Saturday, December 31, 2016


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Thursday, July 17, 2014

LANL ‘inadequate’

Nuclear criticality safety report: LANL ‘inadequate’

Posted: Tuesday, July 15, 2014 10:00 pm
Updated: 11:07 am, Wed Jul 16, 2014
By Patrick Malone
The New Mexican

Even before a radiation leak in February halted the flow of nuclear waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, the federal government had identified deficiencies in Los Alamos National Laboratory’s safeguards against potentially catastrophic nuclear fission accidents, a new report shows.
Los Alamos “does not meet expectations” in overall performance of its criticality safety program, states the U.S. Department of Energy’s Fiscal Year 2013 Annual Report on Nuclear Criticality Safety, delivered Monday to the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
July 16, 2014 at 12:11 PM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
The report clearly states that LANL is the only location in NNSA that was rated 'inadequate' for its criticality safety program. And, just to make it sting even more, PF-4 was not even operating for over half the year. Come on folks, this is nuclear operations 101!
July 17, 2014 at 6:42 AM

Monday, July 14, 2014

Temperature estimates of breached LANL waste drums at WIPP

Based on the photographic evidence3 of the color of the steel on the breached LANL drum, a small area of the drum reached a minimum temperature of 340°C4. The maximum surface temperature of the drum is bounded by the critical temperature of low-carbon steel5,6 (700-870°C)7 due to the apparent lack of structural deformation on the site of the discoloration. The immediately adjacent drums do not show signs of radiant heat damage that would exceed 230°C, the auto ignition temperature of paper8. The damage to container gaskets, polypropylene backfill bags, shrink wrap, and slip sheets indicate a room wide temperature sufficient to cause the polymers in these items to flow or melt without burning which will happen at approximately 170°C9. Based solely on the photographic information it appears that some surfaces on the LANL drum may have reached temperatures of up to 700-870°C10 and the waste in a large portion of the room reached temperatures up to 170°C11 to 230°C12. The evaluation that follows is based on this temperature range.

Livermore, Berkeley national labs win seven R&D awards

Livermore, Berkeley national labs win seven R&D awards
By Jeremy Thomas
Bay Area News Group
July 13, 2014 

LIVERMORE -- Researchers at the University of California affiliated Lawrence Livermore and Lawrence Berkeley national laboratories have won a total of seven R&D 100 awards for 2014, recognizing the world's top 100 industrial inventions for last year.

The trade journal R&D Magazine on Thursday announced four awards would be handed out to Livermore lab scientists for advances in thin-layer chromatography, a new spectrometer that measures X-rays 10 times more precisely than current technology, an optical technology combining many small laser beams into a single high-power beam, and a method of optical polishing for use in the National Ignition Facility.

This year's award winners, according to Livermore lab officials, could aid in identifying explosives and illegal drugs, make high-accuracy X-ray fingerprinting available to nonexpert users, upgrade fiber lasers for defense applications, and offer new techniques for polishing high-quality glass optics.

The Livermore lab has captured 152 R&D awards since 1978.

Lawrence Berkeley Lab scientists will take home three R&D awards, for developing faster ways to analyze the chemical composition of cells, new genetic tools to improve crops, and a bioinformatics platform for screening 3-D cell models.

The technologies could lead to advances in biofuels, food crops, drug screening and biomaterials, and to a better understanding of microbial communities, Berkeley lab officials said.

The Berkeley lab has won 73 R&D 100 awards.

The winners will be honored Nov. 7 in Las Vegas.

ASC program

As a former NNSA Lab employee, I have followed the ASC program from the original ASCI initiative.  There has been plenty of hype, but also some good science.  Is it about time for a critical discussion of how far scientific computing - particularly MP computing - can go to serve the NW mission?  By the way, how many of the more important problems actually scale on the new machines?

Dan Segalman

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Lab admits violating nuke waste permit

Saturday, July 5, 2014 at 8:36 am

Monitor Staff, Wire Reports

Los Alamos National Laboratory says it made mistakes in packing waste that has been linked to a radiation leak at the government's underground nuclear waste dump, but it remains unclear if the violations or its use of organic cat litter to absorb moisture played a role in the accident.

In a letter released by state regulators Thursday, lab officials told the New Mexico Environment Department that their internal probe of the handling of the toxic waste from decades of nuclear bomb building has uncovered several violations of its Hazardous Waste Facility Permit. The lab says it failed to follow proper procedures in making the switch from inorganic to organic litter and in its lack of follow up on waste that tests showed to be highly acidic.

Next Engineering AD?

When will the LLNS Director announce the selection of the next Engineering AD?

Has the "high foot" campaign saved NIF?

Has the "high foot" campaign saved NIF? Is the strategy of defining success to be be two orders of magnitude lower that the original predicted yield impressed the NNSA? Are people at NIF happy that only one person, Omar Hurricane, gets credit? Will funding continue indefinitely for the high foot tuning campaign? Will anyone admit that the high foot approach will never ignite?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

pop ups ?

  1. Scooby, the intrusive pop-up advertising your blog now sports is highly annoying. If you are trying to monetize this blog, you're doing it all wrong.
  2. I read this blog regularly. There is NO pop-up advertising.

    You have a virus/adware infecting your computer.

Exodus. at LLNL

Can anybody comment on the continued exit of Lab employees a year after the Voluntary Separation? Have any numbers?

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

LLNS fee

In my opinion the current NNSA Lab "for profit" management fee structure has caused most of the damage to LLNL. The annual management fee is taken from the overhead "tax" and was not an added amount by DOE/NNSA to the Lab's annual budget. So this is an additional $40 - $45 million less that is available for Lab activities. While UC puts its half mostly back into UCOP funded research collaborations between UC campus and LLNL, the LLNS industrial partners pocket their share of the fee and use none of it for Lab activities. 

Prior to LLNS the Lab had more overhead funding available for infrastructure projects and activities (aka GPP - General Plant Project). However since the management fee hit to the overhead, basically all direct GPP funded capital improvements have disappeared. A major reduction in the fee - which is being considered by DOE/NNSA - could free up $10 to $20 million a year for infrastructure and site improvement GPP projects depending on how much the Director's Office decided to lower the overhead rates.

Will NMED fine LANL over waste?

SANTA FE – New Mexico state government has denied requests from Los Alamos National Laboratory to extend deadlines for cleaning up decades-old toxic waste at the lab.

This waste container with at the underground Waste Isolation Plant near Carlsbad shows its lid unsealed and apparent heat discoloration. Investigators believe misprocessing of transuranic waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory may have led to a radioactive leak that has closed WIPP since February. 

The New Mexico Environment Department recently sent numerous letters denying the lab more time to meet deadlines established in a legally binding 2005 consent order.

The department said it has granted time extensions in the past because LANL needed to divert resources to moving thousands of barrels of already processed transuranic waste to the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plan near Carlsbad. The barrels, stored above ground, attracted international attention when threatened by wildfires in recent years.

But the lab’s effort to move out the final containers has been stymied because WIPP is now closed. A radiation leak — which investigators believe may have been caused by mishandling of the waste by LANL — has shut down the storage facility since February.

All the of the barrels were supposed to be gone from Los Alamos by the end of June under a two-year-old agreement with the Environment Department. LANL recently acknowledged it would miss the Monday deadline because of the problems at WIPP.

The lab did not provide comment Friday on the Environment Department’s rejection of the time-extension waivers for projects aimed at much broader lab clean-up issues. NMED spokesman Jim Winchester said the letters rejecting the waivers “speak for themselves.”

Friday, June 27, 2014

Just how did LANL manage to get WIPP closed?

Just how did LANL manage to get WIPP closed?

By Jeri Clausing / Associated Press
PUBLISHED: Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 1:40 pm
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A state regulator says officials investigating a radiation leak from the government’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico have turned their focus to Los Alamos National Laboratory.

New Mexico Environment Department General Counsel Jeff Kendall said Thursday that the Department of Energy’s accident investigation team has been at the lab in northeastern New Mexico for about three weeks.

Kendall said that probe is one of just nine underway into what caused a barrel of toxic waste from Los Alamos to burst at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico, contaminating 22 workers and shuttering the nation’s only permanent repository for waste from nuclear bomb building.

Kendall made the comments during a New Mexico Court of Appeals hearing on a dispute with a watchdog group over the permitting process for WIPP.

overt failure

Report recommends additional penalties for Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories “because of the overt nature of Sandia and Los Alamos’ actions and their failure to fully comply with federal direction in this case.”
June 27, 2014 at 3:02 AM
Anonymous Anonymous said...
It was pay to play. And when you think of it, Bechtel was brought in for their expertise and this is right up their alley.

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