Friday, February 19, 2010

Remarks of Vice President Biden at National Defense University

Unfortunately, during the last decade, our nuclear complex and experts were neglected and underfunded. Tight budgets forced more than 2,000 employees of Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore from their jobs between 2006 and 2008, including highly-skilled scientists and engineers. And some of the facilities we use to handle uranium and plutonium date back to the days when the world's great powers were led by Truman, Churchill, and Stalin. The signs of age and decay are becoming more apparent every day. (Full Text)

Biden to Push Test-Ban Treaty

Vice President Joe Biden.

Anti-nuclear activists say the 4.7% increase for infrastructure spending at nuclear-weapons facilities such as New Mexico's Los Alamos National Laboratory won't buy GOP support for arms-control treaties. But Mr. Biden will make the case that the government must spend money on its aging nuclear-weapons laboratories and plants even as it pursues arms reduction. (Full Story)

The Human Family's Earliest Ancestors

Hunting for hominid fossils in Ethiopia, researchers "collect every piece of bone, every piece of wood, every seed." Photo from Smithsonian Magazine.

The Ardi research also challenged the long-held views that hominids evolved in a grassy savanna, says Middle Awash project geologist Giday WoldeGabriel of Los Alamos National Laboratory. The Ardi researchers' thorough canvassing indicates that Ardi lived in woodland with a closed canopy, so little light reached grass and plants on the forest floor. (Full Story)

New principles disclosed

D'Agostino says budget request reflects role in national security agenda -- Speaking at the second annual Deterrence Summit today, NNSA Administrator Tom D'Agostino highlighted the President's FY2011 budget request that includes an increase of 13 percent over last year's budget. (
Full Story)

Can We Dispose of Radioactive Waste in Volcanoes?

PopSci illustration

Dumping all our nuclear waste in a volcano does seem like a neat solution for destroying the roughly 29,000 tons of spent uranium fuel rods stockpiled around the world. But there's a critical standard that a volcano would have to meet to properly dispose of the stuff, explains Charlotte Rowe, a volcano geophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

LANL model checks arctic warming

A flourescent image of fresh water methanotrophs from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. DOE image.

The methane is caged in ice lattices, or clathrates, which are thought to be particularly vulnerable to release in the rapidly warming waters of the arctic. Some climatologists blame runaway events like the Great Dying, 250 million years ago, the worst extinction event in Earth's history, on the sudden release of methane clathrates buried under the cold ocean floors. (Full Story)

Son of Perhapsatron

The AFRL pulsed-power machine “Shiva Star,” which is about the size of two basketball courts, AFRL photo.

Aiming for an April test date, Glen Wurden, the fusion team leader at LANL, said the current effort makes use of the AFRL pulsed power machine, "Shiva Star." The machine delivers an enormous amount of power in tiny fractions of a second. (Full Story)

Postdoc fellow aims to create marketable products based on own research

Bart Raeymaekers, the Lab’s first Entrepreneurial Postdoctoral Fellow, LANL photo.

Often there’s a gap between research conducted at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and what is needed to turn that research into useful technology. Bart Raeymaekers’ job is to fill that gap, according to Dipen Sinha, Acoustics and Sensors team leader and Raeymaekers’ supervisor. (Full Story)

When squeezing hydrogen out of ammonia borane, the packaging matters

Packing ammonia borane into mesoporous silica leads to a remarkable enhancement of the hydrogen storage properties. This image shows the molecular configuration of the packed ammonia borane. Image from PhysOrg.

When it comes to squeezing hydrogen out of ammonia borane, the packaging matters, according to scientists from three national labs. Ammonia borane releases hydrogen with heating by a multi-step reaction, but the nominal heating required to release that hydrogen requires additional energy, decreasing the overall efficiency. The study was done by an interdisciplinary team from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, and Argonne National Laboratory. (Full Story)

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