Dec 26, 2007

Top 10 Stories of 2007: Nuclear Meltdown

By Laura Paskus

Published: December 19, 2007

LANL’s past problems and mission garners headlines.

It’s undeniable that Los Alamos National Laboratory has made its mark on New Mexico. And 2007 was a particularly important one in the lab’s 64-year history.

Talks of budget cuts dominated the news—and even upcoming election campaigns—but job losses aren’t the only things brewing on the Pajarito Plateau [Cover story, Aug. 1: “LANL 101”].

This year, the lab was the focus of federal investigations related to safety, cost overruns and security. In July, the US Department of Energy (DOE) fined LANL for security violations (LANL will pay $2.8 million under a settlement agreement).

TA-55, at LANL, was shut down in the fall due to safety concerns. Photo courtesy

As of press time, one of the biggest stories of the year was still developing: plans by the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) to name Los Alamos the nation’s permanent home for plutonium pit production. The lab already builds pits—the “triggers” for nuclear bombs—and this summer it certified the nation’s first pits to be built since Colorado’s Rocky Flats facility was closed in 1993 due to environmental and safety violations. But until now, the lab was not officially considered the permanent pit production site.


Full Story:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Pits 'R Us it is! The rest of you not directly involved in this new direction would be well advised to start looking for other places to finish out your careers.

Ten years ago, both DOE and UC said that LANL would not become a pit production site. They reneged on that promise.

Today, DOE and LANS are saying that LANL will continue to be a strong, well diversified science lab. Give them another 10 years and you'll witness that they have reneged on that one, too.