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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Mousseau to head LANL program

    Los Alamos National Laboratory announced Tuesday that Jeffrey Mousseau has been hired as the new associate director for Environmental Programs.

    Mousseau currently works as a senior project manager for the laboratory’s transuranic waste disposal program. In his new position, he will oversee this program as well as other key environmental cleanup and monitoring activities.

    “Jeff shares my personal commitment to sustaining the current momentum of waste removal and cleanup that the lab has steadily built over the past five years,” Laboratory Director Charlie McMillan said. “His expertise in this area is outstanding and will be highly valuable as we continue removing waste and cleaning up contamination left over from past activities in Los Alamos.”

    Mousseau succeeds Michael Graham, who left the laboratory in August to oversee commercial and government environmental management work for Bechtel National, Inc.

    Mousseau has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of nuclear waste management, including 20 years at U.S. Department of Energy sites in Idaho and New Mexico.

  • Petition for workers OK'd

    A federal advisory panel has approved a petition that would pave the way for hundreds of sick Los Alamos workers to get compensation and health care.

    U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health approved the petition Tuesday granting what is called “Special Exposure Cohort” status to all LANL workers who developed radiation-related cancers as a result of working at the lab between January 1976 and December 1995.

    SEC status eliminates the need for claimants to undergo the often arduous dose reconstruction process in which the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determines if a cancer is work-related.  This week’s decision has the potential to benefit hundreds of LANL claimants.

    A previous petition covering workers from March 1943 to December 1975 was approved in May of 2007.

    If approved by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Congress, workers who qualify will receive a lump sum payment of $150,000 and health care coverage to treat their illnesses.

    In welcoming the advisory decision Udall credited LANL Security Guard Andrew Evaskovich for submitting the petition and advocating for former and current LANL workers.

  • Panel approves petition for sick Los Alamos workers

    LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — A federal advisory panel has approved a petition that would pave the way for hundreds of sick Los Alamos workers to get compensation and health care.

    U.S. Sen. Tom Udall says the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health approved the petition Tuesday granting what is called "Special Exposure Cohort" status to all LANL workers who developed radiation-related cancers while working at the lab between January 1976 and December 1995.

    A previous petition covering workers from March 1943 to December 1975 was approved in May of 2007.

    If approved by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Congress, workers who qualify will receive a lump sum payment of $150,000 and health care coverage to treat their illnesses.

  • LANL cleanup database upgrade complete

    State environmental officials say they have finished their upgrade to a database that gives the public access to information on clean-up efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    New Mexico Environment Department Secretary David Martin says the new centralized, cloud-based database application called Intellus New Mexico provides the public with greater transparency and more timely access to the environmental data for tracking efforts to clean up toxic waste around the laboratory where the nuclear bomb was developed.
    Officials say validated and verified data will be consistently formatted and automatically updated to the new system every night.
    The database can be accessed at intellusnmdata.com.
    Also, existing permits that govern the storage and treatment of hazardous and mixed waste at Sandia National Laboratories would be combined under a new permit drafted by state environment officials.
    The New Mexico Environment Department will be seeking public comments on the proposal through Nov. 16.
    The proposed permit would allow for the management of hazardous and mixed waste at eight container storage units and one area where explosive wastes could be burned.

  • State improves access to Los Alamos data

    SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — State environmental officials say they have finished their upgrade to a database that gives the public access to information on clean-up efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    New Mexico Environment Department Secretary David Martin says the new centralized, cloud-based database application called Intellus New Mexico provides the public with greater transparency and more timely access to the environmental data for tracking efforts to clean up toxic waste around the laboratory where the nuclear bomb was developed.

    Officials say validated and verified data will be consistently formatted and automatically updated to the new system every night.

    The database can be accessed here.

  • LA researcher named ACS Fellow

    Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Kristin Omberg was named as an American Chemical Society (ACS) Fellow for her contributions to national security as a “technical leader in detecting and mitigating biological threats” and to the ACS community.

    Omberg is the acting division leader of the Decision Applications Division and the laboratory’s project leader for the Department of Homeland Security’s BioWatch Program. BioWatch is a detection system that monitors for potential airborne bioterror attacks.

    Her BioWatch team in the Decision Applications Division provides support for test evaluation, field sampling, event reconstruction and sample management system software. She also has been the principal investigator for research tracking biological agents in the environment.

    Omberg holds a doctorate in chemistry and a doctoral certificate in public policy analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She began her career at LANL in 1995 as a graduate student in the Chemical Science and Technology Division and then became a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Materials Science and Technology Division in 1999. She moved to the Decision Applications Division in 2001.

  • Los Alamos provides HOPE for radiation belt storm probes

    Los Alamos National Laboratory expertise in radiation detection and shielding is poised to help a national team of scientists better understand a mysterious region that can create hazardous space weather near our home planet.

    The Helium Oxygen Proton Electron analyzer is one of a suite of instruments that was successfully launched Thursday as part of the Radiation Belt Storm Probe mission — an effort by NASA and the Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory to gain insight into the sun’s influence on Earth and near-Earth space by studying the planet’s radiation belt.

    The radiation belt — also known as the Van Allen belt in honor of its discoverer, James Van Allen — is a donut-shaped soup of charged particles that surrounds Earth and occupies the inner region of our planet’s magnetosphere.

    The outer region of the belt is comprised of extremely high-energy electrons, a shower of tiny, negatively charged bullets if you will, that can easily pierce the skin of spacecraft and knock out their electrical components.
    Because of these hazards, spacecraft routinely avoid the region.

  • Physicist honored by American Physical Society

    Los Alamos National Laboratory physicist George Kyrala, along with researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, is among a team honored with the American Physical Society’s 2012 John Dawson Award for Excellence in Plasma Physics Research. The team is being recognized for its work on a far-reaching discovery about laser-matter interaction, which has important implications for LLNL’s National Ignition Facility.

    The award is for “predicting and demonstrating the technique of laser scatter on self-generated plasma-optics gratings that enables generation and redirection of high-energy laser beams important for indirect drive inertial confinement fusion and high-power laser-matter interactions.”

    The research has roots in discoveries from the late 1990s, when physicists noted that laser beams crossing each other’s paths in plasma could exchange energy.

    This could potentially degrade the implosion symmetry of targets, a crucial requirement for fusion ignition. This is one of many phenomena known as laser-plasma interaction, in which the plasma created by a laser can interfere with the beam.

  • Numbers grow in lab incident

    The ongoing investigation into the discovery of accidental radiation exposure at the Los Alamos National Laboratory last Saturday has revealed that 18 lab employees were exposed, as well as one contractor.

    Earlier in the week, lab officials reported that about a dozen workers had been subjected to the radiological incident.

    However, officials also stressed no one was harmed, as the incident involved very low levels of radiation from a form of Technetium.

    “This is not the Technetium 99m that is used for medical isotopes. It is still a beta emitter, which occur naturally in the environment,” said Nancy Ambrosiano, public information officer for LANL. “The incident involved approximately the same radiation levels that occur naturally in bricks or stone flooring in the Southwest.”

    Ambrosiano also said “it’s important to note that the highest measured exposure is more than 10 times less than what is allowed by law.”

    The Department of Energy’s Radiological Assistance Program (RAP) teams have also just about completed determining where the contaminated employees went after being exposed to the radiological material.

  • Tauscher gains seat on governing boards

    Norman J. Pattiz, chairman of Lawrence Livermore National Security, LLC (LLNS) and Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS), today announced that the Honorable Ellen O. Tauscher has been named as an independent governor on the LLNS and LANS Boards of Governors.
    The LLCs manage Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in Livermore, Calif. and Los Alamos National Laboratory respectively, for the U.S. Department of Energy. The appointments take effect Sept. 17.
    Tauscher has also been appointed as a member of the LANS/LLNS Boards’ Mission Committee. The Mission Committee serves in an advisory role to review current and future national security issues and laboratory initiatives, capabilities and strategic plans to address these issues.
    “We are very pleased to welcome Ellen Tauscher to the Boards of Governors of LANS and LLNS,” Pattiz said. “Ms. Tauscher has a distinguished record as a seven-term member of Congress with expertise in national security matters, a former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security, and as an investment banker. She is respected by the national and international arms control communities, by members of Congress and by the business community. She will add greatly to our boards and the national laboratories.”