Los Alamos National Laboratory

  • Aspen probe widens

    Officials are still working on the autopsy of the infamous aspen tree that caused the largest wildfire in New Mexico history and threatened the Los Alamos National Laboratory and Town Site.
    Last month, Bob Parmenter, Dennis Trujillo, and Rebecca Oertel from the Valles Caldera, and Craig Allen, Collin Haffey, and Leanna Lucore from Bandelier, discovered the tree lying across the power line right-of-way on a ridge-top about a quarter mile west of Las Conchas.

  • Safety Board eyes criticality issues during LANL inspection

    The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board was in Los Alamos last month to meet with NNSA and lab officials and tour transuranic waste operations at Area G and review seismic upgrades the Plutonium Facility.

    In a memorandum dated Aug. 19, addressed to technical director T.J. Dwyer, a number of infractions were uncovered.

    At the Plutonium facility, a criticality safety infraction was declared. Nuclear criticality safety is dedicated to the prevention of  accidents resulting from an inadvertent, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.

  • Seismic issues rumble to surface

    The general thrust of Joni Arends’ presentation at Tuesday night’s Chemistry Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project meeting was that the facility had to be designed for an 8.0 magnitude earthquake.

    Lab officials, meanwhile, contend that the design should be able to withstand a 7.27 earthquake.

    So who is right?

    “Some of the points that were brought up in presentations were addressed in responses provided to comments made on the CMRR Supplemental EIS,” LANL’s Larry Goen said Wednesday. “The information we have gathered from the paleoseismic investigations do not suggest earthquakes as large as Magnitude 8 occur on the Pajarito Fault System.”

  • Two exhibits to open at Bradbury

    Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bradbury Science Museum will unveil two exhibits next week and hosts a talk about Manhattan Project physicist Richard Feynman on Sept.  29.
    All the events are open to the public and coincide with Los Alamos County’s “See You In September” celebration of Cultural Heritage Month.
    The museum opens its “Fireset” exhibit with a reception from 3 to 4 p.m., Tuesday followed by a discussion and question-and-answer session with Laboratory retiree Glenn McDuff.

  • NMED begins talks with LANL on clean-up

    The New Mexico Environment Department met with representatives of the U.S. Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Laboratory on Monday to establish a framework for moving forward on Governor Martinez’s clean-up priorities for Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    “Governor Martinez has emphasized that continued acceleration of above ground transuranic (TRU) waste disposal is a major priority, and protection of ground water and drinking water systems must continue to be priorities notwithstanding potential federal budget decreases,” New Mexico Environment Secretary David Martin said.  

  • Expect delays on truck route

    Drilling operations to affect traffic on the LANL Truck Route
    A new groundwater well is scheduled to be drilled on the north side of the Los Alamos National Laboratory Truck Route beginning Saturday, and drivers headed to and from the lab should be aware of trucks turning onto and off the roadway in that area.
     The point for trucks entering and exiting the roadway corresponds to where the passing lane begins, about a mile east of the laboratory security force firing range, or just over two miles from the junction of the Truck Route with State Road 4.  
     Drivers coming down the hill should be especially careful to observe posted speed limits and watch for traffic slowdowns.

  • Gov. discusses waste shipment process

    Gov. Susana Martinez and New Mexico Environment Department Secretary David Martin met Tuesday with senior U.S. Department of Energy officials to discuss high priority issues for the ongoing environmental clean-up efforts at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
    The meeting served as an opportunity for Martinez to meet Don Cook, deputy administrator for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s defense programs, David Huizenga, Acting Assistant Secretary for DOE’s Office of Environmental Management. Los Alamos Site Office Manager Kevin Smith, Deputy Assistant Secretary Frank Marcinowski of the Office of Regulatory Compliance and Assistant Manager for Environment George Rael at LASO also participated in the meeting.

  • Lujan urges lab to contract more small businesses

    Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District drafted a letter to New Mexico’s national laboratories and military bases today urging them to contract more with New Mexico-headquartered businesses in order to encourage business opportunities in the state.
    The letter was sent to Los Alamos National Laboratory. Similar letters were also sent to Sandia National Laboratory, Kirtland Air Force Base, Cannon Air Force Base, Holloman Air Force Base, and the Air Force Research Laboratory.

  • Lab to host LDRD Day Tuesday at Buffalo Thunder

    Some of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s scientists will explain and present their work to the public Tuesday during LANL’s third annual LDRD Day.
    The event is scheduled from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Buffalo Thunder Resort near Pojoaque.
    The event is free and open to the public, and provides an opportunity for people to see some of the most exciting research currently under way at the Laboratory.

  • Lab: Detonations needed to get rid of explosive waste

     In a desolate canyon in northern New Mexico, a black puff of dust and smoke rises up from the ground following a quick flash. It takes about a second and a half for the loud boom and rush of air to catch up.
    Explosives experts at the nation’s premiere nuclear laboratory just blew up 85 pounds of waste left over from some of the experiments Los Alamos National Laboratory conducts on improvised explosives and other terrorist threats.
    Some of the high explosive waste also comes from the work scientists do to bolster national security and to ensure the stability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile.
    Critical is how lab officials describe the work — and the detonations needed to get rid of the waste.