Friday, November 2, 2018

America must invest in R&D, personnel for arms control verification

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test, USAF photo.

The Limited Test Ban Treaty of 1963, signed by the United States, the Soviet Union and the United Kingdom, prohibited nuclear weapons tests “or any other nuclear explosion” in the atmosphere, outer space and underwater. The only problem: We couldn’t verify it — not yet anyway; the technology didn’t exist.

Scientists and engineers at Los Alamos National Laboratory had been working to develop nuclear detonation-detection satellites for four years, but they weren’t ready. So they did what they had to do: They moved quickly. (Full Story)

A group of scientists want to launch a satellite to make an artificial aurora

Northern lights, photo from Popular Mechanics.

The CONNection EXplorer—or CONNEX for short—consists mainly of a satellite that will fire electron particles at the planet. Those particles will be captured by the magnetosphere and make it to the ionosphere as artificial aurora.

“We maybe see very interesting dynamics [in the magnetosphere] and we see very interesting dynamics [in the ionosphere],” says CONNEX team member Gian Luca Delzanno, of Los Alamos National Laboratory. “But we cannot really say whether one is the cause of the other simply because we do not know where those phenomena [in the magnetosphere] map to in the ionosphere.” (Full Story)

Quantum random numbers future-proof encryption

The Laboratory's quantum key encryption device, LANL photo.

Good, truly random numbers make possible encryption strong enough that it might even stand up to other quantum computers. Random number generation is the foundation of a solid technology and a good early starting point for researchers building task-specific quantum computing devices from Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Lancaster University in the U.K.

All three are looking for partners or are in the process of distributing versions of a quantum random number generator (QRNG) able to generate what they call truly random strings of digits, very quickly, with virtually no chance the process could be compromised secretly from outside. (Full Story)

Triad National Security takes the helm today at Los Alamos National Laboratory

Laboratory Director Thom Mason, LANL photo.

Los Alamos National Laboratory begins operations today under a new management and operating (M&O) contract between Triad National Security, LLC (Triad) and the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA). The NNSA awarded the M&O contract to Triad June 8, 2018.

“The new leadership team at Los Alamos is determined to strike the right balance between mission delivery for the nation and safe, operational excellence across the entire Laboratory,” said new Laboratory Director and President of Triad Thom Mason. “We are committed to partnering with the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) as an integral part of the National Security Enterprise.” (Full Story)

Two more from the Daily Post this week:

NNSA recognizes Terry Wallace in special ceremony

NNSA Administrator Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty presents Terry C. Wallace, Jr., with the Gold Award, LANL photo.                

Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, the Department of Energy’s undersecretary for nuclear security and administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, visited Los Alamos National Laboratory today to present Dr. Terry Wallace, outgoing Laboratory director, with the Gold Award, the highest honor that can be bestowed by an NNSA Administrator.  (Full Story)

LANL posts lowest-ever illness and injury rate

LANL graphic.

Los Alamos National Laboratory has posted its lowest-ever monthly illness and injury rate, as documented by the industry standard of Days Away Restricted Transfer Rate (DART) and Total Recordable Case (TRC) rates. The Laboratory’s rates are well below comparable industry averages.

This summer, DOE renewed the Laboratory’s Voluntary Protection Program Star status, making LANL the largest VPP Star site among the 17 national laboratories. The DART rate showed an even more impressive drop of 89 percent, from 1.36 in 2006 to .15 at the end of last month. (Full Story)

College scholarship available for seniors     

Los Alamos Employees’ Scholarship Fund is accepting applications for its 2019 awards in two categories. The Los Alamos National Laboratory Foundation also is offering two $1,000 awards: the Marvin Martin Mueller Endowed Memorial Scholarship for Los Alamos County Police Department employees and family members — as well as other applicants with financial need — and the Abiquiú Land Grant-Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Scholarship of $1,000, offered to descendants of Abiquiú Land Grant families. (Full Story)

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