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Rings of Fire: New Explosives Provide Enhanced Safety, High Energy

on October 22, 2015 - 8:18am

Explosives chemist David Chavez weighs a small amount of tetrazine, an explosives precursor. Chavez has synthesized two new explosives molecules that promise high-energy with enhanced safety. Courtesy/LANL

A small amount of explosive material is subjected to shock wave with a striker plate to induce detonation. An explosive material's insensitivity — it's resistance to accidental or unintended detonation — is one set of data measured using this type of test. Photo by Daniel Preston/LANL

LANL News:

Los Alamos National Laboratory explosives chemist David Chavez has synthesized a pair of

NNSA Announces Procurement Of Penguin Computing Clusters To Support Stockpile Stewardship At National Laboratories

on October 20, 2015 - 10:01am

Doug Wade

NNSA News:

WASHINGTON, D.C.  The National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory today announced the awarding of a subcontract to Penguin Computing – a leading developer of high-performance Linux cluster computing systems based in Silicon Valley – to bolster computing for stockpile stewardship at its three national security laboratories.

Under the terms of the contract, awarded by Lawrence Livermore for NNSA’s tri-lab Advanced Simulation and Computing (ASC) program, Penguin Computing will receive $39 million to provide over 7 Petaflops

Public Input And Concerns Sought At Road Map Meeting Oct. 20

on October 19, 2015 - 3:42pm

NMED News:
  • State of New Mexico Develops Collaborative Plan for Monitoring of Gold King Mine Spill’s Long-Term Effects

SANTA FE—The State of New Mexico’s multi-agency Long-Term Impact Review Team, named by Gov. Susana Martinez during the Environmental Protection Agency’s Gold King Mine Spill last August, is developing the Road Map for continuing environmental monitoring activities that are informed by continuing public input. 

By collaborating with San Juan County’s civic and regional leaders, academia, stakeholder groups, and concerned citizens, and by reaching out to the Tribes, the

Scenes From Sunday's PEECnic At Nature Center

on October 19, 2015 - 7:29am
Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/

New Project Seeks To Improve Water Management

on October 16, 2015 - 10:07am

Release valve for holding tank. Courtesy photo



Los Alamos


Rivers in New Mexico are often nothing more than a slow trickle.


David Montoya grew up in a family who has used traditional irrigation for generations. He is concerned because small farms can no longer get by as well as they used to using the acequia system.


“Drought conditions in the Southwest have caused quite a disruption in how irrigation is done,” Montoya said. “There is little water left for traditional irrigation.”


Montoya decided to do something about it.

Home Efficiency Expo In Los Alamos Oct. 24

on October 15, 2015 - 8:43pm


The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities is hosting a Home Efficiency Expo Saturday, Oct. 24.

The event will be held at the Golf Course Community Building at 4244 Diamond Dr. in Los Alamos and is free to the public. Home owners and renters alike are invited to drop in between the hours of 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.

According to DPU’s Conservation Coordinator Christine Chavez, “the purpose of the Expo is to assist our community to lower their utility bills by bringing organizations, vendors and customers all together in one place where they can learn how to make homes more water

NMED Improvement Board Hosts Public Hearing

on October 15, 2015 - 10:48am

NMED News:

The New Mexico Environmental Improvement Board (EIB) will hold a public hearing at 9 a.m., Dec. 18 in Room 322 at the State Capitol Building, 490 Old Santa Fe Trail in Santa Fe.

The purpose of the hearing is to consider the matter of EIB 15-01(R), proposed amendments to 20.2.77 NMAC (New Source Performance Standards), 20.2.78 NMAC (Emission Standards for Hazardous Air Pollutants) and 20.2.82 NMAC (Maximum Achievable Control Technology Standards for Source Categories of Hazardous Air Pollutants).

The New Mexico Environment Department is petitioning the EIB to amend these rules by

W80-4: Sandia California Works On Nuclear Weapon Life Extension Program

on October 15, 2015 - 9:38am

The W80-4 mechanical team at Sandia National Laboratories reviews the results of thermal analysis. From the top center, counterclockwise, are Ryan Johnson, Bryn Miyahara, Alvin Leung and Matt H. Jones. Photo by Randy Wong


ALBUQUERQUE — Sandia National Laboratories is doing what it hasn’t done in decades: extending the life of a nuclear warhead at the same time the U.S. Air Force develops a replacement cruise missile that will carry the weapon.

The goal of the W80-4 Life Extension Program (LEP) is refurbishing the W80 warhead with replacement components for aging

Valles Caldera Plans Prescribed Burn Thursday

on October 14, 2015 - 1:56pm

VCNP News:

JEMEZ SPRINGS – The Valles Caldera National Preserve is planning to implement a prescribed burn project Thursday, Oct. 15. 

The prescribed burn will be within a 380-acre unit on the Valles Caldera National Preserve, north of N.M. 4 in the Banco Bonito area near mile marker 30. Because of the location and elevation, smoke from the burn may be visible from all directions coming into the Jemez Mountains area. The burn operations should be completed in 1-2 days and are not expected to necessitate road closures.

The pretreatment of the forest substantially reduced the amount of fuel

Public Astronomy Dark Night Saturday Oct. 17

on October 14, 2015 - 7:00am


The Pajarito Astronomers will hold a County-sponsored Dark Night starting at 6:30 p.m. (sunset) Saturday, Oct. 17 at Spirio Soccer Field in Overlook Park in white Rock.

Weather permitting, the public is invited to come out, wander among the telescopes, and star gaze. A crescent moon and the planets Saturn, Neptune and Uranus may be visible. 

There will be a tour of the summer and fall constellations, and there will be telescope views of double stars, star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

Trustees Reach $4 Million Settlement With Chevron Molycorp To Restore Natural Resources Near Questa

on October 13, 2015 - 6:56am
NMED Ryan Flynn
NMED News:
ALBUQUERQUE  Natural Resource Trustees and Chevron Molycorp Inc. reached a $4 million settlement to restore natural resources injured as a result of releases of hazardous substances from the Chevron Molycorp mine facility in Questa.
The Trustees will use the money to implement restoration projects that benefit natural resources through the implementation of restoration projects that have yet to be specifically selected.
Such projects would be implemented in the area of the mine facility and include projects that compensate for injury to groundwater and habitat

Waters Of The U.S. Rule Blocked Nationwide

on October 13, 2015 - 6:40am

NMED News:

The Oct. 9 Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruling applying a nationwide stay of the Environmental Protection Agency’s and Army Corps of Engineer’s Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule affirms the success already achieved by the New Mexico Environment Department, Office of the State Engineer, and 12 other Rocky Mountain coalition states in halting the implementation of the WOTUS rule, while the rule’s serious deficiencies are litigated. 

The federal appeals court in Ohio ruled that delaying implementation of the WOTUS rule nationwide, while litigation proceeds, would not threaten

DOE Invests Over $34 Million To Improve Protection Of Nation’s Energy Infrastructure

on October 13, 2015 - 6:37am
DOE News:
WASHINGTON, D.C.  As part of the Obama Administration’s commitment to protecting America’s energy critical infrastructure, the Energy Department (DOE) announced more than $34 million for two projects that will improve the protection of the U.S. electric grid and oil and natural gas infrastructure from cyber threats.
The University of Arkansas and the University of Illinois will assemble teams with expertise in power systems engineering and the computer science of cybersecurity to develop new technologies that will help protect energy delivery systems which control the physical

Mountain Biking In The Jemez With Tom Mayer Oct. 17

on October 13, 2015 - 6:33am
Mountain bikers enjoying Jemez hidden single track. Courtesy/PEEC
PEEC News:
Calling all mountain bikers! Tom Mayer will guide an intermediate mountain bike ride Saturday, Oct. 17.
The group will ride in the Jemez Mountains on hidden single track through stands of aspens displaying peak fall colors. This ride is made possible by support from Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC).
The ride consists of about 8 miles of trail on Cebollita Mesa. Those who want to go farther can follow Mayer on an optional extended ride. This adventure starts at 9 a.m.

The Pajarito Rambler: Wildflower Paradise

on October 13, 2015 - 6:24am
The Pajarito Rambler
Los Alamos

Wildflower Paradise: Dot Grant Trail in Late Summer

This is truly Wildflower Paradise. The walk this rambler will share is near the Guaje Pines Cemetery, joins the Dot Grant Trail (See Craig Martin, Los Alamos Trails, 2nd ed., #20.) and returns by an unnamed trail. 

There are a whole complex of trails in this area and the one described is about a mile around an interesting loop with two rather different microenvironments. This rambler identified more than two-dozen species on this particular day, and experts will see and know twice as many.

Energy Secretary Releases Report On America’s Regional Vulnerabilities To Climate Change

on October 13, 2015 - 5:59am
U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz
DOE News:
LOS ANGELES  While visiting California, a state plagued by persistent drought and dangerous wildfires, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz released an Energy Department report that examines the expected regional energy sector vulnerabilities to climate change.
The report divides the United States into nine regions, finding that the severe challenges from climate change across America will require a more comprehensive and accelerated national, regional and community approach to keep the U.S. energy system reliable and safe.
The report also notes

Family Night At Nature Center Tuesday

on October 12, 2015 - 6:44pm
This bunting is teaching biologists about its migration. Courtesy/PEEC
PEEC News:
Starting at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 13 is Family Night at Los Alamos Nature Center. Bandelier biologists will lead activities to simulate how they catch, measure, band, and release birds in the field.
Don’t worry, no real birds will be inconvenienced. Kids will also have the chance to make their own bird bands. Family Nights at the Nature Center are free thanks to generous sponsorship by the Kiwanis Club of Los Alamos.
Every Tuesday, the nature center is open for exploring the exhibits until 8 p.m.

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

on October 12, 2015 - 11:31am

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/


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 and

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

on October 11, 2015 - 9:04am

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 accelerate

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

on October 9, 2015 - 10:33am


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.

Simpler Way To Estimate Feedback Between Permafrost Carbon And Climate

on October 9, 2015 - 9:29am
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
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 has the

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

on October 9, 2015 - 8:41am

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell


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 by

Lujan Grisham Opens Hearing On 2015 Fire Season

on October 8, 2015 - 12:38pm

U.S. Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham


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.

Los Alamos-lead Consortium Works To Enhance Fuel Cell Technology

on October 8, 2015 - 12:11pm

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 and durability

Clear View Of Mount Sharp On Mars

on October 8, 2015 - 12:03pm

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 of years ago.