Friday, August 27, 2010

Lab sets record for ‘getting waste off the hill’

Los Alamos National Laboratory said it set a new LANL record Friday by completing its 132nd transuranic waste shipment of fiscal year 2010. The waste is shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad (full story).

Also this week in the Monitor:

LANL innovators honored at Tech Transfer Awards

The Los Alamos National Laboratory innovators were recognized for distinguished patents, licenses and copyrights, and both programmatic and regional impact.

Terry Wallace, principal associate director for Science Technology and Engineering, hosted the event, which featured keynote speaker Wendolyn Holland of the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (full story).

Isotope shortage could jeopardize care

Scientists fear that a global shortage of radioactive isotopes, required for the 20 million medical scans and treatments done each year, could jeopardize patient care and drive up health care costs. . . .

"Although the public may not be fully aware, we are in the midst of a global shortage of medical and other isotopes," said Robert Atcher, Ph.D. [of Los Alamos National Laboratory], director of the National Isotope Development Center, the U.S. Department of Energy unit responsible for production of isotopes nationwide (full story).

Uranium found seeping into wells

Around Santa Fe, a test of 475 wells last year found several with elevated uranium, but nothing compared to wells tested subsequently in Nambé and Pojoaque.

The testing and analysis were part of New Mexico Small Business Assistance project between LANL and the Good Water Company of Santa Fe, which designs, installs and services water-purification systems (full story).

Students learn to apply bridge expertise

NMSU's civil engineering department also collaborates with the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the United States Army Corp of Engineers to conduct special, in-depth safety inspection of bridges owned by those agencies (full story).

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Friday, August 20, 2010

LANL repackages 160 containers of plutonium

Plutonium 238 is typically used as a power source for long-range space flights. When heated, it appears to glow. LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory has fixed one of its biggest nuclear safety problems, according to federal nuclear safety auditors. The lab has finished repackaging 160 containers of plutonium that might in the past have been at risk of overheating. (Full Story - the Albuquerque Journal requires viewing an ad or a subscription to read full stories)

LANL may spend $1.7 billion on environmental cleanup

One of the largest current cleanup projects is the demolition of unused buildings at technical area 21. LANL photo.

os Alamos National Laboratory flexed its economic muscles Thursday, holding out expectations for spending $1.7 billion dollars between now and the end of 2015 to finish its comprehensive environmental cleanup project. (
Full Story)

Visalia company launches new seed treatment

Cantaloupe seedlings treated with Take-Off (left) grow larger
than untreated plants. LANL photo.

Building off of Biagro Western's "Take Off" technology first produced at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, “Take Off” works best on cereals, oil crops, sugar crops, cotton and forage crops to also increase early nutrient acquisition. (Full Story)

Nobel winner takes 'time' for Oppenheimer memorial

The Royal Swedish Academy for Sciences awarded Ahmed Zewail the Nobel Prize in 1999. Nobel photo.

Oppenheimer, said Dr. Duncan McBranch, who introduced Ahmed H. Zewail, "set a theme for Los Alamos." Among those themes, scientists have an obligation to explain the impact of their discoveries.

Zewail spoke Monday at the J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee 40th Memorial Lecture. His topic? "Mysteries and Miracles of Time." (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor this week:

San Ildefonso Pueblo goes back to its future

t's part of a program with the Department of Education, funded in part by Los Alamos National Laboratory and National Geographic magazine, in which students flock from all over the country to get first-hand lessons in traditional crop farming and food preparation and the language of Tewa. (Full Story)

'Journey to the center of the sun'

The next meeting of the Los Alamos Geological Society will feature Joyce A. Guzik, Ph.D., of Los Alamos National Laboratory who will give a talk entitled, “Journey to the Center of the Sun.”

Guzik joined X-division at Los Alamos National Laboratory in 1988. She has a doctorate in astrophysics from Iowa State University and bachelor's degrees in physics, math and Russian studies from Cornell College in Mt. Vernon, Iowa. (Full Story)

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Friday, August 13, 2010

Nuclear weapon simulator runs test

A nuclear-weapon research tool at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico produced five high-quality images in support of U.S. stockpile stewardship efforts, the National Nuclear Security Administration announced yesterday. The radiographs, produced using two electron accelerators at the laboratory's Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrotest Facility, focused on a "surrogate-material implosion system," according to an agency press release (full story).

Solar power in Los Alamos

A 15-acre array of solar panels will be built next year in Los Alamos, for a project intended to advance ideas on efficiently storing and utilizing solar power in communities. The $27 million "smart grid" system is a collaboration between the county, Los Alamos National Laboratory and a Japanese energy company (full story—requires subscription or view of advertisement).

Recovery jobs at LANL to top 500

The lab received $212 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act money to help avoid falling behind in its environmental cleanup obligations. Later this summer, lab officials said they planned to hire 12 additional crews, adding 125 workers to the project and bringing the total of jobs saved or created to as many as 533 (full story).

Mimicking the Moon’s surface in the basement

A team of scientists used an ion beam in a basement room at Los Alamos National Laboratory to simulate solar winds on the surface of the Moon. The table-top simulation helped confirm that the Moon is inherently dry (full story).

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Friday, August 6, 2010

Rocky hint of a waterless Moon

LANL's Ion Beam Materials Laboratory is supported by the DOE Office of Basic Energy Science. LANL photo.

Another twist has emerged in the debate over whether there is water inside the Moon. Researchers studying lunar samples from the Apollo missions have used chlorine isotope measurements to conclude that the Moon is bone dry after all — corroborating scientists' original assumptions from the 1970s, but contradicting more recent studies of the Moon's water content. (Full Story)

Note: This research is co-authored by Yongqiang Wang, leader of Los Alamos’ Ion Beam Materials Lab. See the
LANL news release here.

Zurek awarded Albert Einstein Professorship Prize

Wojeich Zurek. Photo from Nature.

Wojciech Zurek of Los Alamos National Laboratory's Theoretical Division has been awarded the Albert Einstein Professorship Prize by the Foundation of the University of Ulm in Germany.

Zurek was recognized for his outstanding scientific achievements in the foundations of quantum theory and the relation between the quantum and classical physics that were among Albert Einstein's research interests. (
Full Story)

Biagro Western launches patented "Take Off" seed treatment

Cantaloupe seedlings treated with Take-Off (left) outstrip their same-age but untreated neighbors on the right. LANL photo.

Take Off -- a metabolic signaling compound developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico -- is a long-lasting and economical seed treatment for cereals, oil crops, sugar crops, cotton and forage crops.

Biagro Western has recently developed a patented new seed treatment that will increase crop emergence, improve stress tolerance, and combat other key issues facing growers today. (
Full Story)

Sounds better than light

DNA fragments flowing through the cytometer pass across a focusing lens and exit the tubing at the top. LANL photo.

A research team at Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M., and Acoustic Cytometry Systems, Santa Fe, N.M., has created a ... Portable Acoustic Cytometer (PAC) that's a fully capable miniature flow cytometer using a piezoceramic acoustic source to reduce the size, complexity, and cost of the device. The PAC replaces the traditional hydrodynamic flow cytometer focusing with acoustic focusing. (Full Story)

Lab wraps up 1st clean-up project

Demolition of the TSTA facility was completed ahead of schedule. LANL photo.

The first of four major environmental clean-up projects at Los Alamos National Laboratory has been completed. The $13 million project involved demolition of an 18,000-square-foot former nuclear fusion research facility, according to a written statement from LANL. (Full Story)

Los Alamos National Laboratory seeks funding ideas

Los Alamos National Laboratory is accepting "idea statements" for new grants from its venture acceleration fund. Launched in December 2007, the fund provides seed money to help northern New Mexico businesses obtain connections to LANL technology or expertise. (Full Story)

Portales firefighters hone skills at Hazmat competition

Portales firefighters Mike Chaves and Dathan Culpepper at the 14th annual HazMat Challenge at Los Alamos National Laboratories last week. Portales Fire Department photo.

"The training facilities that they have there at LANL and the props are so lifelike, you can't find this kind of training anywhere else," said Portales Fire Department Lt. Floyd Hancock, the team leader. "And even though it's in a competition setting, it's a huge learning experience for us." (Full Story)

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