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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Friday, June 22, 2012

LANL hosts robot rodeo for police agencies

Click on the picture to see the video

A robot rodeo might sound like a good time, but several New Mexico law enforcement agencies used the event hosted by Los Alamos National Labs for serious training. "It's easier to replace a robot than it is to replace an arm or a leg on a human," said Chris Ory of LANL' hazardous devices team.  Eight law enforcement agencies from across the state were set up in a meth lab scenario where something goes wrong. (Full Story)

Also from KOB-TV this week:

Los Alamos exhibit showcases first hand accounts from wildfire survivors

Click on the picture to see the video

People from Los Alamos and anywhere else now have a chance to be showcased in a museum.

It's a new wildfire exhibit at the Los Alamos National Laboratory's Bradbury Science Museum.

Museum director Linda Deck is one of the first people you'll see on exhibit recounting her personal account of the Las Conchas fire which caused the complete evacuation of Los Alamos in June 2011. (Full Story)

Bomb-squad teams square off in Robot Rodeo's sandwich-making competition

A robot attempts to pour Gatorade at the 2012 Robot Rodeo.  New Mexican photo.

On Tuesday, on a remote section of lab property, eight bomb-squad teams (including one from the New Jersey State Police) began competing against each other in the sixth annual Western National Robot Rodeo at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Their tasks in the three-day event range from the whimsical to the very practical and serious. Each scenario is 1 1/2 hours, and there are 12 scheduled. (Full Story)

Also from the Santa Fe New Mexican this week:

LANL Foundation grants $2.1M to schools

The Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation has announced $2.1 million in grants to public schools in seven Northern New Mexico counties to teach science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The educational effort, known as STEM, promotes teacher training, curriculum development, technology in the classroom and support to students to prepare them for science- and math-related careers. (Full Story)

LANL bestows funds on HydroBio, Vapour Organic Beauty, Integrative Enzymatics

Three small New Mexico companies have received a total of $195,000 in funding from a Los Alamos National Laboratory    program that helps start ups get traction in the marketplace.

The money comes from the Venture Acceleration Fund (VAF) from Los Alamos National Security LLC which provides $1 million in annual funding to small businesses in northern New Mexico. (Full Story)

Newest Los Alamos Facility Receives LEED® Gold Certification

The LEED Gold building at LANL.  LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s newest facility, the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building (RLUOB), is also its first to achieve both the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) status and LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

From its robust design to its advanced scientific equipment, RLUOB is essential to the Laboratory’s national security mission in support of the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) nuclear weapons program. (Full Story)

RLUOB first building at lab to receive distinction

The RLUOB mass spectrometry lab.  LANL photo.

At more than 200,000 square feet, this building is the only radiological facility within the Department of Energy to have attained LEED Gold, which contributes to NNSA’s achievement toward the high performance sustainable building goals outlined in Executive Order 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance. (Full Story)

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Study finds new evidence supporting impact theory

An 18-member international team of researchers that includes Robert E. Hermes of Los Alamos National Laboratory has discovered melt-glass material in Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Syria, and is the result of a cosmic body impacting Earth.

"The melt material also matches melt-glass produced by the Trinity nuclear airburst of 1945 in Socorro, New Mexico," he continued. "The extreme temperatures required are equal to those of an atomic bomb blast, high enough to make sand melt and boil." (full story)

Got mass? Princeton scientists observe electrons become both heavy and speedy

The Princeton-led team, which included scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the University of California-Irvine, used direct imaging of electron waves in acrystal.

The researchers did so not only to watch the electrons gain mass but also to show that the heavy electrons are actually composite objects made of two entangled forms of the electron (full story).

New tech at Y-12 could save millions of dollars

The process is called Nondestructive Laser Gas Sampling (NDLGS) and is capable of assessing the internal gas constituents of hazardous components in a nondestructive manner. NDLGS demonstrated first use on a W76 Retrofit Evaluation System Test unit on May 3.

The new system, which is deployed at NNSA’s Y-12 facility, was made possible through collaboration among scientists and engineers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Y-12 and the Pantex Plant (full story).

LANS, LLC gives foundation $250K for scholarships

Los Alamos National Security, LLC through its employee gift-match program, has given $250,000 to the Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation to award scholarships to help students in seven counties pursue a higher education (full story).

LANL building achieves LEED Gold certification

Los Alamos National Laboratory’s newest building, the Radiological Laboratory Utility Office Building, is its first to achieve both the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design status and LEED Gold certification from the U.S. GreenBuilding Council.

The 200,000 square foot building contains laboratories for analytical chemistry of special nuclear material, along with offices, training and emergency operations (full story).

Los Alamos exhibit captures wildfire stories

The Bradbury Science Museum in Los Alamos will host an opening reception Wednesday for its new exhibit, Living With Wildfire: Share Your Stories.

The exhibit opens nearly a year after the Las Conchas Fire, which started June 26, 2011, and burned a large area of the Jemez Mountains (full story).

Energy agency builds its own social network

The Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration is utilizing cloud-based social networking tools to allow the NNSA’s workforce to collaborate and work from any device, at any time.

Created at LANL, the cloud broker platform takes server automation to the next level by allowing researchers or scientists to log on and provision a virtual server in 30 minutes as opposed to 30 days, said LANL’s Anil Karmel (full story).

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Friday, June 8, 2012

Computer simulations of hurricane lightning could be the key to predicting and avoiding the storms' real-world punch

Time evolution of the primary convective activity (white) and lightning (red dots) for Hurricane Rita. LANL image.
Jon Reisner, a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, is building the biggest, meanest hurricane model he can, one that grows over the sea from a relatively weak category 1 to a crushing, city-swamping category 5 by the time it makes landfall. He wants everything a hurricane has to offer, from violent, convective updrafts that turn vast quantities of tropical water vapor into ice, to the massive vortex’s swirling eye wall. (Full Story)

Northern lights process like untangling twisted strands of spaghetti?

Diffuse gas—called plasma—flows outward from the sun asthe “solar wind."  NASA image.
Jack Scudder, UI professor of physics and astronomy, and his colleagues – including Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Bill Daughton – have reached a milestone in describing how the northern lights work by way of a process called “magnetic reconnection.” (Full Story)

See a video about magnetic reconnection research by Bill Daughton at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Also from Science Daily this week:
Precise measurement of radiation damage on materials

Model of the electronic wake (blue surfaces) generated byan energetic proton (red sphere) traveling in an aluminum crystal (yellow spheres). LLNL image.
LLNL’s Alfredo Correa along with colleagues Alfredo Caro from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Jorge Kohanofffrom the UK and Emilio Artacho and Daniel S├ínchez-Portal from Spain, have directly simulated this quantum friction of the electrons in a real material for the very first time. (Full Story)

LANL raises bar with May shipments

More transuranic waste heads for WIPP.  LANL image.
Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Transuranic Waste Program is looking at another record-setting month for the amount of TRU waste leaving Area G, and headed off the hill to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for permanent disposal. LANL exceeded its planned removal of TRU waste from Area G in April, shipping more than 91 cubic meters of waste to WIPP — more than the lab has ever shipped there in a single month. (Full Story)

New Mexico Small Business Assistance program recognized by U.S. Department of Commerce

The New Mexico Small Business Assistance (NMSBA) program, a collaboration of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Sandia National Laboratories and the state of New Mexico, received the 2012 Manufacturing Advocate of the Year award from the Manufacturing Extension Partnership under the U.S. Department of Commerce. (Full Story)

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