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Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • 133 acres burned on DOE, lab property

    Officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory were insistent throughout that the Los Conchas Fire only came onto LANL and Department of Energy property twice.

    The first came when the fire jumped over NM 4 onto TA-49, causing a one-acre fire that was quickly extinguished June 27, the second day of the fire.

    The second came on July 2 when a squirrel touched contacts in an electrical substation’s transformer at TA-53, the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) Facility substation and that fire was put out within a short period.

    On Friday, the Las Conchas Burned Area Emergency Response team released the acreage burned by jurisdiction. The chart said that 133 acres burned on DOE and LANL property.

    So what’s the story?

  • Collection for pet supplies underway

    Tyler Ryan of Pet Pangaea and lab employee Gowri Srinivasan, who works in the Applied Mathematics and Plasma Physics group, take part in the Pet Supply Drive that runs through July 29.

  • Potential key to unlock biomass energy discovered

    Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Laboratory and Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center have found a potential key for unlocking the energy potential from non-edible biomass materials such as corn leaves and stalks, or switch grass.

    In a paper appearing in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, Los Alamos researchers S. Gnanakaran, Giovanni Bellesia, and Paul Langan join Shishir Chundawat and Bruce Dale of Michigan State University, and collaborators from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center in describing a potential pretreatment method that can make plant cellulose five times more digestible by enzymes that convert it into ethanol, a useful biofuel.

  • Lab cited for RACER violation

    The New Mexico Environment Department sent the Department of Energy and the Los Alamos National Security, LLC a notice of violation of the June 14, 2007 settlement agreement.
    In a letter dated June 3, 2011, the violation occurred when the respondents failed to enter environmental data, such as soil, rock and pore gas, from the Los Alamos National Laboratory every week into the Risk Analysis, Communication, Evaluation and Reduction (RACER).

  • LANL installs additional protective flood measures

    Los Alamos National Laboratory work crews completed additional flood and erosion-control measures this week to reduce the environmental effects of any flash floods following the Las Conchas Fire.

    Crews installed concrete barriers to protect wellheads, utility poles and underground natural gas lines in Los Alamos Canyon. They also installed sampling gauges on the lab’s western boundary to compare run-on water with run-off water and collected samples from fish at Cochiti Reservoir.

    Sampling is being coordinated with the New Mexico Environment Department and other agencies, and all results will be made public. Additional fish samples will be collected from the Rio Grande and at Cochiti Reservoir before and after the summer monsoons for comparison.

  • LASG brings CMRR argument to town

    The Los Alamos Study Group (LASG) regularly holds meetings in Santa Fe.

    On Tuesday night at Fuller Lodge, the group came to Los Alamos to present its case against the proposed Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) facility.

    Greg Mello, secretary and executive director of LASG, presented various arguments against building the proposed plutonium facility, which included the cost of the project, possible conflicts between construction of CMRR with several other Los Alamos National Laboratory projects and an assertion that the facility is not necessary.

    Because of pending litigation, no one from the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration or LANL attended the forum.

  • Anti-nuke group vows to fight Manhattan project parks

    ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Anti-nuclear activists are lining up against legislation to create national parks at Los Alamos National Laboratory and two other sites where the world's first nuclear bombs were developed, calling the plan an expensive glorification of an ugly chapter in history.

    "It is a debasement of the national parks idea," said Greg Mello, a co-founder of the anti-nuclear watchdog, Los Alamos Study Group.

  • Fire protections outlined at TA-21

    Effective safety procedures in place at Los Alamos National Laboratory would have provided protections in the event that the Las Conchas fire had spread to the site of an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act project located in TA-21 off DP Road.

    “Our procedures not only placed the waste excavation site, Materials Disposal Area B (MDA-B), into a safe posture so it was well protected during the fire, but also allowed us to resume work quickly,” said Project Director Al Chaloupka.

    The largest wildfire in New Mexico history forced the lab to close for more than a week. While firefighters battled the fire, Recovery Act project officials were making plans to restart excavation of MDA-B when it was safe to return to Los Alamos.

  • LANL Closes Road, Trails for Safety Reasons

    Los Alamos National Laboratory late Friday announced the closure of all publicly-accessible trails on lab property as well as West Road, which leads from the Los Alamos town site into Los Alamos Canyon.  The closure is in response to the increased fire risk and danger of flash flooding in these areas following damage to canyon headlands during the Las Conchas Fire.

    “It’s an effort to ensure people’s safety and reduce the risk of injury and damage to property and sensitive natural and cultural resources,” said Chris Cantwell, LANL’s associate director for environment, safety, health, and quality.  

    Closure signs will be posted in coming days.

    The lab also cancelled all non-essential off-road work activity.

  • LANL preps to re-open Wednesday

    Los Alamos National Laboratory has announced it will re-open to employees on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, after being closed for more than a week during the Las Conchas fire, the largest wildfire in New Mexico history.

    Laboratory Director Charles McMillan today issued a memo to Laboratory employees outlining the re-opening plan.