Friday, May 27, 2011

New director named for Los Alamos lab

Charles McMillan. LANL photo.

56-year-old nuclear weapons program veteran will take over the helm of Los Alamos National Laboratory next week, inheriting a tradition that goes back to the famed tenure of physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer.

"This laboratory is rich with history, full of intellectual vitality, and singularly endowed with an innovative spirit," said Charles McMillan in a statement issued Thursday afternoon after officials announced his selection. (
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Much progress claimed in quest for hydrogen fuel

Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers Gang Wu, left, and Piotr Zelenay examine the data. LANL photo.

ommercial hydrogen production today requires the use of platinum as a catalyst, which now sells for about $18,000 an ounce.

Following a different course, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory have had some success experimenting with a compound of carbon, iron and cobalt as a [less expensive] catalyst. (
Full Story)

Projects in profusion: A skeptical look at 3 wild fusion-energy schemes

Schematic of a LANL magnetized target fusion system. LANL image.

esearchers have studied magnetized target fusion since the 1970s. Another variant, currently pursued by researchers at Los Alamos National Laboratory, eschews the liquid metal and mechanical compressors, instead using a magnetic pulse to implode a metal cylinder. (
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Bomb technicians compete while learning valuable skills

Several law enforcement agencies and their robots were put the test on Wednesday for the 5th Annual Robot Rodeo out at Sandia National Laboratories.

Six law enforcement teams were put to the test in ten challenging scenarios. Bob Clark with Los Alamos Labs said, "A bomb tech can be faced with anything. And anything that we do affects the public because were keeping the public safe." (
See the video here!)

Robot rodeo

he fifth annual Western National Robot Rodeo is a four day, 10-event technical competition for bomb squads and other public safety organizations that use hazardous duty robots.

The rodeo is a partnership among Sandia's Robotic and Security Systems Department, Los Alamos National Laboratory's Emergency Response Group and the International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators Region II. (
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Plutonium lab work gets go-ahead

The location of the proposed CMRR-nuclear facility is shown adjacent to the RLUOB and plutonium facility at TA-55. LANL image.

n Albuquerque judge Monday gave the green light to continue work on a proposed Los Alamos plutonium lab, dismissing a lawsuit by activists attempting to halt the project while new environmental studies are completed. U.S. District Judge Judith Herrera ruled that a new analysis being completed by the National Nuclear Security Administration is sufficient to meet federal law. (
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Lab touts pollution reductions

enny Hjeresen of the Los Alamos National Laboratory probably summed it best Tuesday night at the Cities of Gold conference room when in the middle of his presentation, he said, “we have the most sampled sites on earth.”

Hjeresen, the division leader for environmental protection at LANL, was describing how the lab is complying with a new EPA storm water permit that regulates runoff at several hundred
Cold War-era environmental sites. (Full Story)

Also from the Monitor this week:

Historical figures immortalized in bronze

J. Robert Oppenheimer’s grandson Charles Oppenheimer checks out the work of sculptor Susann Vertel. Monitor photo.

ouncil Chair Sharon Stover leaned down and handed the red ribbon to Lucy Oppenheimer, the great grand daughter of Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer. Lucy smiled as she held the ribbon in her hands. The ribbon that was cut had been around the new bronze statues of Oppenheimer and General Leslie B. Groves, the two World War II leaders whose partnership built the atomic bomb as part of the Manhattan Project. (
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