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Environment

DOE Issues RFI For Low-Level Waste/Mixed Low-Level Waste Disposal 2018 Procurement

on September 15, 2016 - 8:15am
DOE News:
 
CINCINNATI, OHIO  The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Environmental Management Consolidated Business Center (EMCBC) has issued a Sources Sought/Request for Information (RFI) seeking interested parties with the specialized capabilities necessary to meet the requirements for the Low-Level Waste/Mixed Low-Level Waste (LLW/MLLW) Disposal (2018) procurement.
 
This effort will require contractors to safely dispose of LLW/MLLW; Section 11e.(2) byproduct material; technologically-enhanced, naturally-occurring radioactive material (TENORM); and sealed sources.
 
DOE is seeking

Prescribed Burn Planned On Cuba Ranger District

on September 14, 2016 - 9:01am
SFNF News:
 
Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to conduct the Cedar Springs prescribed burn on the Cuba Ranger District sometime between Sept. 23 and Oct. 1. That window is dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts.
 
The 2,187-acre Cedar Springs prescribed burn is approximately five miles northeast of the community of Llaves and one mile north of the Dead Man Lookout.

LANL Clean Up Estimate Still Lacks Details

on September 14, 2016 - 8:43am
Los Alamos County Councilor Kristin Henderson and Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales at the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities meeting last week in Ohkay Owingeh. Photo by Roger Snodgrass/ladailypost.com
 
By ROGER SNODGRASS
Los Alamos Daily Post
 
A delegation from the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities is visiting Washington, D.C. this week to attend a National Cleanup Conference.
 
In scheduled talks on Capitol Hill and with Department of Energy officials, they will not have the benefit of some missing information that has been blamed for inadequate funding of environmental

PEEC: Monthly Wildflower Walk Sept.19

on September 13, 2016 - 10:17am
Wildflower expert Chick Keller leads a wildflower walk for PEEC on September 19. Courtesy photo
 
PEEC News:
 
Would you like to learn more about the wildflowers that populate New Mexico?
 
Pajarito Environmental Education Center’s Jemez Mountain Herbarium curator, Chick Keller, will lead the September Wildflower Walk at 5:30 p.m., Monday, September 19, one of two remaining Wildflower Walks this season.
 
These monthly outings are easy walks to identify some of the wildflower beauties found in and around Los Alamos. Trails vary each month depending on what is blooming at the time.

Luján Advocates For New Mexico Priorities In Energy Conference Committee

on September 12, 2016 - 10:33am
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján
 
CONGRESSIONAL News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico’s Third District participated in the first meeting of Senate and House Conferees on the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016. 
 
The conference committee is working out differences between House and Senate legislation. Below are his remarks as prepared.
 
“Thank you Madam Chair. Our work here today on an Energy Bill is one of great importance for our nation, and particularly for an energy state like New Mexico.

Heinrich Welcomes Administration’s Response To Tribal Concerns Over Dakota Access Pipeline Project

on September 11, 2016 - 10:20am

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich

From the Office of U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich:

‘I will explore ways to improve the tribal consultation process for projects like this one so voices and expertise from Native communities are successfully included.’ –U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich

WASHINGTON, D.C. U.S. Sen.

Los Alamos Nature Center Family Night Sept. 13

on September 11, 2016 - 9:27am
PEEC News:
 
Family Night at the Los Alamos Nature Center is 6-7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 13
 
Enjoy an evening of games and songs around the campfire with Mesa Public Library’s Melissa Mackey. The nature center will be open for exploring the exhibits until 8 p.m.
 
Mark your calendars: the second Tuesday of every month is Family Night at the nature center. Thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos, this program is free for all who wish to attend.
 
For more information about this and other programs offered by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC),

Udall, Heinrich, Luján Applaud ‘Superfund’ Designation For Gold King Mine District

on September 10, 2016 - 9:17am

CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich and U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) decision to add the Bonita Peak Mining District in Colorado's San Juan County – home to the Gold King Mine – to the National Priorities List (NPL) of Superfund sites.

The lawmakers have pressed the EPA to support designating the Gold King Mine as a Superfund site since a blowout last August released toxic wastewater into the Animas and San Juan rivers in New Mexico and Colorado.

PEEC Planetarium Show Explores Solar System

on September 10, 2016 - 7:54am

Wallace reveals new discoveries in the solar system during a talk Friday in the Los Alamos Nature Center planetarium. Photo from Cassini 2013

PEEC News:

The community is invited to take a journey with astrophysicist Dr. Rick Wallace at 7 p.m., Friday to discover new revelations about the solar system.

Attendees will view the solar system in the planetarium dome at the Los Alamos Nature Center, 2600 Canyon Road and glimpse the possibilities of a new planet.

Wallace will convey key discoveries in the solar system made by NASA/ESA space probes and advanced ground-based telescopes.

Steve Tapia Shares Wildlife Stories Sept. 20

on September 9, 2016 - 7:06am
Author Steve Tapia presents a talk Sept. 20 at the Los Alamos Nature Center on how certain animals prepare for winter. Courtesy/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
 
PEEC News:
 
Author Steve Tapia reveals how the western tanager, coyote and pika three different animals prepare for winter during a presentation at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 20 at the Los Alamos Nature Center, 2600 Canyon Road.
 
Tapia is a local author who resides in Taos. His best-known book, De la Tierra: The Natural World of Northern New Mexico, depicts the flora and fauna populating area landscape.
 
“Teaching people about

PEEC: Caja del Rio Hike With Evan Rose Sept. 17

on September 8, 2016 - 9:32am
Hike the Caja del Rio Trail Saturday, Sept. 17 with Evan Rose. Courtesy photo
 
PEEC News:
 
The community is invited to join Evan Rose Saturday, Sept. 17 as he leads a beautiful hike on the Caja del Rio Ttrail.
 
The 8 to 10 mile trek through Santa Fe National Forest offers spectacular views of the Rio Grande, a vast array of wildflowers, and some much-needed fresh air. This outing, organized by the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC), is one of many events to help people get outside and enjoy nature.
 
This hike is intended as an introduction to the Caja del Rio region.

Audubon Announces Historic Water Release

on September 8, 2016 - 9:23am
AUDOBON SOCIETY News:
 
SANTA FE — This month marks a milestone for river conservation in the state of New Mexico and for Audubon.
 
In a first-of-its-kind water transfer initiative, Audubon New Mexico, a non-profit conservation organization, has begun to release 260 million gallons of water to the Middle Rio Grande to increase vital streamflow needed by fish and wildlife in stretches of the river vulnerable to drying out during the late summer months.
 
Audubon New Mexico and four Middle Rio Grande Pueblos – Sandia, Isleta, Santa Ana, and Cochiti – have joined together in an

NMED Announces 2015 Ozone Designation Recommendation Report Available For Public Review

on September 8, 2016 - 8:58am
NMED News:
 
The New Mexico Environment Department is announcing that the 2015 Ozone Designation Recommendation Report is now available for public review.
 
In October 2015, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lowered the National Ambient Air Quality Standard for ozone from 0.075 parts per million (ppm) to 0.070 ppm. Ozone data collected by the Environment Department from 2013 to 2015 shows that all but two locations are meeting the new ozone standard. The monitors in Sunland Park and Santa Teresa have levels of ozone at 0.072 ppm.
 
Frequently Asked Questions about the ozone

Governor Activates State Emergency Operations Center, Preparing For Remnants Of Tropical Storm Newton

on September 7, 2016 - 3:09pm

STATE News:

SANTA FE — Today, Gov. Susana Martinez directed the activation of the New Mexico Emergency Operations Center to assist in the coordinated response to flooding across the state and in preparation for possible severe storms entering New Mexico relating to Tropical Storm Newton.

Several of the affected southern counties have already been hit with heavy monsoonal rain over the past two weeks. The remnants of Newton began hitting our southwestern counties this morning with the heaviest rains forecasted for this evening in Catron and Sierra Counties.

LANL: Funding Boosts Exascale Computing Research

on September 7, 2016 - 10:37am

High-performance computing produces scientific tools such as this visualization from LANL depicting  global water-surface temperatures, with the surface texture driven by vorticity. Regions of warmer water (red) adjacent to the Gulf Stream off the eastern coast of the U.S. indicate the model’s capability to simulate eddy transport of heat within the ocean, a key component necessary to accurately simulate global climate change. A new generation of exascale computers could boost scientific capabilities to new levels. Courtesy/LANL

LANL News:

In today’s Department of Energy Exascale Computing

Los Alamos Eco Station Collects Fruit For Bears

on September 6, 2016 - 5:53pm

Courtesy photo

COMMUNITY News:

The Los Alamos County Eco Station is collecting apples and other fruit for the two bear cubs orphaned this summer in the Valles Caldera. Dr. Kathleen Ramsay and the Land of Enchantment Wildlife Foundation are rehabilitating the cubs.

The community is invited to stop by the Eco Station and drop off fruit, 8 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 4:15 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

The Eco Station is at 3701 E. Jemez Road and the telephone number is 505.662-8163.

The bear cubs, known as Valley Girl and Cowboy are likely going to be released back

Planet Found In Habitable Zone Around Nearest Star

on September 6, 2016 - 5:29pm
ESO News:
 
Astronomers using ESO telescopes and other facilities have found clear evidence of a planet orbiting the closest star to Earth, Proxima Centauri [0].
 
The long-sought world, designated Proxima b, orbits its cool red parent star every 11 days and has a temperature suitable for liquid water to exist on its surface. This rocky world is a little more massive than the Earth and is the closest exoplanet to us -- and it may also be the closest possible abode for life outside the solar system.

Planetarium Feature Film: Mysteries Of The Unseen World Sept. 10-11

on September 6, 2016 - 3:34pm
 
PEEC News:
 
Embark on a journey into unseen worlds and hidden dimensions at 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, September 10-11, in the Los Alamos Nature Center.
 
Mysteries Of The Unseen World, a full-dome, original production by National Geographic Entertainment and Days End Pictures, lets us see nature from a new perspective.
 
Mysteries Of The Unseen World uses innovative high-speed and time-lapse photography, electron microscopy, and nanotechnology to transport audiences to an enthralling secret world of nature, events, and breathtaking phenomena not visible to the naked eye.

Hunt For Ninth Planet Reveals Extremely Distant Solar System Objects

on September 5, 2016 - 8:55am
An artist’s conception of Planet X, courtesy of Robin Dienel.
 
An illustration of the orbits of the new and previously known extremely distant Solar System objects. The clustering of most of their orbits indicates that they are likely be influenced by something massive and very distant, the proposed Planet X. Courtesy/Robin Dienel
 
SCIENCE News: 
 
Washington, D.C.— In the race to discover a proposed ninth planet in our Solar System, Carnegie’s Scott Sheppard and Chadwick Trujillo of Northern Arizona University have observed several never-before-seen objects at extreme distances from

SFNF Prescribed Burns For Remainder Of 2016

on September 2, 2016 - 10:48am
SFNF News:
 
SANTA FE  Fire managers on the Santa Fe National Forest are planning to conduct multiple prescribed burns across the forest between now and the end of the year. Any decision to burn will be dependent on favorable conditions, including fuel moisture levels, air quality and weather forecasts.
 
Here is a list of planned burns:
 
Coyote Ranger District
  • Mesa Potrero – 470 acres on Mesa Alta 7 miles northwest of Coyote
  • French Mesa – 5,041 acres located 10 miles south of Gallina
Cuba Ranger District
  • Chaparral Diego Unit – 378 acres located 2 miles southwest of Seven Springs

SFNF Tackles Parasitic Mistletoe In Jemez Mountains

on September 2, 2016 - 10:00am

Parasitic Mistletoe. Courtesy/wikipedia.com

SFNF News:

  • Public Field Trip To Infected Area Sept. 24

SANTA FE – Initial surveys on the Santa Fe National Forest’s Southwest Jemez Mountains Collaborative Landscape Restoration project underestimated the incidence and severity of dwarf mistletoe infection in some stands. Stands along Forest Road (FR) 10 are heavily infected with the native parasitic plant that reduces the growth, seed production and life span of infected trees.

The areas of heavy mistletoe infestation total about 530 acres, including smaller patches along FR 270, around Sierra

DOE Exercises Both Option Periods On LANL Cleanup Bridge Contract

on August 31, 2016 - 1:25pm

EM-LA News:

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Environmental Management – Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA) exercised both the first and second option periods on the Los Alamos Legacy Cleanup Bridge Contract today.

Each option period is for six-months and have a combined total value of $154.7 million. Exercising both option periods now extends the contract to Sept. 30, 2017. Prior to exercising these two options, the contract would have expired Sept. 30, 2016.

The Los Alamos Legacy Cleanup Bridge Contract is a Cost-Plus-Award Fee (CPAF) contract that is for the purpose of providing

Deputy Under Secretary Of Energy To Provide Keynote At 2016 National Cleanup Workshop

on August 31, 2016 - 11:47am
Deputy Under Secretary of Energy David Klaus
 
DOE News:
 
WASHINGTON, D.C.  Deputy Under Secretary of Energy for Management and Performance David Klaus is set to provide a keynote address at the 2016 National Cleanup Workshop, scheduled for Sept. 14-15 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center in Alexandria, Va.
 
The workshop is being hosted by the Energy Communities Alliance, and cooperating organizations for the event include DOE and the Energy Facility Contractors Group.
 
Klaus joins a long list of confirmed participants for the workshop that will bring together senior DOE

LANL: Plants Found To Regulate Leaf Temperature To Boost Carbon Uptake

on August 30, 2016 - 8:19am

The thermal traits of a leaf, critical for photosynthesis, may be under strong evolutionary selection that occurs in response to environmental temperatures. Here a thermal leaf image details temperature variation, which greatly affects plant functions since temperature is closely linked to metabolic kinetics—the plant’s pathways and speed of reactions that support growth and other functions essential for survival. Photo by Benjamin Blonder

LANL News:

  • Decoupling air and leaf temperatures will impact climate models

A new study has found that plants regulate their leaf temperature with some

NNSA Announces Elimination Of Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) From Indonesia

on August 29, 2016 - 9:34am

NNSA Deputy Administrator Anne Harrington

NNSA News:

  • All of Southeast Asia Now HEU-Free, Reducing a Major Proliferation Threat

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA), Indonesian Nuclear Industry, LLC (PT INUKI), the National Nuclear Energy Agency (BATAN), and the Nuclear Energy Regulatory Agency (BAPETEN) of the Republic of Indonesia announced the completion of a collaborative effort to down-blend Indonesia's stocks of highly enriched uranium (HEU) to low enriched uranium (LEU).

With the completion of this operation,

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