Friday, June 12, 2009

News from Los Alamos National Laboratory for June 5

LANL sends 'hotter' waste to WIPP

Remote handled waste truck arrives at WIPP. WIPP photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory shipped its first cask of a new category of highly radioactive waste Tuesday to a permanent disposal site. The waste left Los Alamos at 5 p.m. Tuesday, headed for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeast New Mexico….read more here.

LANL sends first batch of remote-handled waste to WIPP

Santa Fe New Mexican photo.

The truckload that left Los Alamos National Laboratory at 4:59 p.m. Tuesday for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad looked a bit like a dumbbell fit for the Incredible Hulk, but its insides weren't made of metal. Instead, the strange package contained a type of nuclear waste that has been waiting for about two years to leave lab property for final disposal, said Fred de Sousa, a LANL spokesman. See the complete story here.

Models' projections for flu miss mark by wide margin

Tim Germann, a computational scientist who worked on a 2006 flu forecast model at Los Alamos National Laboratory, said he imagined there were now "a few hundred thousand" cases. (At their peaks, epidemics are thought to double in as little as three days, which could drive the number into the millions, but Dr. Germann said he would not use such a rapid doubling rate unless it was a cold November and no countermeasures, like closing schools, were being taken.) See the whole story here.

Safeguards by design

Facility design can aid or frustrate international safeguards efforts
There has been considerable enthusiasm and promise for a nuclear renaissance, but the renaissance can only occur if there is public confidence in nuclear power.

A crucial part of the effort to expand nuclear power in the United States and other technologically advanced states—and introduce nuclear power to developing states—will be the “3S” concept: safety, security and safeguards.
Read more here.

Researchers break through plant cell barrier

Researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory have discovered weak spots within the lignocelluloses of plant cell walls which could be targeted by cellulose enzymes, resulting in more efficient material break- down and more cost-effective ethanol production. SOURCE: LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers have identified potential weaknesses among sheets of cellulose molecules comprising the lignocelluloses in plant cell walls - a discovery which could lead to more cost-effective cellulosic ethanol production. Read more here.

LANL cheers on local volunteers

Eric Holmes speaking at Tuesday's volunteer recognition event at Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos.

If a normal work year amounts to 2,080 hours at 40 hours a week, how did Los Alamos National Laboratory “top volunteer” Eric Holmes rack up 1,637 volunteer hours last year?

“Twenty-four hours a day on weekends and eight hours at night,” he said. See the
story here.

Also this past week in the Los Alamos Monitor:

A rover named Curiosity

The NASA rover was previously named the Mars Science Laboratory. NASA illustration.

The Mars rover that will be carrying two instruments from Los Alamos National Laboratory has a name. In a national competition, Clara Ma, a sixth-grader from Kansas submitted the winning entry, "Curiosity."

She wins a trip to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Roger Wiens, principle investigator for ChemCam, the remote-sensing laser instrument that will be on the mast of Curiosity, said he liked the name because it in line with the two current robot explorers, and the one before that, Sojourner. See the full story here.

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