Los Alamos National Laboratories to examine in detail how plutonium pits age and provide a firmer scientific basis for estimating the service life of these critical weapons components.

    The study’s results, announced in late 2006, showed that the slow degradation of plutonium in U.S. nuclear weapons would not affect warhead reliability for decades.

    Independent research teams at the two laboratories performed extensive mechanical testing and laboratory-based experiments on aged samples of a plutonium-239 allo y—plutonium mixed with a small amount of gallium to stabilize the material in its delta phase at room temperature.

  • LANL hosts nuclear deterrence exercise

    U.S. and South Korean defense and diplomatic experts will conduct a tabletop exercise examining nuclear deterrence on the Korean Peninsula, a Pentagon official told reporters Wednesday.
    Los Alamos National Laboratory is playing host to 40 U.S. and South Korean officials for the extended exercise, which will look at deterrence methods in response to a nuclear threat scenario, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said.
    Lab officials were unavailable for comment on how long the joint exercises will be taking place or who the representatives are from each participating country.
    This is the second exercise of its type. The first was at U.S. Strategic Command in 2011. It is conducted under the auspices of a bilateral committee formed in late 2010 to discuss alliance response in the event of a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula, Little said.
    Exercise participants will look at concepts, crisis decision-making and the requirements of employing extended deterrence assets in response to a nuclear threat scenario, he said.
    “The exercise demonstrates that extended deterrence for the ROK is credible, capable, and enduring, by fostering the joint study of deterrence challenges and by identifying opportunities for cooperation and collaboration,” Little said.