Friday, March 18, 2011

Obama discusses LANL, Sandia labs with ABC affiliate KOAT-TV

Watch the President's full interview at

In an exclusive one-on-one interview, President Barack Obama told Action 7 News that the country needs to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities, including Sandia National Laboratories and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Obama said the focus in America is on our plants and the labs that conduct vital nuclear research after the nuclear events in Japan over the last week. (Full Story)

LANL geophysicist analyzes massive quakes

Terry Wallace, LANL’s principal associate director of science, technology, and engineering.

While an 8.9 is currently the official measure of the enormous earthquake that hit near the east coast of Honshu, Japan Friday, geophysicist Terry Wallace predicts it will be a magnitude 9 when it’s all over.

Wallace knows about earthquakes and their ensuing tsunamis having spent 20 years as a professor of geosciences at the University of Arizona before coming to Los Alamos National Laboratory. (Full Story)

LANL ready to assist in Japan's nuke crisis

The Fukushima nuclear power plant before last week's events. EPA photo.

At Los Alamos National Laboratory, one of the nation's leading storehouses of knowledge about nuclear chain reactions, questions Monday about the dramatic events unfolding at a Japanese nuclear power plant were referred to federal authorities in Washington, D.C. (Full Story)

Also from the New Mexican this week:

'Black holes' nothing like movie portrayals

Artist's concept of a black hole. NASA illustration.

A conversation with Los Alamos National Laboratory theorist Emil Mottola on cosmology, black holes, gravastars, and quantum mechanics.

Nine years ago Mottola, in collaboration with Pawel Mazur of the University of South Carolina, offered a new definition of the dark stars that are so heavy that light cannot escape from them. (Full Story)

Hydrazine fuels hydrogen power hopes

Renowned as a rocket propellant, hydrazine could also push forward the development of hydrogen fuel cells for powering vehicles say US-based researchers.

Andrew Sutton from Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico, and colleagues use the chemical to improve the regeneration of spent ammonia borane hydrogen storage material.

'It definitely makes the regeneration easier' explains Sutton, whose technique uses a few simple reagents to convert the spent material back to ammonia borane with high efficiency. 'That's a significant advance.' (Full Story)

LANL talks wind power on heels of Bernal Mesa vote

On the eve of San Miguel Board of County Commissioners' vote on a wind farm policy, a Los Alamos National Laboratories engineer working on wind turbine design tried to dispel myths about the technology's drawbacks.

LANL engineer Curtt Ammerman said the reason modern wind turbines are so large (200 to 300 feet tall) relates to a physics equation: when the diameter of a rotor is doubled, the power it puts out is quadrupled. (Full Story)

Sizing up small nukes

In the liquid metal reactor category, Hyperion has a design for a 25-megawatt reactor which is based on a Los Alamos National Laboratory design.

Though Hyperion’s reactor, which uses lead-bismuth alloy as a coolant, might face regulatory hurdles, they are confident in the design. "There are not too many technical challenges; we chose a design that was something that could be done in a reasonable amount of time." (Full Story)

Space laser proposed to zap space junk

What to do with all the space junk now in orbit around the Earth? Each year, that question grabs a headline or two before disappearing. But that doesn't mean the problem is getting any closer to resolution. . .

In a recent paper, James Mason, a NASA contractor at the Universities Space Research Association in Moffett Field, California, and his colleagues argue that such a system is feasible. . . .

William Priedhorsky of Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, told Nature he thought the system would be ineffective when it came to pushing aside especially heavy objects. . . (Full Story)

Project manager: Proposed reactor not like Japan [opinion]

. . . In the shadow of this tragedy, one important passively safe nuclear reactor design needs to be moved to the forefront of future nuclear power reactor options: the high-temperature gas-cooled reactor (HTGR) like that planned for the HT3R (High-Temperature Teaching and Test Reactor) facility.

This HT3R facility is being proposed by the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and Los Alamos National Laboratory, to be located near Andrews as a prototypical “test and qualification” reactor for this nuclear reactor technology. It would provide design data needed to help usher in this advanced concept. (Full Story)

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