Friday, May 23, 2014

Are we breathing clean mountain air?

Coal-fueled power plant in northwest New Mexico. From the Herald. 

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have confirmed that the largest polluters in the nation are the two coal-fueled power plants in northwest New Mexico, and they did it from space.

Not only that, they were able to establish that the San Juan Generating Station actually emits a lower level of air pollution and greenhouse gases than its neighbor, the Four Corners Generating Station. (Full Story)

Power plant emissions verified remotely at Four Corners sites

The Four Corners coal-fired power plant, near Farmington, N.M. LANL photo.

To verify emissions from the coal-fired power plants, the Los Alamos team deployed ground-based solar spectrometers and point sensors to measure atmospheric concentrations of gases at a site close to these power plants.

Led by Laboratory senior scientist Manvendra Dubey, the study is the first to show that space-based techniques can successfully verify international regulations on fossil energy emissions. (Full Story)

This story also appeared in PhysOrg

NM labs working to refurbish B61 versions

The B61 gravity bomb.  LANL photo.

Since the 1960s, when the first B61 nuclear bomb was built, there have been 11 versions of the weapon, five of which are still active in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

Sandia, Los Alamos, and the U.S. Air Force are working together on refurbishing the other four bomb models – the B61-3, -4, -7 and -10 – into a single modernized version called the B61-12. (Full Story)

2014 Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund recipients share dreams and gratitude

Charlie McMillan meets Jeanette Varela and Nicolette Gonzales. LANL photo         

Students from across Northern New Mexico attended Monday’s LANL Employees Scholarship Fund kickoff at the Oppenheimer Study Center."I was over the moon ... I'm so beyond grateful," said Eliana Griego of learning that she is a Pete Domenici Scholar and will receive $10,000 over four years.

Since 1999, the fund has awarded $4.5 million to help students in seven Northern New Mexico counties achieve their dreams of attending college. Funding for the Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund comes from donations by LANL employees and a matching amount from Los Alamos National Security, LLC. (Full Story)

Historic Manhattan Project sites at Los Alamos

The Manhattan Project laboratory constructed at Los Alamos, New Mexico, beginning in 1943, was intended from the start to be temporary and to go up with amazing speed.

Because most of those WWII-era facilities were built with minimal materials and so quickly, much of the original infrastructure was torn down in the late '40s and early '50s and replaced by more permanent facilities. Watch the video here.

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