National labs

  • Nuclear weaponsB61-11 earth-penetrating weapon tested for first time in seven years

    One of the main purposes of the U.S. nuclear stockpile is deterrence, and one important way to assure deterrence is to have a successful surveillance test that shows that the systems in the stockpile work. Sandia’s annual surveillance program for each weapon type consists of flight tests, lab tests, and component and material tests. On 20 November 2013, researchers conducted a rocket-driven impact test of the nonnuclear components of the B61-11 earth-penetrating weapon, the first such test in seven years. Flight tests subject the weapon to shock, vibration, temperature, rotation, weather, and more. Sandia pulls random units from the stockpile for tests.

  • U.S. nuclear safety agency unveils new data, physical security controls

    NNSA the rollout of new information and physical security controls aimed at balancing efficiency and safety; officials said, though, that the implementation of cybersecurity improvements is about a year behind the progress the agency has made on physical protection

  • New detection technology identifies bacteria, viruses, other organisms within 24 hours

    In the area of biodefense, current systems are centered on the detection of smaller prioritized sets of high-risk pathogens, rather than testing for a much broader spectrum of organisms; a new detection method from Lawrence Livermore allows not only the identification of the biological pathogens on a priority screening list, but also any other already-sequenced bacteria or virus in a sample that first responders, doctors, or regulatory agencies might not have been expecting to find, including possible novel or emerging pathogens

  • Engineers to enhance crane-mounted cargo scanning system

    VeriTainer, a venture-backed specialist in crane-based radiation detection technology for scanning shipping containers, enters into a three-and-a-half years, $4 million n R&D agreement with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to enhance the gamma and neutron detection sensitivity of the company’s radiation scanners

  • Nuclear mattersINL develops safer, more efficient nuclear fuel for next-generation reactors

    The advanced nuclear fuel, which would be used in next-generation high-temperature gas reactors, has set a particle fuel record by consuming approximately 19 percent of its low-enriched uranium; this is more than double the previous record set by German scientists in the 1980s, and more than three times that achieved by current commercial light water reactor fuel

  • Nuclear mattersLos Alamos lab's toxic waste seeps toward New Mexico's water sources

    Radioactive debris has been found in canyons that drain into the Rio Grande, but officials at the Los Alamos National Laboratory say there is no health risk; to comply with New Mexico’s clean up orders, the lab has installed about 300 monitoring wells and gauges, contaminated soil is being removed from canyon bottoms, wetlands are being planted, and small dams built to arrest the flow of polluted storm water

  • DHS is searching for buyers for Plum Island facility

    The Plum Island Biosafety level 4 facility — the only type of research lab authorized to handle diseases that are communicable between humans and animals and for which there is no known cure — is aging; DHS has selected a Kansas site for a new, $500 million replacement; DHS is beginning to look for buyers for the Plum Island facility

  • Army lab find 9,220 uncatalogued vials of Ebola, anthrax, and plague

    U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in Fort Detrick, Maryland finds 9,220 unregistered vials of Ebola, anthrax, plague, and other pathogens

  • NSF receives $3 billion in stimulus package funds

    NSF director: “The Obama administration understands the role of science in dealing with national problems. It’s built into their priorities and the people they have appointed to get the agenda moving”

  • Army to complete Fort Detrick Lab probe

    For a year now, U.S. Army investigators have been trying to find out what happened to three vials of Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus that were unaccounted for at Fort Derrick bio research lab; as they are about to complete the probe, investigators say that there were no signs of criminal misconduct found yet

  • Techie in chiefObama names Aneesh Chopra first U.S. chief technology officer

    President Barack Obama fulfills a campaign pledge to appoint chief technology officer for the United States; Chopra will work closely with Chief Information Officer Vivek Kundra, who is responsible for setting technology policy and federal technology spending, which amounts to more than $70 billion a year

  • LANL Blackberry lost in a "sensitive foreign country"

    Security problems at the Los Alamos National Laboratory continue; internal e-mail reveal that there was a break-in at the Santa Fe home of a LANL scientist, from which three LANL computers were stolen; also, a LANL Blackberry was lost in a “sensitive foreign country”

  • Kansas wins $450 million biolab

    Kansas State University outlasted four other competitors to win the $450 million DHS National Bio- and Agro-Defense Facility

  • National nuclear lab helps develop more soothing hand lotion

    Hand- and face lotions are typically uncomfortably chilly when coming fresh from the jar; Sandia National Lab, using microencapsulation technology used in nuclear weapons, helps a New Mexico cosmetics entrepreneur develop a hand cream which warms itself up as it is gently rubbed on

  • The business of homeland securityThe continuing development of Fort Detrick offers business opportunities

    In some places there is a debate about the balance between the business opportunities and risks that the presence of a BioLab facility offers; in Washington County, Maryland, they concentrate on the business opportunities the sprawling — and growing — Fort Detrick (it covers 1,127 acres and employs more than 8,000 people) offers