Friday, October 23, 2015

How do you find plutonium? Go to nuclear inspector school

TA-66, LANL photo.

IAEA Inspectors must learn everything about plutonium — the civilian kind, which is used in some power reactors, and also the kind used in nuclear weapons. Los Alamos has plenty of both.   Behind barbed wire and security checkpoints, the eight inspectors are working in an anonymous-looking building known as "Technical Area 66."

Peter Santi, who is heading the training for Los Alamos, takes me across the classroom to pick up some pure plutonium oxide. It’s sealed in a metal container about the size of a paint can. (Full Story)

Big quakes can trigger other shakes thousands of miles sway

Geologic fault system in Utah. From Smithsonian.

On April 11, 2012, an 8.6 magnitude earthquake in the Indian Ocean shook the Sumatran coast. Only a day later—3,900 miles (6,230 km) away—seismologists detected a set of smaller temblors rattling the eastern coast of Japan.

But this was no aftershock, those smaller rumblings that usually occur in the aftermath of an intense seismic event. Yet the two quakes may still have been related, according to a team of researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

"In any kind of fault, you have everything from fractured rock to granular material," says Andrew A. Delorey, a geophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory who led the recent study. (Full Story)

Researchers find cascading elastic perturbation likely contributed to small earthquakes in Japan

Seismicity in Japan detected with inter-station seismic coherence. By Andrew Delorey.

A team of researchers with members from Los Alamos National Laboratory, MIT and the University of Tokyo, has found evidence that suggests elastic disturbance caused by one earthquake may be one of the causes of another earthquake occurring in a far distant location.

In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes their study of seismic activity in Japan following an earthquake that occurred in the Indian Ocean, just days before. (Full Story)

Also in R&D Magazine

Rings of fire: New explosives provide enhanced safety, high energy

Explosives chemist David Chavez, LANL Photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory explosives chemist David Chavez has synthesized a pair of novel molecules, one possessing a unique fused three-ring structure. These materials could usher in a new class of explosives that provide high-energy output with enhanced safety.

"There is a general trend that the higher the performance of an energetic material, the more sensitive the material is to insults such as impact, spark and friction," Chavez said. (Full Story)

Also in the Los Alamos Daily Post

Lab directors speak at 20-year stockpile stewardship anniversary event

Oct. 20, LANL Director Charlie McMillan, along with the directors of LLNL and Sandia, spoke at an event marking the 20th anniversary of the nation’s stockpile stewardship program. Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz also gave remarks.

With funding from ASCI, the computer industry has already installed three computer systems, one at Sandia National Laboratories (built by Intel), one at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (an SGI-Cray computer), and another at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) (an IBM computer), that can sustain more than 1 teraflops on real applications. (Full Story)

Penguin Computing to build 7-9 petaflops of open compute clusters for NNSA

Penguin Tundra server sled, from Inside HPC

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has announced a contract with Penguin Computing for a set of large-scale Open Compute HPC clusters. With 7-to-9 Petaflops of aggregate peak performance, the systems will be installed as part of NNSA’s tri-laboratory Commodity Technology Systems program. Scheduled for installation starting next year, the systems will bolster computing for national security at Los Alamos, Sandia and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories. (Full Story)

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