Friday, July 25, 2008

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for July 14 - 18

Detecting flu viruses in remote areas of the world

Researchers in Ohio and New Mexico are reporting an advance in the quest for a fast, sensitive test to detect flu viruses -- one that requires no refrigeration and can be used in remote areas of the world where new flu viruses often emerge. Their new method, the first to use sugar molecules rather than antibodies, is in the July 2 issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication.

In the new study, Jurgen Schmidt [Los Alamos National Laboratory], Suri Iyer, and colleagues point out that conventional tests for flu viruses - including bird flu - rely on antibodies, proteins produced by the immune system, to recognize viruses. But antibody-based tests can be expensive and require refrigeration to remain stable. See the story here.

Third Green500 list released;
ranks energy efficient supercomputers

LANL's Roadrunner cited for race-car speed and Prius efficiency

The Green500 List debuted in November 2007 and ushered in a new era of energy-efficient supercomputing. The Green500 List is intended to serve as a ranking of the most energy-efficient supercomputers in the world and as a complementary view to the Top500 List. . . .

The first sustained petaflop supercomputer, Roadrunn
er developed by the U.S. Department of Energy Los Alamos National Laboratory, exhibits extraordinary energy efficiency. Roadrunner, the top-ranked supercomputer in the TOP500, is ranked third on the Green500. . . .

"The Roadrunner supercomputer is akin to having the fastest Formula One race car in the world but with the fuel efficiency of a Toyota Prius," Feng added. See the story here.

House Subcommittee hears testimony on modernizing nuclear weapons complex

Thomas D'Agostino (pictured below), administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, focused on complex transformation during testimony that he presented to the Strategic Forces Subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committee at a hearing Thursday in the Rayburn Building, Washington, D.C.

D'Agostino was joined on a discussion panel by Los Alamos National Laboratory Director Michael Anastasio (pictured right, center), the directors of Lawrence Livermore and Sandia National Laboratories, and site and plant managers from the NNSA nuclear complex.

Like the others on the panel, Anastasio provided a written statement to the subcommittee, chaired by U.S. Representative Ellen Tauscher (D-CA).

NNSA seeks more long-term contracts

Administrator says relationships developed
would help increase nation's safety

It doesn't take a nuclear weapons physicist to figure out that a steady, long-term contract provides a lot more stability than several unpredictable short-term ones.

But for the nation's nuclear weapons labs, a lot of work outside their core nuclear weapons mission is defined by short-term contracts that come up whenever a
government agency realizes it needs something, Thomas D'Agostino (pictured, right) head of the National Nuclear Security Administration, said in a news conference Wednesday. . . .

Building long-term relationships with other agencies will help national labs like Los Alamos and Sandia create more effective science and technology projects and will help them diversify as
the nation's nuclear arsenal continues to shrink, he said.

And the long-term relationships with the other agencies, in turn, should also help make the nation more safe, said Michael Anastasio, director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Read the New Mexican's story here.

LANL: Re-visioning its mission

While the director was in Washington talking about some new directions at the nuclear weapons labs Wednesday, Los Alamos National Laboratory managers were engaged in a plenary workshop developing an institutional strategy on energy security.

Coincidentally timed, the two events were nevertheless related. Both represented steps into a future that is becoming increasingly defined by smaller budgets for nuclear weapons. LANL Director Michael Anastasio participated in a press conference in Washington, D.C., led by Thomas D‚Agostino, administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration. See the story here.

Deal on Verifying North Korean Disarmament

Negotiators in the North Korean nuclear talks agreed Saturday to a blueprint for verifying North Korea‚s nuclear disarmament as part of a deal under which it would dis
able its main Yongbyon nuclear weapons complex by the end of October in exchange for energy and economic aid.

The accord, announced by China in a joint communiqué among the six nations involved in the talks, gives new momentum to the negotiations, yet leaves many difficult issues unresolved in what has been a long and halting process to rid North Korea of its nuclear arsenal. No timetable has been set for full disarmament.

[Los Alamos National Laboratory provided the sole technical support from the Department of
Energy at the Six-Party Talks in Beijing on implementation of the North Korean denuclearization commitments.] See the whole story here.

Nanostructuring firm bought

Terry Lowe of LANL explains to Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
how nano-titanium is manufactured.

Manhattan Scientifics, a publicly-traded investment firm
with ownership stakes in several New Mexico firms, has purchased Metallicum, a Los Alamos National Labs spinout with a process for "nanostructuring" metals.

The company aims to build a manufacturing plant here to build new strong and light metals for medical uses and the manufacturing of vehicles, such as trucks and aircraft. See the
story here.

LANL will help two companies in deal

Los Alamos National Security, LLC, has developed mentor-protégé agreements with two Northern New Mexico businesses under the auspices of a U.S. Department of Energy program. Under the agreements, Los Alamos National Laboratory will help North Wind Inc. in project planning and management in the areas of environmental management and facility operations. It also will help North Wind develop subcontracts with other government and private agencies.

With Performance Maintenance Inc., the Laboratory will help the janitorial company develop best practices in materials and property management, as well as its computer systems networking and capabilities, among other things.

These are the second and third mentor-protégé agreements worked out through Los Alamos National Security LLC. The first was with Tsay Construction and Services LLC, a small business owned by Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo.

Lab gets $17 million for cleanup

The U.S. Department of Energy has cleared $17 million for environmental cleanup work at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The supplemental funding raises the lab's environmental cleanup budget for this fiscal year to more than $169 million. Read the story here.

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