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  • LANS loses LANL contract
    lab contract could affect taxes for NM local government Associated Press Dec 29 2015 Udall Heinrich Luján Comment On LANS Contract Los Alamos Daily Post Dec 22 2015 LASG Bulletin 213 News you can use the era of LANS at LANL is closing Dec 21 2015 Contract to Manage Federal Nuke Lab up for Grabs After 2017 Associated Press Dec 21 2015 Accidents contribute to loss of contract for LANL

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/LANS_contract_lost.html (2016-02-16)
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  • LANL reports more safety lapses at waste sites, SFNM, 24 Dec 2015
    higher scrutiny imposed this year The increased oversight comes on the heels of the incident at WIPP in which a container with a volatile mix of chemicals ruptured exposing staff to low levels of radiation and leading to a massive cleanup and security effort that has largely shut down the waste repository and is estimated to cost at least 500 million An audit by the inspector general of the U S Department of Energy in July found that current lapses in safety protocol at the lab could contribute to nuclear accidents and in November a federal report found that lab wasn t effectively tracking and remedying safety issues The new report highlights problems that have taken years to resolve as well as problems that reoccur annually In early 2014 about 3 000 parent containers used to hold transuranic waste were out of compliance with the lab s hazardous waste permit but as of the new report s filing more than 2 000 of those containers had yet to be inspected Among a litany of other mislabeled containers many were classified as non hazardous or even empty and stored upside down but were found in fact to contain hazardous waste Other containers had no identification or were double labeled as both hazardous and non hazardous resulting in the need for re inspection And despite the report s claim that none of these issues posed a potential health or environmental threat at least three toxic waste drums failed to identify the dangerous chemicals inside them one drum was missing a label required to alert workers of potentially fatal toxins and another drum was missing any indicator that the materials inside were potentially explosive Chloroform an odorless chemical used widely for its anesthetic properties was found to be improperly stored and managed And

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/SFNM_24Dec2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Group calls for more air-quality monitoring at LANL, SFNM, 17 Dec 2015
    hearing questioned the effectiveness scope and transparency of current air quality practices at LANL and asked the board to consider changes that would offer more protections to LANL workers and the downstream public susceptible to air pollutants According to Joni Arends executive director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Security a key petitioner at the hearing LANL is just below major source levels and the lab is allowed to emit 200 tons of volatile organic chemicals high levels of which are linked to asthma organ damage and cancer 7 500 tons of greenhouse gases and 24 tons of hazardous air pollutants If LANL were to produce 25 tons of air pollutants instead of 24 it would be bumped up to the major polluter designation she said Arends and Dr Maureen Merritt formerly with the U S Public Health Service and the Indian Health Service said they want LANL to be considered a major polluter because this clarification would put the lab under greater scrutiny and might motivate officials there to install emission capturing devices They re proposing changes to the labs s current air quality permit that include better monitoring of low emission sites including clear reporting of all beryllium operations a chemical used in bomb production that has been linked to respiratory illness and cancer as well as constant monitoring to determine whether air might be contaminated by evaporated wastewater Arends believes these emissions deemed insignificant actually may be contributing to a much larger air pollution problem at the lab A representative for the Environmental Department and Los Alamos National Security the private consortium that operates the lab stressed that pollution limits have not been exceeded and that the regulations called for by the petitioners fall outside the department s legal purview John Verheul an attorney for the state said

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/SFNM_17Dec2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Audit points to weaknesses in oversight of Los Alamos lab, ABQ JRNL, 10 Dec 2015
    the risk increases that the field office may not be identifying and resolving environment safety and health issues in an effective and timely manner Critics say the findings are serious since the administration s field office serves as the primary check on the lab s safety and operational integrity Several Los Alamos lab facilities operate with continuing safety violations of one kind or another that never seem get corrected if it is inconvenient or expensive to do so These findings help explain why said Greg Mello director of the Los Alamos Study Group an anti nuclear watchdog group The lab has been docked in recent years for numerous operational and safety problems including violations of its state permit for mishandling waste that ultimately caused a radiation release and shut down the federal government s only underground nuclear waste repository Administration officials on Thursday said they agree with the recommendations outlined in the audit and plan to make improvements and to enforce existing requirements and corrective action procedures Field office spokeswoman Toni Chiri said the office also is a part of the NNSA s overall efforts to enhance governance and oversight activities across the complex According to the audit the field

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/AP_ABQJRNL_10Dec2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Report: LANL lacks program to track, correct serious problem, SFNM, 10 Dec 2015
    forgetting of various identified problems at LANL before they are fixed a practice the department should correct right away Mello said Los Alamos National Security the private contractor that runs the lab and employs most of the staff has an extensive lobby operation in Washington as well as in New Mexico and has many powerful friends on Capitol Hill including the New Mexico congressional delegation The Field Office is the primary check on LANL s safety and operational integrity Mello said These findings suggest that the Department of Energy for one reason or another is not tracking corrective actions at all where federal regulations including safety regulations are known to have been violated by the contractor The audit found that the Los Alamos field office frequently did not enter issues identified in assessments into its corrective action tracking system and that when issues at the lab were entered into the system 81 percent were not entered within the first 90 days following receipt of the assessment report and 59 percent of the records had incomplete inaccurate or invalid closure data The audit examined 34 of 110 deficiencies entered into the lab s tracking system between 2009 and February 2014 The audit also examined internal and external reviews of the lab s safety performance between 2009 and 2012 The audit found the lab did not enter at least 53 deficiencies into its tracking system including findings regarding the lack of training on conducting self assessments and the lack of emergency management annual exercises The audit also found the lab had incomplete data on whether deficiencies had been corrected on issues such as engineering fire protection staffing and maintenance No objective evidence was provided for closing a 2009 finding that the Field Office was not performing effective oversight of LANL s nuclear

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/SFNM_10Dec2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Manhattan Project National Historical Park Commemorates Development Of Atomic Bomb, Tech Times, 12 Nov 2015
    in the federal building where plans for the bomb were clandestinely made a few blocks away from the White House Work on the atomic bomb was commemorated in three sites that the park aimed to preserve Oak Ridge Tennessee Los Alamos New Mexico and Hanford Washington The bomb after being tested in the New Mexico desert in July 1945 was dropped in Japanese cities Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August killing at least 129 000 and remaining the only nuclear warfare weapon so far in history Jewell as well as other government officials did not consider the park a glorification of nuclear weaponry or war but instead a retelling of the tale of the historical sites based on different perspectives including those of Japanese It s not necessarily a celebration of the consequences of that but rather an opportunity to tell that story to a broader audience said Jewell who oversees the National Park Service and also recalled her mother in law who was a nurse in Hiroshima and Nagasaki It was a powerful experience for her For Moniz the Manhattan Project is one of the greatest American feats in engineering and science laying the foundation for the U S s National Lab system and its succeeding breakthroughs For him it sends a story of a nuclear free world which he believed the United States and Japan shared The project was headquartered in Oak Ridge the site where uranium was harnessed for the Hiroshima bomb In the Hanford location plutonium for the Nagasaki bomb was developed while in Los Alamos over 6 000 engineers and scientists designed and created the bombs Jewell added that while the dropping of the atomic bomb heralded the end of the war it left devastation in its wake Emphasizing the need to tell the whole story

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/TechTimes_12Nov2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Manhattan Project park moves ahead, ABQ JRNL, 11 Nov 2015
    a nurse in World War II told her about traveling to the bomb sites after the blasts A large contingent of Japanese media listened intently at the Interior Department ceremony as Jewell her voice cracking spoke of consequences resulting from the violence The Manhattan Project and our use of the atomic bomb on two cities in Japan did I think it s fair to say mark the end of one of the most significant global conflicts in our history but it left devastation in its wake Jewell said We have many friends from Japan a nation that is one of our closest allies that felt the consequences and their story needs to be told as well So that is what the National Park Service will do It will talk about ushering in a new era of scientific discovery and how these discoveries must be handled with great care Kristin Henderson chairwoman of the Los Alamos County Council made the trip to Washington with several other Los Alamos residents for the event at the Interior Department Henderson said she was gratified to see her community honored and hopes the park will help draw more visitors to the remote community in northern New Mexico It s so important to our country and our history and it happened right there in Los Alamos she said We have a lot of people who are the grandkids and relatives of those who came to Los Alamos to begin with It s also important to welcome visitors and share this story Joint management The park still at least a few years from completion will be managed as a partnership between the Department of Energy which already oversees and administers the properties for the United States and the Interior Department s National Park Service which will provide

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/ABQJRNL_11Nov2015.html (2016-02-16)
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  • Manhattan Project park aims to portray inclusive history of Atomic Age, SFNM, 11 Nov 2015
    park visitor center 475 20th St in Los Alamos It is one of three sites commemorating the processes that went into making the nuclear bomb The others are in Hanford Wash and Oak Ridge Tenn The national park is long overdue and will provide Americans with an important opportunity to understand the Manhattan Project and its complex legacy for the world today Cynthia C Kelly president of the Atomic Heritage Foundation said in a statement At least a few protesters including anti nuclear activists Greg and Trish Mello of the Los Alamos Study Group are planning to be on hand and not to celebrate We would prefer that the park become a site of enduring protest and a worldwide symbol of what is wrong here Greg Mello wrote in an email inviting people to join a march to the grand opening ceremony dressed in funeral garb He is skeptical that the park will fully articulate the lasting negative effects of the Manhattan Project Make no mistake The sole purpose of this park is to celebrate the achievements of the Manhattan Project Mello said Others describe the park as a way to present the complete legacy of the Manhattan Project The Manhattan Project National Historical Park will ensure that future generations can understand the full impacts both positive and negative of a project that changed the world and ushered in the Atomic Age said Democratic Congressman Ben Ray Luján who represents the Pojoaque Valley and Los Alamos U S Secretary of Energy Ernie Moniz and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell signed an agreement Tuesday that sets out the responsibilities of the Department of Energy and the National Park Service for the historical park The Manhattan Project resulted in the creation of the world s first nuclear bombs which were tested in New

    Original URL path: http://lasg.org/press/2015/SFNM_11Nov2015.html (2016-02-16)
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