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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • NMCF to relinquish database activities

    After eight years of providing public education and outreach related to environmental monitoring information from the Los Alamos National Laboratory site, New Mexico Community Foundation) has been asked by the Department of Energy to relinquish its responsibility as outreach coordinator and database manager of the Intellus NM Project.

    DOE notified NMCF on Sept. 18 that, due to financial constraints and uncertainties in DOE Environmental Management’s budget, NMCF would no longer be funded to provide training, education and outreach to the public on behalf of Intellus NM.

    Additionally, LANL and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) are currently negotiating the closure of the 2007 Settlement Agreement and Stipulated Final Order, also known as the Chromium Settlement, which required LANL to turn their environmental data over to an independent manager. The closure of this agreement allows LANL to manage their data without oversight or involvement from a third-party. 

  • LANL publishes 2011 Environmental Report

    The Los Alamos National Laboratory has published its 2011 Environmental Report. The massive 406-page volume contains information on virtually every aspect of the lab's impact on the Northern New Mexico environment.

    Chapters cover areas such as compliance, radiological and non-radiological dose assessments, air sampling, groundwater monitoring, foodstuffs and biota monitoring, and environmental restoration.

    The full report can be viewed by clicking here.

  • Funds may come back to lab

    Some details were uncovered in the National Nuclear Security Administration’s reprogramming request after $120 million was returned to Washington from the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility.

    According to the Nuclear Weapons and Material Monitor, the NNSA said that approximately $20-$25 million would be spent on start-up activities at the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building, while $20-$30 million would go to purchase additional analytical chemistry equipment for RLUOB. The request was made Sept. 13.

    The trade publication went on to report that another $20-$25 million would go toward relocating analytical chemistry sample management/preparatory capabilities from the existing CMR facility to the lab’s Plutonium Facility (PF-4), and $20-$30 million would be needed to relocate material characterization equipment from CMR to PF-4. In addition, NNSA said it would need $15-$25 million to build a tunnel between PF-4 and the RLUOB.

  • CMRR meetings grind to a halt

    The folks in charge of building the Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement facility are acting like the project will be deferred for five years.

    That may be the case or maybe not.

    The House and Senate Armed Service Committees put funding in for the project for the FY13 budget, but a continuing resolution passed by Congress last week earmarked no funding for the CMRR-NF.

    In fact, Steve Fong of the Los Alamos Site Office who helped run the project said $120 million of the $200 million in funding earmarked for the project has returned to Washington.

    Fong made the statement at a semi-annual public meeting that was required by a settlement agreement brokered by the New Mexico Environment Department between a coalition of six activist groups and the National Nuclear Security Administration and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

    Fong then announced this would be the final meeting.

    That did not sit to well with some of the activists.

    “We don’t believe these meetings should end,” said Joni Arends from Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety in Santa Fe. “We need to get everybody to the table and have a discussion about this.”

  • LANL fetes R&D award winners -- Video added

    Los Alamos National Laboratory recognized four of its teams that won R&D awards Wednesday night at the Hilltop House Hotel.

    Lab Director Charlie McMillan handed out the awards to the winners. Other teams that were up for awards also were honored.

    These awards honor the top 100 proven technological advances of the year, as selected by a group of R&D Magazine’s chosen judges.

    “Congratulations to this year’s R&D 100 award winners,” said Energy Secretary Steven Chu.” The research and development at the Department of Energy’s laboratories continues to help the nation meet our energy challenges, strengthen our national security and improve our economic competitiveness.”

    “These awards demonstrate the continued success of Los Alamos researchers and partners in defining the frontiers of innovation across a wide range of national security science,” said LANL Director Charlie McMillan. “This innovation and creativity will drive the solutions to tomorrow’s problems.”

    Here is a brief look at each of the award winners:

  • Trails reopened

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has reopened trails located on U.S. Department of Energy property near the Timber Ridge and Ridge Park condominiums. The trails were closed temporarily while the laboratory conducted environmental sampling and cleanup work in the area, which is south of Trinity Drive and west of Oppenheimer Drive. The trails will remain open while the laboratory and the New Mexico Environment Department analyze the results of the latest samples. If there is a need for further work in the area that requires any further temporary trail closures, the laboratory will issue an announcement that includes location details.

  • NNSA, DOE award research grants

    The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration and Office of Science announced that 46 research grants totaling $14 million have been awarded as part of the Joint Program in High Energy Density Laboratory Plasmas.
    Contemporary advances in laser, particle beam and pulsed power technologies have made possible the creation of increasingly high energy density states in the laboratory. Studies of such states of matter are providing insights into fields ranging from astrophysics to fusion energy.
    Six of the grants went to scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    “These awards demonstrate the strong and valuable partnership of NNSA and the Office of Science,” NNSA Administrator Thomas D’Agostino said. “The work funded will enhance and promote cutting edge research that supports the missions of both organizations. I want to personally congratulate the recipients of these awards for their dedication and leadership.”
    “The excellent coordination between NNSA and the DOE Office of Science is enabling us to leverage federal investments in research to advance our understanding of energy and matter,” Office of Science Director William Brinkman said.

  • Nuclear weapons pioneer dies in Chicago

    Julius Tabin, a member of Enrico Fermi’s personal team at the Trinity Site blast in 1945, died in Chicago of heart failure at the age of 92 last month.

    Tabin joined a small group of physicists working on the Manhattan Project, first at the University of Chicago and then at Los Alamos.

    As part of Fermi’s team, he assisted in a series of studies that included measuring the efficiency of the first atomic test blast.

    After the blast, Tabin rode in a lead-lined Sherman tank to ground zero to be the first to collect a core sample of earth for analysis. Due to exposure to excessive radiation while gathering this material, he was restricted from conducting further physics research for an extended period.

    According to the Chicago Tribune, he turned to the law, where his background in physics and his contacts with other pioneers of the atomic age made him the go-to attorney for those who began to form companies in the new industry of nuclear energy.

    “With all those personal contacts, he was quite a rainmaker for the firm,” said Jim Schumann, now of counsel to the intellectual property law firm of Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery, where Tabin practiced for 56 years before retiring in 2006.

  • DOE awards oversight grant

    The Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded a grant for an estimated $1.6 million to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).
    The five-year grant funds an agreement for NMED to conduct non-regulatory environmental oversight and monitoring to evaluate activities conducted at DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad.   
    NMED evaluates DOE activities related to WIPP’s environmental monitoring and cleanup.  This award is made in accordance with the Department of Energy Organization Act, Public Law 95-91.
    The DOE WIPP facility is designed to safely isolate defense-generated transuranic (TRU) waste from people and the environment. Waste temporarily stored at sites around the country is shipped to WIPP and permanently disposed in rooms mined out of an ancient salt formation 2,150 feet below the surface.  
    WIPP began waste disposal operations in 1999.  The facility is located 26 miles outside of Carlsbad.

  • 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.