in the News
operations rated excellent
Laboratory maintained an overall annual performance rating of
excellent from the Department of Energy and showed
significant improvement in scores for the National Ignition Facility,
Laboratory Management, and Safeguards and Security.
Fiscal Year 2000 assessment (October 1999 through September 2000)
covers Livermores performance in science and technology
as well as administration and operations. This comprehensive evaluation
system, along with annually negotiated performance standards,
is defined in the University of Californias contract with
scored 89.6 percent in science and technology and 89.9 percent
in administration and operations, for an overall rating of 89.8
percent. Both scores constitute excellent ratings
and represent increases over last years totals. The science
and technology score is just shy of 1998s science and technology
score of 90.6 percent that earned the Laboratory an outstanding.
to Jeff Wadsworth, deputy director for Science and Technology,
The Laboratory continues to prove that its a national
leader in science and technology. These scores reflect the great
progress were making in meeting the rapidly evolving challenges
of the Laboratorys national security missions. In particular,
we are pleased with the significant improvement in the grade for
the National Ignition Facility, which reflects DOEs confidence
in NIF management and the progress made in its construction and
John Gilpin, director of Contract Management, the score for administration
and operations is the highest since the rating system went into
effect in 1992. These scores demonstrate the Laboratory-wide
commitment to performance improvement and how our partnership
with DOE and UC continues to meet management challenges of the
last couple of years.
Contact: Lynda Seaver (925) 423-3103 (email@example.com).
succeeds with plutonium container
Laboratory has moved significantly closer to shipping its surplus
plutonium to long-term storage off site, thanks to a collaboration
between researchers from Livermores Nuclear Materials Technology
Program (NMTP), several of the Department of Energys National
Nuclear Security Administration facilities, DOE environmental
management facilities, and British Nuclear Fuels Limited.
late May, Livermore researchers produced the first container that
meets all DOE and Savannah River Site (SRS) requirements for shipping
plutonium to SRS in South Carolina, where it will be reprocessed
and packaged for long-term storage. Plutonium was placed inside
the innermost part of a three-part, nested container. The outermost
container was welded shut using a laser welding system developed
by British Nuclear Fuels Limited of Denver, Colorado. The Laboratory
is the first among the sites that produce or store plutonium to
accomplish this task.
is a tremendous example of what a good working relationship can
accomplish, says Joe Sefcik, program leader for NMTP. Through
this process, we will be able to move surplus plutonium that we
just dont need to have here.
the past two years, the NMTP team has worked to install a British
Nuclear Fuels Limited Plutonium Packaging System in the Superblock
of Livermores Plutonium Facility. The team is also working
to qualify the system to meet DOE Standard 3013 and a separate
list of SRS requirements that would allow the Laboratory to can
surplus plutonium for shipment and long-term safe storage. The
Laboratory expects to begin shipping cans later this year.
At SRS, the plutonium will eventually be removed from the
cans and either immobilized for safe underground disposal or converted
into mixed oxide fuel for nuclear reactors.
Contact: Joe Sefcik (925) 423-0671 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
up on calcite crystal growth
June 14 issue of Nature includes an article on the process used
by biological organisms to modify crystal shape and growth to
form complex structures such as bones, eggshells, and seashells.
of Chiral Morphologies through Selective Binding of Amino Acids
to Calcite Surface Steps details the research and discoveries
of a team of Livermore physicists, chemists, and geologists working
in collaboration with the University of South Alabama and Virginia
Polytechnic Institute and State University.
scientist Christine Orme, the articles lead author, explains
that calcite, the material in eggshells and seashells, is perfect
for studying biomineralization, the organic growth of crystalline
structures. Pure calcite grows only in a symmetrical, six-sided,
pyramid-shaped crystal, says Orme. Weve wondered
how nature controls the growth of the same substance to produce
the intricate shapes found in shells and sea urchin spines. Now,
by binding calcite with the amino acid aspartate, a common amino
acid found in the protein of shellfish, weve been able to
skew the growth to form asymmetric crystals.
the Laboratorys atomic microscopes, the team measured at
the atomic level the speed and other variables of crystal growth
in the calciteaspartate. Surface spectroscopy and molecular
modeling confirmed the visual results.
teams research has myriad applications, from growing bones
in the laboratory to studying scale formation in pipes to manufacturing
toothpasteany situation in which calcium-based crystals
grow naturally or are used.
team is extending its research to calcium phosphate, the material
used by animals to grow bones. According to Orme, if bones are
ever to be grown in the laboratory, these are the first steps
in that process.
Contact: Christine Orme (952) 423-9509 (email@example.com).