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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • LANL eludes fine in beryllium incident

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory will not be fined after a lab machinist was exposed to higher-than-allowed levels of beryllium. That news comes from a May 29 letter addressed to LANL Director Charlie McMillan from the Department of Energy’s Office of Enforcement and Oversight.

    The letter stated that the ignored procedures for collecting and controlling personal exposure assessment air samples and didn’t keep accurate hazard assessment and exposure control records when an employee was exposed to more than 0.2 micrograms per cubic meter of beryllium during an eight-hour shift, exceeding DOE’s “action” level.

    The letter from Office of Enforcement and Oversight Director John Boulden stated, “the facts and circumstances indicate weaknesses in LANS’ collection and documentation of industrial hygiene exposure assessment information and the application of that information to anticipate, identify, evaluate, and control beryllium hazards. These weaknesses may prevent LANS from establishing a definitive cause for an event and identifying appropriate corrective actions when occupational exposure limits are exceeded.

  • LANL files seen as key in Stanford's defense

    Aaron Boland, the attorney for former Los Alamos National Laboratory division leader Anthony Stanford, appeared in Los Alamos Magistrate Court Thursday on behalf of his client.

    In January, Stanford was arrested by Los Alamos Police for two counts of alleged assault and battery against a former female co-worker.

    According to the police report, Stanford, who had headed the lab’s emergency operations center, and the female employee worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory together.

    Police said one of the charges resulted from an encounter Stanford had with the employee in an elevator, where he allegedly tried to force himself on her. He allegedly made another similar attempt on Dec. 17 in his office after he gave her a Christmas gift.

    Boland was in court to give an update on the progress he was making in securing files that he said would help prove his client’s innocence.

    According to Boland, LANL persuaded Stanford to take early retirement after it conducted its own investigation into the incident. Stanford had worked at LANL for more than 20 years.

    “There was an entire investigation into these incidents that gave rise to the charges,” Boland said in court. “I have not yet had access to that file.”

  • Scholarship Winner Comes Full Circle

    Coming home to Los Alamos was an easy decision for Steven Honig, a 2002 Los Alamos National Laboratory Employees’ Scholarship winner.

    Now a Research and Development Engineer III in the Global Security Directorate at Los Alamos National Laboratory, he is senior engineer responsible for analog and digital circuits. Growing up on the Hill, he always enjoyed the small town pace and the surrounding plateaus and mountains. In fact, as a boy he considered becoming a forester so he could enjoy the outdoors all the time.

    The lab, he says, allows him the responsibility and freedom to do the type of research and problem solving that commercial engineering firms wouldn’t. And he gets the added benefit of backpacking, camping in the forests, climbing the rock faces and skiing Pajarito Ski Area. Skiing was a sport he took up at 16, rather late in life for Los Alamos residents, because his parents, natives of Texas, didn’t ski.

    “My mom would sit with a cup of tea and look out the window and wait for the snow to melt,” Honig recalls.

  • Critics blast Wilson's contract with labs

     

    Reaction has been swift regarding an Inspector General’s report which pointed out that former Rep. Heather Wilson failed to provide documentation in the consulting work she provided for the nation’s laboratories including Los Alamos and Sandia.

    The four management contractors at Los Alamos, Sandia, Nevada Test Site and Oak Ridge were required to repay the government $442,000 for their irregular payments to Wilson.

    Jay Coghlan, Director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, commented, “The question now becomes whether Wilson should personally be paying the government back. In any event, these new findings on the depth of her conflict-of-interest should bury her political future in New Mexico once and for all. Further, she should resign from the NNSA Council on the future of the nuclear weapons labs, or be replaced by congressional leadership if she doesn’t go voluntarily.”

  • Non-profits to receive donations from LANS

    Nonprofit organizations will receive more than $180,000 from Los Alamos National Security (LANS), LLC during a recognition event beginning at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday at Fuller Lodge in downtown Los Alamos.
    LANS contributions are determined by the number of volunteer hours logged by Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and retirees through a web-based organization called VolunteerMatch and through the Los Alamos Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP).
    Deputy Laboratory Director Beth Sellers is scheduled to be the keynote speaker and present awards.
    “The genuine care and commitment Laboratory employees and retirees have for their communities are clearly demonstrated by the number of hours volunteered to these nonprofit organizations,” said Kurt Steinhaus, director of the Community Programs Office, which manages the lab’s volunteer program. Since the Laboratory joined VolunteerMatch and RSVP in 2007, nearly 3,000 Los Alamos employees and retirees reported more than 1.2 million volunteer
    hours. 

  • IG faults payments

    Former U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson collected nearly half a million dollars in questionable payments from four federally funded nuclear labs after she left office, the Energy Department’s inspector general says in a new report.

    Wilson failed to provide documentation for the work she did to earn $20,000 a month from the Los Alamos and Sandia national labs in New Mexico from January 2009 to March 2011, the report said. Officials at the Nevada Test Site and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee acknowledged there “were no deliverables” associated with $30,000 the two labs paid Wilson. Sandia had Wilson lobby for more defense dollars, an apparent violation of her contract, the report said.

    In total, nearly $450,000 in questionable payments were identified, the bulk from Los Alamos and Sandia.
    In a statement, LANL defended Wilson and her work.

    “LANS, LLC has reimbursed the government approximately $195,000 in potentially unallowable costs related to the consulting arrangement with Heather Wilson,” the statement said.

  • Sellers to make nonprofit awards at Wednesday event

    Area nonprofit organizations will receive more than $180,000 from Los Alamos National Security (LANS), LLC during a recognition event beginning at 9:30 a.m. June 12, at Fuller Lodge in downtown Los Alamos.

    LANS contributions are determined by the number of volunteer hours logged by Los Alamos National Laboratory employees and retirees through a web-based organization called VolunteerMatch and through the Los Alamos Retired Seniors Volunteer Program (RSVP).

    Deputy Laboratory Director Beth Sellers is scheduled to be the keynote speaker and present awards. Sellers also will recognize the top volunteers and nonprofit organizations.

    “The genuine care and commitment laboratory employees and retirees have for their communities are clearly demonstrated by the number of hours volunteered to these nonprofit organizations,” said Kurt Steinhaus, director of the Community Programs Office, which manages the laboratory’s volunteer program.

    Since the laboratory joined VolunteerMatch and RSVP in 2007, nearly 3,000 Los Alamos employees and retirees reported more than 1.2 million volunteer hours. In 2012, more than 269,000 hours of volunteer service were reported through the lab’s Vecinos volunteer program. Vecinos is Spanish for neighbor. Additionally,

  • LANL nuke waste to be buried at Texas fed site

    The portion of a West Texas radioactive waste disposal site built to handle waste from U.S. Energy Department locations nationwide is set to open.
    Waste from New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory on Thursday will be the first low-level radioactive waste to be buried in the 90-acre federal dump on a site operated by Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists.
    Company spokesman Chuck McDonald says the Los Alamos waste is derived from nuclear materials research and development stored at the laboratory for decades.
    “I am proud to be here today to celebrate this historic event. We appreciate the state of Texas, the local communities and Waste Control Specialists for their support of our important national cleanup mission and look forward to a continued, collaborative relationship to ensure the safe disposal and long-term management of this nation’s low-level and mixed low-level (LLW/MLLW) radioactive waste,” EM Senior Advisor David Huizenga said.
    The DOE Los Alamos Field Office is the first to dispose of waste in this new facility.

  • Los Alamos nuke waste to be buried in fed site

    ANDREWS, Texas (AP) — The portion of a West Texas radioactive waste disposal site built to handle waste from U.S. Energy Department locations nationwide is set to open.

    Waste from New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory on Thursday will be the first low-level radioactive waste to be buried in the 90-acre federal dump on a site operated by Dallas-based Waste Control Specialists.

    Company spokesman Chuck McDonald says the Los Alamos waste is derived from nuclear materials research and development stored at the laboratory for decades.

    After a large wildfire lapped at the edges of lab property in summer 2011, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez identified removal of the waste as a top priority.

    Low-level radioactive waste from non-Energy Department sources is buried in a smaller, separate site nearby.

  • LANL launches anniversary app

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has launched its first app for iPhones and iPads as part of the laboratory’s yearlong celebration of 70 years serving the nation. The free application is available from the Apple Store (search for Los Alamos National Lab).
    (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/lanl-app/id647349599?mt=8)
    The app enables users to learn more about the Laboratory’s national security mission, cutting edge research, unique history, top-flight scientists and the many other people who work at the lab. It also provides easy access to news, feature stories, publications, social media and videos; an interactive timeline of 70 years of innovation and a look ahead to the future; and includes an educational feature showcasing the actinide series of the periodic table, as well as fun facts and links to the complete table. A version of the app for the Android platform is expected to be available soon.
    “We’re excited to be a part of the 70th anniversary of Los Alamos’ service to the nation,” said Associate Director for Information Technology Carolyn Zerkle.