Environment

Even When It’s Out Of Commission, Everybody Wants A Piece Of WIPP

Beatrice Brailsford, left, of the Snake River Alliance and Tom Clements, right, of Savannah River Site Watch teamed up last week for nuclear waste site visits with their New Mexico counterpart, Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety program at the Southwest Research and Information Center in Albuquerque. Photo by Roger Snodgrass/ladailypost.com

By ROGER SNODGRASS

Los Alamos Daily Post
 
Twenty months after a truck fire and a Valentine’s Day radiation release almost half a mile underground, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico is still out of business

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Energy Department Invests More Than $20 Million To Advance Fuel Cell Technologies

Assistant Secretary, Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy David Danielson

DOE News:

The Energy Department announced Thursday a new report that shows the fuel cell industry is continuing to grow at an unprecedented rate, totaling more than $2.2 billion in sales in 2014.

In order to further expand on this emerging market, the Department also announced the investment of more than $20 million in 10 projects to advance fuel cell and hydrogen technologies, and enable early adoption of fuel cell applications such as light-duty fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). 

These projects will


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WIPP’s Mine Rescue Team Wins Top Honors at National Competition

WIPP New:

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Blue Mine Rescue team competed in the Missouri Regional Underground Mine Rescue Competition last week bringing home top honors in the field and first aid competitions.

They also took the “Best Out of State” and the Governor’s traveling trophy. The competition included 22 nationally ranked mine rescue teams representing Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Mississippi.

WIPP has two mine rescue teams, designated as the Blue and Red teams. In an underground facility


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Simpler Way To Estimate Feedback Between Permafrost Carbon And Climate

Although permafrost carbon has the potential to be a huge player in the planet’s climate, it’s difficult to predict the amount that will enter the atmosphere for a given increase in temperature. This photo was taken near Barrow, Alaska. Courtesy/Berkeley Lab
 
BERKLEY LAB News:
 
One of the big unknowns in predicting climate change is the billions of tons of carbon frozen in Arctic permafrost.
 
As global warming causes soil temperatures to increase, some of this carbon will decompose and enter the atmosphere and accelerate climate change.
 
Although permafrost carbon

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Saturday: Interior Secretary Jewell Celebrates Valles Caldera’s Addition To National Park Service

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell

U.S. DEPT. OF INTERIOR News:

SANTA FE – U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell is visiting the Valles Caldera Saturday, Oct. 10.

Jewell will join U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, former U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, tribal, state and local officials, and other conservation and community leaders to celebrate the inclusion of the Valles Caldera National Preserve as part of the National Park System.

The dedication ceremony is 11 a.m. in the Valle Grande Contact Station Parking Area

Valles Caldera National Preserve was established


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Lujan Grisham Opens Hearing On 2015 Fire Season

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham

U.S. CONGRESSIONAL News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham delivered the following opening statement during today’s Agriculture Committee Subcommittee on Conservation & Forestry. As the ranking member on the committee, Lujan Grisham kicked off the hearing to review 2015 fire season and long-term trends.  

—As Prepared for Delivery—

“Thank you Mr. Chairman. I really appreciate you calling today’s hearing to review the 2015 fire season and long-term wildfire trends. Although wildfires have occasionally been discussed in


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Los Alamos-lead Consortium Works To Enhance Fuel Cell Technology

Rod Borup, left, and David Langlois simulate drive cycles on a fuel cell test station at LANL to understand how carbon corrosion affects catalyst stability. Balancing durability and cost is a key challenge for the success of hydrogen-powered electric cars. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

  • Alternative energy key to greener future

Los Alamos National Laboratory is leading a Department of Energy – Fuel Cells Technologies Office-funded project to enhance the performance and durability of polymer electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cells, while simultaneously reducing their cost.

“The cost


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Clear View Of Mount Sharp On Mars

Photo credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA News:

A composite image looking toward the higher regions of Mount Sharp on Mars was taken Sept. 9 by NASA’s Curiosity rover.

In the foreground — about 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the rover — is a long ridge teeming with hematite, an iron oxide. Just beyond is an undulating plain rich in clay minerals. And just beyond that are a multitude of rounded buttes, all high in sulfate minerals. The changing mineralogy in these layers of Mount Sharp suggests a changing environment in early Mars, though all involve exposure to water billions


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Road Map Meeting For Monitoring Gold King Mine Spill’s Effects In New Mexico Oct. 20

NMED News:

SANTA FE – The State of New Mexico’s Long-Term Impact Review Team, named by Gov. Susana Martinez during the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gold King Mine Spill last August, is developing a road map for continuing environmental monitoring activities.

The Road Map meeting is 5:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 20 San Juan College, Rooms 9008 & 9010 at the Henderson Fine Arts Center, 4601 College Boulevard in Farmington.

Through working together and sharing ideas and information based on the public’s input and different agencies’ areas of expertise, we’ll be able to better ensure that


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Visit Bandelier Free During ‘Senior Skip Day’ In National Parks Oct. 8

New arrivals enter the Bandelier Visitor Center. Courtesy/NPS Photo

BANDELIER News:

 

Usually “Senior Skip Day” is a day when high school seniors play hooky. This Thursday, Oct. 8, it will be an opportunity for senior citizens 62 and over, nationwide, to visit National Park units for free.
 
By inviting senior citizens out to the National Park System, “Senior Skip Day” is being promoted by health-care company Humana, for improving the health of the communities they serve.
 
“National parks are great resources offering a range of healthy experiences for people of all

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Kajita And McDonald Receive Nobel Prize In Physics

SCIENCE News:

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2015 “for the discovery of neutrino oscillations, which shows that neutrinos have mass” to:

Takaaki Kajita, Super-Kamiokande Collaboration University of Tokyo, Kashiwa, Japan; and

 

 

 

 

Arthur B. McDonald, Sudbury Neutrino Observatory Collaboration Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada.

Metamorphosis in the particle world

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2015 recognises Takaaki Kajita in Japan and Arthur B. McDonald in Canada, for their key contributions to the experiments,


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LANL EM Support Contract Goes To Sigma Science

DOE News:

CINCINNATI  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the award of an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contract to Sigma Science Inc. (SSI) of Los Alamos.

SSI is a Small Business Administration (SBA) Certified 8(a) Program Participant. The contract will have a maximum value of $4 million with a five year ordering period. Firm-fixed-price and time-and-material task orders may be issued from the basic contract.

SSI has 18 years of experience providing nuclear safety, operations, maintenance, engineering, environmental management, project


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Lecture On Past, Present And Potential Future Of America’s Red Rock Wilderness Oct. 6

Cedar Mesa Ruins 2. Photo by James Kay

PEEC News:

Some of the most stunning landscapes in the US are found in the red rock canyon country of southern Utah, yet, most of this magnificent region lies unprotected.

Terri Martin from the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance, will show stunning images of Utah’s red rocks Tuesday, Oct. 6, as she tells the story of a citizens’ campaign to protect this area, an important resource for outdoor recreation and history. This lecture is 7 p.m. at the Los Alamos Nature Center, 2600 Canyon Road. Participants also will see a short film about the red rock region, narrated


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Nobel Prize In Medicine Announced Today

Youyou Tu searched ancient literature on herbal medicine in her quest to develop novel malaria therapies. The plant Artemisia annua turned out to be an interesting candidate, and Tu developed a purification procedure, which rendered the active agent, Artemisinin, a drug that is remarkably effective against Malaria. Courtesy/nobelprize.org

SCIENCE News:

The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with one half jointly to

  • William C. Campbell and Satoshi Ōmura for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against

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Wildland Division Chief Ramon Garcia Leads Hike In Prescribed Burn Site Behind Nature Center Oct. 6

Smoke plume from the prescribed burn Sept. 28, one hour after initial ignition. Courtesy/PEEC

Smoke rising up from the forest a few hours after the prescribe burn started. Courtesy/PEEC

PEEC News:

Was the recent prescribed burn successful? What does it look like now? Wildland Division Chief Ramon Garcia will answer these questions and more Tuesday, Oct. 6 during a guided hike into the burned area.

The hike will leave at 5:30 p.m. from the Los Alamos Nature Center to explore areas touched by the recent fire and compare them with parts of the forest left unburned. Participants will return by 6:30


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Santa Fe National Forest Issues Closure Order To Protect New Mexico Meadow Jumping Mouse Habitat

New Mexico meadow jumping mouse. Courtesy/fws.gov

SFNF News:

SANTA FE – The Santa Fe National Forest today issued a closure order for four areas on the Jemez Ranger District that have been identified as occupied habitat for the endangered New Mexico meadow jumping mouse.

The closure areas are located along the Rio Cebolla and San Antonio Creek in the Jemez Mountains. In October 2014, the Forest constructed temporary fences in marshy areas along the Rio Cebolla and San Antonio Creek to protect the mouse’s habitat. The US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) listed the mouse as an endangered species


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Dances Of India 2015 At Smith Auditorium Oct. 18

Dances of India 2015 performs Oct. 18 at the Duane Smith Auditorium. Courtesy/Henrik Sandin Photography

COMMUNITY News:

The community is invited to Dances of India 2015, 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, at the Duane Smith Auditorium in Los Alamos.

This year we will be performing a dance-drama inspired by the movie Toy Story, called Doll Story and will showcase Indian classical dance forms, folk dances, bollywood and belly dance. There also will be a small Indian bazaar 3-3:45 p.m. before the show. 

Admission is FREE, but donations in all forms (cash, check) will be much appreciated.


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Study Reveals Urban Smoke Absorbs Sunlight, Exacerbating Climate Warming

A new study by a science team led by LANL stresses the importance of understanding mixed black and brown carbon in smoke emissions for climate models. The particulates found in urban smoke are especially prone to absorbing sunlight and having a heating effect on the planet. A measurement station, shown here (Detling, UK), is one of several deployed in the UK throughout the study. Photo courtesy Manvendra Dubey/LANL

LANL News:

  • First Field Demonstration Of Warming Caused By Soot And Brown Carbon

Cloaking urban areas and wildfire zones, tiny smoke particles suspended in the atmosphere have a


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Tree Death Impact Studied In Forests Worldwide

Large trees suffer more than small trees during and after droughts, and while theories had suggested this should be a globally consistent pattern, a new study confirms the concept with a worldwide survey of 38 forests. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

In forests worldwide, drought consistently has had a more detrimental impact on the growth and survival of larger trees, new research shows.

In addition, while the death of small trees may affect the dominance of trees in a landscape, the death of large trees has a far worse impact on the ecosystem and climate’s health, especially due to the important role


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NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows On Present Day Mars

Courtesy/NASA
 
NASA News:
 
New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present day Mars.

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees


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