U.S. To Build 2 Secret Underground Plutonium Production Labs

US to build two secret underground plutonium production labs: Analyst (PressTV, Dec 22, 2013):

The United States is planning to build two new underground plutonium production labs that will expand plutonium production for the next decades, an analyst says.

“The Senate two days ago voted to authorize the creation of two new huge secret underground plutonium production labs that will expand plutonium production for the next 150 years,” Brian Becker, national coordinator of the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, told Press TV on Saturday.

“That is a very important fact and I think the world is not yet learning about it or just learning about it,” he added.

Read moreU.S. To Build 2 Secret Underground Plutonium Production Labs

Earthquake Could Cause Los Alamos Plutonium Facility To Collapse

Earthquake Could Cause Los Alamos Plutonium Facility to Collapse (Nextgov, June 27, 2013):

An earthquake could collapse the building at Los Alamos National Laboratory, N.M., where plutonium cores of nuclear bombs are produced, releasing deadly doses of radiation, the Department of Energy’s inspector general reported on Thursday

The IG also said systems designed to suppress fires in structures that store 5,600 containers of nuclear waste suffered from numerous pipe breaks and freeze damage. Forest fires in 2000 and 2011 resulted in evacuation of the lab and the city of Los Alamos.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages the lab, dismissed earthquake concerns. “There is a rare probability of a seismic event occurring in Los Alamos of sufficient magnitude to cause a significant plutonium release from PF-4,” NNSA said, referring to the plutonium facility.

Greg Mello, director of the Albuquerque-based watchdog Los Alamos Study Group, said NNSA downplayed earthquake risks.

Read moreEarthquake Could Cause Los Alamos Plutonium Facility To Collapse

France Sends Irradiated Nuclear Fuel To US (Los Alamos)

Ship carrying nuclear cargo slips in, out of port (Savannah Morning News, July 22, 2011):

The Port of Savannah had a rare visit this week when the Atlantic Osprey, one of the International Nuclear Services’ fleet of specially equipped nuclear fuel transport vessels, docked Monday at Ocean Terminal.

The Osprey, which slipped in and out of port relatively unnoticed, was carrying containers holding six casks of nuclear fuel irradiated in the now-closed French fast reactor Phenix.

It’s part of the Department of Energy’s now-defunct Global Nuclear Energy Partnership.

The material is being returned to the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico — reportedly its source of origination — for “post irradiation examination.”

Sources tell us the ship departed Cherbourg, France, on June 28 and was met on arrival in Savannah by escort teams from Los Alamos and the U.S. Department of Energy.

The material was off-loaded to trucks for the 1,600-plus mile trek to the Los Alamos facility, a Department of Energy nuclear research institution charged with ensuring the safety, security, and reliability of the nation’s nuclear program.

Calls to the Los Alamos National Lab were referred to the National Nuclear Security Agency in Washington, D.C., which did not return requests for information.

Read moreFrance Sends Irradiated Nuclear Fuel To US (Los Alamos)

Head Of New Mexico Resource Protection Office Responsible For Oversight Of Los Alamos Hazardous Waste Resigns

Head of NM resource protection office resigns (AP, Jul 20, 2011):

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The head of the resource protection division at the New Mexico Environment Department has resigned, but the agency isn’t offering any details.

Department spokesman Jim Winchester confirmed Jim Davis’ resignation was effective Tuesday morning.

Winchester also confirmed that the department restructured some operations Monday and that included removing the state’s hazardous waste bureau from Davis’ division.

The bureau is responsible for oversight and technical guidance related to the generation of hazardous waste as well as its storage and disposal.

This includes work at Sandia and Los Alamos laboratories and the federal government’s nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico.

Read moreHead Of New Mexico Resource Protection Office Responsible For Oversight Of Los Alamos Hazardous Waste Resigns

Officials Especially Concerned About Potential Flash Floods Around Los Alamos Where Nuclear Materials Have Gotten Into The Soil

Potential flash floods still a concern (KRQE, July 19, 2011):

ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – As crews continue to try and fully contain the Las Conchas fire near Los Alamos there is still a lot of concern about flash floods in the burned out areas.

Officials are especially concerned about the canyons around Los Alamos where nuclear materials from the lab have gotten into the soil over the decades since World War II.

A legislative committee held a hearing in Santa Fe on the risks from that.

Lab officials insisted there is nothing to worry about, but lawmakers are still concerned.

The lab said it closely monitors runoff that ends up in the Rio Grande and if there were any threat there, they would have plenty of time to alert people.

Santa Fe gets 40 percent of its drinking water from the Buckman channel which is fed by the Rio Grande.

The Major Difference Between Los Alamos Fire And Other Wildfires: ‘RADIATION’ – More Firefighters Head Off To Help Los Alamos

Firefighters head off to help Los Alamos (Daily Times, July 16, 2011):

FARMINGTON — Despite the prospect of rough conditions, sleeping in tents and surviving on camp rations, a crew of unfazed Farmington firefighters left for Los Alamos on Friday.

The federal government issued a call for help from fire departments and wild land firefighting organizations all across the nation since the Las Conchas fire started last month.

“We were getting resource requests daily during the Fourth of July,” said Farmington Fire Department Battalion Chief Nick Mrzlak. “They were in a real bind looking for manpower.”

This is Farmington’s second deployment. Each time, all the city could afford to send was a single engine crew.

“The city’s needs come first,” Mrzlak said. “July 4 is one of our busiest times of the year. It’s all about what the city can spare.”

An engine crew consists of a “Brush Engine,” which is a four-wheel drive super-duty Ford 550 with a pump and 300-gallon tank, three men and a whole heap of hoses and gear.

What an onlooker doesn’t see is the level of training that is riding alongside.

“We all have our wild land certification,” said team leader Duane Bair. “That’s the main reason they’re calling us.”

That and the fact that Bair, Robert Sterrett and Zac Brock are not only certified in fighting wild fire, they also have extensive training in hazardous material and rescue operations.

Despite the major difference between the Los Alamos fire and other wild land fires, this crew wasn’t the least bit nervous. In fact, they were excited as they loaded the truck Friday afternoon.

The difference can be summed up in a single word, “radiation,” a word that not only resonates with the recent catastrophe in Japan, it also draws up memories of some of the worst events in modern history.

“We spend all this time training so when we finally get to use it it’s a relief,” Sterrett said. “It’s definitely going to be a change of pace.”

Read moreThe Major Difference Between Los Alamos Fire And Other Wildfires: ‘RADIATION’ – More Firefighters Head Off To Help Los Alamos

Los Alamos Area Air Sample Test Results Show Americium-241, Plutonium-239 And Cesium-137

To see the actual results visit the link.

New Las Conchas Fire Air Sample Monitoring Information (New Mexico Environment Department (Radiation Control Bureau), July 11, 2011):

The air sample monitoring units were set in various locations and managed by the DOE Radiological Assistance Program as requested by the New Mexico Environment Department. The air sample monitoring and locations were validated for accuracy by the New Mexico Environment Department, Radiation Control Bureau.

Read moreLos Alamos Area Air Sample Test Results Show Americium-241, Plutonium-239 And Cesium-137

US Plans To Build Massive Plutonium Bomb Factory In Los Alamos

Added: 05.07.2011

Concerns rising over US plans to build massive plutonium bomb factory in Los Alamos (PressTV, July 4, 2011):

Experts are warning about the U.S. plans to build a massive plutonium bomb factory in the Los Alamos nuclear plant in New Mexico.

“They are proposing to build this new facility to make the plutonium production for weapons production four times (than) their current capacity of 20 pits per year,” said Subhankar Banerjee, Founder of ClimateStoryTellers.org.

“This is a very bad plan to build a massive nuclear bomb facility within a fire zone and the fires are only getting worse with climate change and it is also sitting on a very active seismic zone that (the) scientists have underestimated seriously but those results are coming out now and it’s also sitting in between Valles Caldera which is a super volcano and on the west and then on the east is [the] Rio Grand river which is our main water source. So we are working on … we are getting the public engaged to oppose this nuclear facility right now so it’s both fire, nuclear and Native American devastation all happening right now in New Mexico,” said Banerjee.

Read moreUS Plans To Build Massive Plutonium Bomb Factory In Los Alamos

Los Alamos Takes Supercomputers Offline

Los Alamos Takes Supercomputers Offline (Data Center Knowledge, June 30, 2011):

The wildfire threatening Los Alamos, New Mexico has gained national attention, largely due to concerns about the safety of nuclear waste at Los Alamos National Labs, which played a key role in the Manhattan Project and nuclear weapons development and testing. As we noted Monday, the Department of Energy facility also houses two of the world’s leading supercomputers, the Cielo and Roadrunner systems. Those systems have been taken offline, Computerworld reports.“

A Los Alamos spokeswoman said the laboratory conducted an ‘orderly shutdown’ of two of its largest supercomputers,” writes Patrick Thibodeau at ComputerWorld. “IBM’s Roadrunner, the first the break the petaflop barrier in 2008, and now the 10th ranked most powerful supercomputer in the world, and Cielo, a Craig system that is ranked No. 6 on the Top500 list. The supercomputer shutdowns were conducted ‘early on,’ but an exact day or reason for the action wasn’t clear.”

Read moreLos Alamos Takes Supercomputers Offline

Los Alamos, New Mexico: Night Sky Finally Cleared Enough To See Flames Licking All Around The Labs And The City (Video)

On this fourth day of the devastating Las Conchas fire which is threatening Los Alamos, New Mexico, the night sky finally cleared enough to see the flames licking all around the labs and the city.

This time-lapse video is comprised of 113 photographs taken 30 seconds apart. Each photograph is shown for one second. My vantage point is from my home on a ridge just to the north of Santa Fe.

You can see quick changes in the fires, stars in the sky, and emergency vehicles making their way on fire duties. The brightest lights are the headquarters of the Los Alamos labs and other technical areas are to the left. To the right is the Los Alamos town site. Below the headquarters is the suburb of White Rock.