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DOE Issues Update On WIPP Repairs

on May 30, 2014 - 8:11am
WIPP personnel conduct visual inspections of the underground facilities at WIPP. Courtesy/DOE

DOE News:

The Department of Energy Field Office in Carlsbad has announced that on May 28, WIPP workers entered the underground facility to adjust the ventilation system. While underground, they adjusted a regulator on a bulkhead door and closed and taped doors at another underground location to allow more air flow through Panel 7 and better ventilation control in preparation for the planned filter change.

Geotechnical experts also conducted underground inspections at several locations to make sure

Heinrich Calls for VA Secretary Shinseki To Resign

on May 30, 2014 - 7:55am
Sen. Martin Heinrich

U.S. Senate News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. issued the following statement Thursday calling for U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down as head of the VA after a preliminary report released by the agency's office of inspector general. The report found that at least 1,700 veterans waiting for health care services at the Phoenix VA medical facility were not included on the facility's wait list, and patients there waited an average of 115 days for their first appointments.

The interim report also found that

Udall Calls on VA Secretary Shinseki to Resign

on May 29, 2014 - 11:26am


ALBUQUERQUE - Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., issued the following statement today calling for VA Secretary Eric Shinseki to step down:

"Independent investigators at the VA are now confirming what I have been saying for weeks: that the problems at the VA are systemic and rooted in a culture that has rewarded cover-ups and cheating to the point of risking the health of our veterans. What I have heard from New Mexico veterans and read in the OIG report is a betrayal of the heroes who fought for our freedom.

Valles Caldera Board of Trustees Names New Executive Director

on May 28, 2014 - 2:59pm

Jorge Silva-Bañuelos

VCNP News:

JEMEZ SPRINGS – The Valles Caldera Trust (Trust) today announced the appointment of Jorge Silva-Bañuelos to the position of executive director. Silva-Bañuelos was selected from a competitive field of 24 applicants to fill the position vacated when Dennis Trujillo retired in January.

“Jorge has extensive experience in natural resource policy, management and leadership of government agencies,” said Kent Salazar, chairman of the Valles Caldera Trust Board of Trustees. His experience working with a broad citizen constituency on public lands issues will also be

WIPP: Waste Control Specialists Continues Precautionary Measures

on May 28, 2014 - 9:38am

An employee with Waste Control Specialists examines modular concrete casks, similar to those that are being used to overpack waste containers from LANL. Courtesy/WIPP

WIPP News:

Waste Control Specialists (WCS) in Andrews, Texas, continues implementing precautionary measures this week to ensure the safety of the public, environment and workers.

WCS is loading standard waste boxes from the suspect waste stream originating from the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) into modular concrete casks.

Prior to loading, thermal readings are taken of each  standard waste box container to verify

Scenes From Memorial Day Ceremony at Guaje Pines

on May 27, 2014 - 10:45am

The flag is at half staff at Monday's Memorial Day Ceremony at Guaje Pines Cemetery. Photo by Leland Lehman/ 

Democratic House Dist. 43 Rep. Stephaine Garcia Richard and Los Alamos County Council Chair Geoff Rodgers bow their head as Father Glenn Jones gives the Invocation at Monday's ceremony. Photo by Leland Lehman/ 

Staff Report

The Knights of Columbus Fourth Degree Donald A. Larson Assembly 0688 of Los Alamos organized Monday's annual Memorial Day Celebration at Guaje Pines Cemetery.

The event, “The Courage to Serve and Those That Gave All,” was

Udall: We Mourn Them, Remember Them, and on Memorial Day, We Pause to Reflect on their Commitment and Courage

on May 26, 2014 - 11:01am
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
ALBUQUERQUE – U.S. Sen. Tom Udall issued the following statement in memory of the men and women who have given their lives in service to our nation:
“Our state has a proud tradition of military service. Whenever our nation has called, New Mexico has answered. Some of those brave men and women have not come home -- they gave everything so that we may have the privilege of being safe and free. We mourn them, remember them, and on Memorial Day, we pause to reflect on their commitment and courage.
“This Memorial Day, as with every

US Air Force Launches Satellite Carrying NNSA-provided Nuclear Detonation Detection Sensors

on May 25, 2014 - 12:02pm

NNSA News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Friday, May 16, with the support of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a U.S. Air Force Delta IV rocket lifted off from Cape Canaveral.

Hosted onboard was a GPS IIF navigation satellite and a Global Burst Detector (GBD) payload designed to detect, identify and precisely locate nuclear explosions.

The 300-pound GBD payload, supported by NNSA’s Defense Nuclear Nonproliferation Research and Development Program and built by Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, is the latest space-based sensor addition to the United States Nuclear

Heinrich Issues Statement In Honor Of Memorial Day

on May 24, 2014 - 8:11am

Sen. Martin Heinrich


WASHINGTON, D.C. - Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M. released the following statement in honor of Memorial Day:

"Memorial Day is more than just a holiday weekend. It's a time where communities throughout New Mexico and across the country come together and pay tribute to the men and women who selflessly gave their lives to preserve the freedom and liberty we enjoy today.

"Our country's history is made up of stories of our brave service members volunteering to defend our country at home and abroad. They've served with extraordinary valor and courage.

New Mexico's Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks Officially A National Monument

on May 22, 2014 - 9:37am

Retired U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and community leaders from New Mexico joined the president and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell for Wednesday's signing ceremony at the Department of Interior. Courtesy/Sen. Udall's Office

The Organ-Mountains. Photo by Mike Groves


WASHINGTON, D.C.—New Mexicans celebrated Wednesday the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument Proclamation that was signed by President Barack Obama. 

Retired U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, U.S.

Los Alamos High School's Alexandr Wang Named to 2014 United States Physics Team!

on May 22, 2014 - 8:10am

Alexandr Wang

COLLEGE PARK, MD.—Los Alamos High School's Alexandr Wang has been named as a member of the 2014 United States Physics Team.

Wang joins America’s brightest emerging physicists at Physics Boot Camp this week in College Park, Md., to prepare for the next stage of the competition to identify the world’s best high school physics students.

The team is comprised of 19 students from across the U.S. who have emerged through a rigorous exam process that began in January with approximately 4,277 students who participated in the Fnet=ma exam to become the 2014 U.S. Physics Team. These

Cracked Lid of Nuclear Waste Container May Be Source of WIPP Radiation Leak

on May 22, 2014 - 7:54am

Waste container photographed earlier this month at WIPP with its lid unsealed and apparent heat discoloration. Courtesy/WIPP

HSNW News:

The radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad has been linked to a waste container shipped from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), raising questions about the safety of other containers stored at the lab’s northern New Mexico facility and at the Waste Control Specialists (WCS) site in Andrews, Texas.

As a precautionary measure, LANL has been ordered to remove thousands of similar containers filled with toxic waste from

Cottage Cheese Recall Underway

on May 21, 2014 - 12:31pm

NMED News:

The New Mexico Environment Department has announced that a recall is underway of select Knudsen Cottage Cheese, Breakstone’s Cottage Cheese, Simply Kraft Cottage Cheese, and Daily Chef Cottage Cheese products with code dates of 09 MAY 2014 to 23 JUL 2014, manufactured by Kraft Foods of Northfield, IL.

The product was distributed nationally and in New Mexico at Walmart stores. The products are being recalled due to "out-of-standard" storage temperatures.


Luján Statement on Reports of Mismanagement at VA Medical Centers

on May 21, 2014 - 11:29am


Washington, D.C. - U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District released the following statement today on reports of mismanagement at Department of Veterans Affairs medical centers. 

Luján recently sent a letter to Secretary Shinseki expressing concerns with these reports and excessive wait times for veterans in New Mexico seeking health care services from the VA. Click here to read the letter.

"When we as a nation ask brave Americans to serve and protect our country, we make a promise that when they answer the call of duty we will provide them with the care

Secretary Moniz Announces Members to New Commission on National Labs

on May 20, 2014 - 10:51am

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz

DOE News:

  • Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the Energy Department’s National Laboratories

WASHINGTON – Today, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced the Commission to Review the Effectiveness of the National Energy Laboratories, a congressionally-mandated committee that will evaluate the effectiveness of the Energy Department’s 17 national laboratories. The Commission is being established pursuant to the 2014 Consolidated Appropriations Act.

“The Energy Department’s national laboratories are a leading force in driving U.S.

Early Summer Activities at Bandelier National Monument

on May 19, 2014 - 8:24am

Pocket gophers dig burrows underground searching for food and can be very damaging to archeological sites. Photo by Sally King/NPS


In addition to listed activities, the park movie is shown on request every day and there are ranger-guided tours on the first section of the Main Loop Trail throughout the week as staffing permits. All activities are weather permitting.

For information, call the Bandelier Visitor Center at 505.672-3861 x 517.

MAY 23 - Summer Free Shuttle Service from White Rock Begins

First day for the summer shuttle service from White Rock to the Bandelier Visitor

Absorbent Used in Kitty Litter May Be Cause of Radiation Leaks at WIPP

on May 18, 2014 - 10:48am

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Courtesy WIPP

HSNW News:

A wheat-based absorbent often used in kitty litter may be the likely cause of the radiation leak that led to the closure of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), the U.S. only underground nuclear waste repository, according to Jim Conca, a former geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

Conca noted that EnergySolutions, a Salt Lake City-based company hired to package radioactive waste at LANL into containers for shipment to the WIPP, switched from using a clay-based absorbent in the storage drums to a wheat-based mixture.

New Information Provided About Possible Contributor to WIPP Radiological Event

on May 18, 2014 - 10:15am

The May 15 entry into Panel 7, Room 7 produced this photo of a waste container, left, with its lid unsealed and apparent heat discoloration. Courtesy/WIPP

WIPP News:

The Department of Energy issued the following statement Friday regarding new information generated during the May 15 entry into WIPP:

Since the Feb. 14 radiological release, the Department and its Waste Isolation Pilot Plant have been working deliberately to safely determine the cause of the release.

New Data Tool Shows New Mexico Among Top in Science & Engineering Categories

on May 16, 2014 - 11:48am

HSNW News:

Homeland Security News Wire (HSNW) reports that a newly updated, online, interactive state data tool allows policymakers, educators and other users to discern trends in education, science and research in each of the 50 states and New Mexico is among the top three.

The three states with the highest scores in the number of science and engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded, share of a state’s workforce employed in science and engineering occupations, and the amount of R&D performed, as a share of a state’s gross domestic product (GDP), are Vermont, Virginia and New Mexico.


Udall Opposes FCC's Proposed Internet 'Fast Lane'

on May 16, 2014 - 8:06am



WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Tom Udall, chairman of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Subcommittee, issued the following statement expressing concern about the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) vote Thursday for net neutrality rules that include a "fast lane" or "toll lane" to charge companies for faster delivery of content: 


"Today's vote by the FCC is very disappointing. As the commissioners move forward to make a final rule, I'm calling on them to protect free expression, competition and innovation online.

Los Alamos Police Hold Peace Officers Memorial Day Ceremony This Morning at the Justice Center

on May 15, 2014 - 10:55am

LAPD Officers from left, Daniel Roberts, David Boe and Paige Early at this morning's Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony outside the Justice Center. Photo by Chris Clark/

Los Alamos Police Chief Dino Sgambellone at this morning's Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony honoring the men and women who have lost their lives in the line of duty. A crowd begins to gather at the Peace Officers Memorial Day ceremony this morning outside the Justice Center. Photo by Chris Clark/

Police Det. Daniel Roberts, left, and Cpl. David Boe prepare to raise the American flag to

WIPP Personnel Upgrading Safety Programs

on May 14, 2014 - 4:04pm

WIPP News:

While attention is focused on determining the cause of the February radiological release, WIPP personnel are also upgrading WIPP safety programs and addressing issues identified by federal accident investigators following the fire and radiological event.

Experts from across the DOE complex and nuclear industry are on-site to evaluate and help improve WIPP safety, emergency management and radiological programs.

A corrective action plan for the salt haul truck fire is in development and improvements to emergency response plans are being implemented.

Dr. Steven Croley Confirmed as DOE General Counsel

on May 13, 2014 - 6:48am

Dr. Steven Croley. Courtesy/wikipedia

DOE News:

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dr. Steven Croley was confirmed by the Senate Monday as the Department of Energy’s General Counsel.

“Dr. Croley brings to the Department leadership team both extensive experience representing the interests of the United States and wide-ranging interests in energy and environmental issues,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said. “I thank the Senate for approving his nomination, and I look forward to his advice and counsel. I also thank Anne Harkavy for serving as Acting General Counsel in his stead.

Latest Underground Entry Reveals More Information About Event

on May 13, 2014 - 6:45am

Photo from a townhall slide show presentation of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Courtesy/WIPP

WIPP News:

Workers entered
the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) underground facility again Saturday to further investigate Room 7 of Panel 7, the suspected scene for the Feb. 14 radiological event.

Using a portable camera on an extender, workers were able to take pictures over the top of stacked waste containers. The photographs showed evidence of melted plastic and rubber on 55-gallon drums and standard waste boxes, indicating the production of heat likely occurred in the room.