Friday, March 6, 2015

Using cosmic radiation to peer inside Fukushima's damaged reactors

IAEA inspectors at the Fukushima Plant. From IAEA.

A team from the Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) is attempting to actually image the innermost reaches of Fukushima by flanking its reactors with two enormous cosmic ray detectors. If successful, the team will be able to tell cleanup crews where each of the melted down nuclear samples has ended up, and how to best approach one of the worst environmental disasters in recent memory.

The cosmic rays in question are called muons—elementary particles so powerful that not even the fusion reaction at the heart of a star nor the explosion of a nuclear bomb can create them.


Boosting light-water reactor research

Volume fraction of a bubble phase in a
fuel rod bundle. LANL image.

Los Alamos National Laboratory as part of the Consortium for the Advanced Simulation of Light Water Reactors (CASL) will now be deployed to industry and academia under a new inter-institutional agreement for intellectual property.

“This agreement streamlines access to the reactor simulation research tools,” said Kathleen McDonald, software business development executive for the Laboratory, “and with a single contact through UT-Battelle, we have a more transparent release process, the culmination of a lengthy effort on the part of all the code authors,” she said.

(Full story)

Tracking, mapping epidemics in order to limit their spread

The measles virus.  From CDC.

A team of scientists at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico are using the new Biosurveillance Gateway Web site to map epidemics in order better to understand and prevent deadly diseases.

The gateway will track outbreaks of ebola, measles, and other diseases, beginning with patient zero. It is the latest development in the field of biosurvelliance, the study of how the emergence and spread of diseases can be plotted, understood, and stopped.

Is iron rain the reason why Earth and the moon are so different?

Artist’s concept of the moon-forming collision. NASA image.

Experiments indicate that the velocity of the iron rain droplets will have been greater than the escape velocity on the moon, but below that of Earth. Earth would therefore have captured the metal cores of colliding asteroids, while the moon will have failed to. William Anderson of Los Alamos National Laboratory, US, said: "The moon may have received, but not retained, a significant portion of the late veneer."

How small but frequent grants are Shaping education
in New Mexico

The EspaƱola-based LANL Foundation has an Educational Outreach Small Grants program that closely ties the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) to communities in northern New Mexico.

The LANL Foundation announced $48,000 in new education grant awards for 2014, which might not sound like a lot, but it’s sure impacting a lot of different local nonprofits.

Six regional businesses receive
Native American Venture Acceleration Fund grants
Phoebe Suina of High Water Mark,
Cochiti Pueblo. LANL photo.

Six Northern New Mexico Native American-owned and operated businesses received a total of $60,000 in grants through a Native American Venture Acceleration Fund created by Los Alamos National Security, LLC (LANS) and the Regional Development Corporation.

The grants are designed to help the recipients create jobs, increase their revenue base and help diversify the area economy.

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