Friday, June 29, 2012

A serious threat to public health

E. coli O157:H7 is one kind of bacteria you don't want in your food.

The strain is one of seven types of E. coli that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has banned in meat and other food products. All seven produce a toxin that has been linked to outbreaks of diarrhea, damaged red blood cells and sometimes kidney failure in people in the U.S. and around the world.

It is up to scientists like Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers Harshini Mukundan and Alina Deshpande to devise tests that can distinguish between the good and the deadly forms of E. coli (full story).

Also from the New Mexican this week:

Buckman alert system to stop storm runoff fromentering city water supply

While Northern New Mexico awaits the arrival of another summer monsoon season, managers of a river diversion project on the Rio Grande are confident an early warning system will prevent any storm water flowing past old Los Alamos National Laboratory waste sites from entering Santa Fe’s drinking water supply.

The system automatically shuts down the Buckman DirectDiversion on the river when flows in Los Alamos Canyon and Pueblo Canyon reach a certain level (full story).

Los Alamos National Lab celebrates 1,000th transuranic waste shipment

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), which is operated by a team led by Bechtel and the University of California, has made its 1,000th shipment of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a permanent repository near Carlsbad, N.M. This is a major environmental milestone for the communities of New Mexico.

LANL has sent record numbers of shipments to WIPP each of the past three years. Since October 2011, the beginning of fiscal year 2012, LANL has sent 147 shipments to WIPP and is on track to surpass the 171-shipment record set for fiscal year 2011 (full story).

Las Conchas fire one year later

While speaking at Los Alamos National Lab Tuesday, Governor Susana Martinez credited firefighters for protecting Los Alamos. No homes were lost around the city.

"So whenever you see a firefighter I'm going to ask you, if you don't mind, turning to them and thanking for them for all theirhard work,” Martinez said (full story).

Gov. applauds removal of waste

Last year’s Las Conchas Fire — at the time the largest recorded wildfire in the state’s history — burned more than 156,000 acres and destroyed 63 homes and 49 other buildings near Los Alamos.

It also sparked increased efforts by Los Alamos National Laboratory, federal agencies and the state to eliminate radioactive waste stored above ground on LANL property.

On Tuesday — exactly a year after the fire started when a tree in the Jemez Mountains fell across a power line — Gov. Susana Martinez visited the lab to commemorate the 1,000th shipment of transuranic waste from LANL (full story).

LANL removing radioactive waste

On the one-year anniversary of the Las Conchas fire, Los Alamos National Laboratory announced it’s moving along with its plan to remove radioactive waste from its dump site.

Fear ignited last summer when Las Conchas flames were less than four miles away from the waste. On Tuesday, the 1,014th shipment left the lab to be stored at WIPP in Carlsbad.

"We have a plan and we are moving forward with that plan. In fact, we are ahead of schedule," lab director Charles McMillan said (full story).

LANL celebrates 1,000th TRU waste shipment to WIPP

Gov. Susana Martinez was in attendance Tuesday but there was another governor that was just as thrilled to commemorate the 1,000th shipment of transuranic (TWU) waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory.

San Ildefonso Governor Terry Aguilar, whose pueblo borders the lab, had the distinction of being on hand for the first shipment back in 1999 (full story).

Also from the Monitor this week:

Tech innovations pull down more ‘R&D 100′ recognitions

Technology innovations at Los Alamos National Laboratory have been recognized with three of R&D Magazine’s 2012 “R&D 100” awards.

“These awards demonstrate the continued success of Los Alamos researchers and partners in defining the frontiers of innovation across a wide range of national security science,” LANL Director Charlie McMillan said (full story).

Sifting through a trillion electrons

Modern research tools like supercomputers, particle colliders, and telescopes are generating so much data, so quickly, many scientists fear that soon they will not be able to keep upwith the deluge.

Berkeley Lab’s Computational Research Division teamed up with researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory and others to develop novel software strategies for storing, mining, and analyzing massive datasets (full story).

LANS donates to over 230 nonprofits

LANS contributions are determined by the number of volunteer hours logged by LANL employees and retirees through an organization called VolunteerMatch.

“The genuine care and commitment Laboratory employees and retirees have for their communities are clearly demonstrated by the number of hours volunteered to these nonprofit  organizations,” said Kurt Steinhaus, director of the Community Programs Office (full story).

Los Alamos offers a model for how to charge for cloud services

One way might be to embrace user diversity and focus on how they conduct business. At least, that is how theEnergy Department’s Los Alamos National Laboratory approached chargeback (full story).

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