Friday, March 27, 2009

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for March 27

Heart of lab now named for Domenici

A ceremony Tuesday afternoon completed the process of naming three buildings at the center of Los Alamos National Laboratory in honor of one of the lab's leading patrons, former Sen. Pete Domenici. Domenici was on hand Tuesday to receive the plaudits of laboratory leaders and staff in the auditorium of the National Security Science Building (NSSB). (Read and grow wiser!)

Nuclear Security Official Hints at Leaner, Less Costly Weapons Complex

Plans are underway to close the Chemical and Metallurgy Research Building at Los Alamos, which dates from the 1950s and handled plutonium research and production, and build a replacement.

NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agostino said this was part of an effort to limit where sensitive nuclear materials, such as plutonium, are stored. "The thing I wan
t to do is actually reduce the amount of plutonium capability in the country by shutting down plutonium capability at Lawrence Livermore and bringing it to Los Alamos," he added. (Read all about it!)

Energy Secretary Serves Under a Microscope

Dr. Chu came to Washington after serving as director of the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, a civilian research organization with 4,000 employees and a $600 million annual budget. Before that, he was a professor and research scientist at Stanford and Bell Laboratories. He shared the 1997 Nobel in physics for his work on cooling and trapping atoms with laser light. (Examine the entire story here.)

LANL: From bombs to biofuels

What struck me the most was the fine line between national security and renewable energy development. LANL is first and foremost a defense and weapons lab, created to protect the nation from mass destruction. So it is not surprising that they are now throwing huge resources into what truly is the greatest threat to national security - climate change. (The blog entry is here.)

Nation's only nuclear waste repository now 10 years old

A top scientist for the federal government's only nuclear waste repository recalls the scene a decade ago when the first shipment rolled through the gates - 300 to 400 area residents and workers gathered in the predawn cold in the middle of nowhere, cheering.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in the salt beds of southeastern New Mexico turns 10 on Thursday, with its supporters hailing it as pointing the way for the future of radioactive waste disposal in America. (Read the
full story.)

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