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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Activist to begin hunger strike

    Peace activist Alaric Balibrera of Santa Fe expects to begin a hunger strike on Monday. July 16 is the anniversary of the first atomic bomb test in 1945 at the Trinity Site.

    Balibrera says his hunger strike is intended as a call for the transformation of the scientific work at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), a transformation from being injurious to humanity to being constructive.

    Before Balibrera begins his strike, he plans to speak with New Mexico Senators Jeff Bingaman and Tom Udall, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu and LANL Director Charles McMillan.

    Lab spokesman Fred DeSousa said that he was unaware that Balibrera had tried to contact McMillan.

  • Radiation risk underestimated

    Much has been made in the past year on the speculation of how a major earthquake would affect Los Alamos and especially the Plutonium Facility (PF-4).

    The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board weighed in on one of those scenarios recently. And the news was not good.

    Apparently, the Los Alamos National Laboratory has underestimated the amount of radiation that could leak from the facility as a result of an earthquake, according to the DNFSB.

    This is the first paragraph of a letter from DNFSB addressed to NNSA administrator Thomas D’Agostino, dated June 18.

  • LANL scientist to give talk on cryptography

    Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Richard Hughes discusses the basics of cryptography and quantum physics and the ways LANL researchers use them to address security challenges in an increasingly networked world at Frontiers in Science series talk at 7 p.m., today in the Museum of Natural History and Science, 1801 Mountain Road N.W., Albuquerque.
     “Anyone who uses a credit card, computer or smartphone relies on cryptography,” said Hughes, of LANL’s Applied Modern Physics Group. “The story of cryptography is a centuries-long struggle between code makers and code breakers, but the new technology of quantum cryptography is poised to tip the scales in favor of the code makers by harnessing the quantum properties of light,” he said.

  • World record set for neutron beam at LANL

    Using a one-of-a-kind laser system at Los Alamos National Laboratory, scientists have created the largest neutron beam ever made by a short-pulse laser, breaking a world record. Neutron beams are usually made with particle accelerators or nuclear reactors and are commonly used in a wide variety of scientific research, particularly in advanced materials science.

    Using the TRIDENT laser, a unique and powerful 200 trillion-watt short-pulse laser, scientists from Los Alamos, the Technical University of Darmstadt, Germany, and Sandia National Laboratories focus high-intensity light on an ultra-thin plastic sheet infused with an isotope of hydrogen called deuterium.

  • U.S. releases updated plutonium inventory report

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) today announced the public release of a report that details the current plutonium inventory of the U.S.

    Titled the United States Plutonium Balance, 1944-2009, the document serves as an update to Plutonium: the First 50 Years, which was first released by the Department of Energy (DOE) in 1996.

    The report provides the U.S. inventory of plutonium owned by DOE and includes material in the possession of the Department of Defense (DoD). It can be found online at nnsa.energy.gov/plutoniuminventory.

    As an update to the report released in 1996, the current document provides data on the plutonium inventory through 2009.

  • House seeks GAO review

    Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested this week that the Government Accountability Office evaluate the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s efforts to upgrade radioactive waste management capabilities, critical to maintaining its nuclear weapons stockpile.

    In addition, committee leaders requested that the GAO evaluate the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) procedures for evaluating independent contractors charged with operations and management.
    LANL spokesperson Kevin Roark said all questions should be directed to the NNSA.

    Spokesperson Josh McConaha said that NNSA had no comment.

  • Groundbreaking for new fire center

    Marking the one-year anniversary of the Las Conchas Fire — the state’s second largest fire —was the groundbreaking of a new, permanent Interagency Fire Center Tuesday.

    The effort — stemming from coordination among several agencies during last year’s fire — is part of a partnership between the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), Bandelier National Monument, and Santa Fe National Forest.

    The 6,400 sq. ft. building will be located at Technical Area 49, and will accommodate up to three helicopters and other equipment used for firefighting activities.

    The project is expected to be complete by next spring.

  • LANL celebrates 1,000th TRU Waste Shipment to WIPP

    Gov. Susana Martinez was in attendance Tuesday but there was another governor that was just as thrilled to commemorate the 1,000th shipment of transuranic (TWU) waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    San Ildefonso Governor Terry Aguilar, whose pueblo borders the lab, had the distinction of being on hand for the first shipment back in 1999.

    “We can throw a rock across this area,” Aguilar said Tuesday at the TA-54 site. “This is important because this is our land and our people. People live here and cherish the land.”

    The domes where the waste was stored above ground inside Area G at TA-54 remains an eyesore for the pueblo.

    “But we cherish the fact that this waste is being removed,” Aguilar said.

  • Gov. Martinez visits LANL

    Gov. Susana Martinez was in Los Alamos today to mark the one-year anniversary of the Las Conchas Fire as well at the 1,000th shipment of Transuranic (TRU) waste from LANL to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
    In 2011, the Las Conchas Fire consumed more than 156,000 acres of land around Los Alamos and the lab site, making it the largest wildfire in state history at the time.
    Following the fire, Martinez directed the New Mexico Environment Department to work with the U.S. Department of Energy to prioritize the removal of all above ground TRU waste that remains stored on the lab site.
     The Martinez administration and federal officials came to an agreement that would remove all above-ground TRU waste from the lab site by the June 2014.

  • LANS set to give $180k in donations

    Nonprofit organizations will receive more than $180,000 from Los Alamos National Security, LLC during a recognition event beginning at 9:30 a.m. Thursday, at Fuller Lodge in downtown Los Alamos.
    LANS contributions are determined by the number of volunteer hours logged by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) employees and retirees through an organization called VolunteerMatch.