Friday, January 25, 2019

US military eyes tiny nuclear reactors for deployed troops

A truck-sized mini reactor design, LANL image.

Los Alamos National Lab is working toward new designs for modular nuclear power. Andy Erickson, the deputy principal associate director of Global Security at Los Alamos, recently forecast that microreactors could be ready for deployment in “less than five years.”

Last October, the U.S. Army declared that small, mobile nuclear reactors present “a classic example of disruptive innovation,” their study said, “The return of nuclear power to the Army and DOD will have a significant impact on the Army, our allies, the international community, commercial power industry, and the nation.” (Full Story)

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Flu forecasting models consistently more accurate than historical baseline models

The influenza A virus.

In a multi-institution collaboration assessing 22 distinct influenza forecasting models across 7 flu seasons, investigators have found that the majority of models consistently showed higher accuracy than historical baseline models.

A team of investigators from that includes the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Carnegie Mellon University, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Centers for Disease Control and many others collaborated on the project, which compared the accuracy of weekly real-time forecasts assembled between 2010 and 2017 to a historical baseline seasonal average.

"The field of infectious disease forecasting is in its infancy and we expect that innovation will spur improvements in forecasting in the coming years," the authors write in their report published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (Full Story)

Los Alamos physicist Michelle Thomsen wins the 2019 Arctowski Medal

Michelle Thomsen, PSI photo.

Michelle F. Thomsen, Planetary Science Institute and Los Alamos National Laboratory, will receive the 2019 Arctowski Medal.

Over the past 40 years, Thomsen has made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the relationships between the sun and its planetary bodies, with a particular emphasis on the physics of collisionless shocks and the dynamics of the planetary magnetospheres of Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Beginning with her graduate work, Thomsen analyzed data from the early planetary missions Pioneer 10 and 11 and made some of the initial discoveries of the characteristics of the magnetospheres of Jupiter and Saturn that became the foundation for later missions and analyses. (Full Story)

Federal labs an essential part of New Mexico's economy

Laboratory Director Thom Mason, LANL photo.

“Los Alamos National Laboratory is a key economic driver in the region, and we are committed to both growing the local workforce and strengthening the local companies that are crucial in supporting the work we do," said Los Alamos Director Thom Mason

There’s a lot of cool science and research going on at the national laboratories based in New Mexico. It ranges from Los Alamos National Lab’s role in ushering in the nuclear age to the hypersonic vehicle Sandia National Labs is pioneering. (Full Story)

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