LANL's Eric LarsonLANL's Eric Larson has a commitment to safety based in tragedy

When it comes to safety committees, many have come and gone, or "burn a bright glow only to dim and fade out ... and be replaced with something new and better," said Eric Larson of the Lujan Center (LANSCE-LC) at DOE's Los Alamos National Laboratory, a veteran of several safety committees in his 34 years at the Laboratory. He has reason to be a tough assessor of safety programs though, as personal tragedy has marked his past.

"I've had a long standing desire to do things safely," said Larson, a mechanical designer at LANSCE. In a new "Why I'm Safe" video, Larson describes his involvement in Worker Safety and Security Teams and how an event more than 40 years ago affected him personally.

Larson eventually joined the LANSCE Worker Safety and Security Team, rising to chair the LANSCE WSST team — and serves now as vice chair of the Institutional Worker Safety and Security Team.

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Airplanes are the most demanding application for biofuels, because of the cost of the engines and the requirement that the fuel be incredibly reliable.The science of long-distance travel: Making jet fuels from renewable sources

You might not routinely think about jet fuel, but the cost and reliability of this common fossil fuel is critical to both America’s economy and defense. And even as our Nation focuses on alternative energy, electrifying jets is not practical due to the required energy density, space limitations, and retrofitting costs. A better alternative is to create jet fuel from plant-based materials, such as specially grown crops or agricultural waste, that works in today’s energy infrastructure.

And that is the focus of scientists at DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and their research collaborators. “Airplanes are the most demanding application for biofuels, because of the cost of the engines and the requirement that the fuel be incredibly reliable – you don’t want to have fuel problems at 30,000 feet,” said Dr. Robert Weber, the Operating Officer of PNNL’s Institute for Integrated Catalysis.

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See also…

DOE Pulse
  • Number 390  |
  • June 10, 2013
  • Atom by atom, bond by bond, a chemical reaction caught in the act

    Atomic force microscopy reveals the positions of individual atoms and bonds. Graphene nanostructures can form the transistors, logic gates, and other elements of exquisitely tiny electronic devices, but to become practical they will have to be mass produced with atomic precision. Hit-or-miss, top-down techniques, such as unzipping carbon nanotubes, can’t do the job. When Felix Fischer of DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory set out to develop graphene nanostructures from the bottom up, using controlled chemical reactions, the outcomes of the reaction were unexpected, but the visual evidence was even more so.

    Fischer, a staff scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division (MSD) and a professor of chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley, worked with his colleague Michael Crommie of MSD, a UC Berkeley professor of physics. To see what was happening at the single-atom level they used a uniquely sensitive noncontact atomic force microscope (nc-AFM) to image the starting molecule – composed of three benzene rings linked by carbon atoms – placed on a silver surface. Heating the substrate induced reactions, and the microscope recorded the products.

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  • French nuclear designers tap American expertise

    INL nuclear engineer John Bess helped analyze a new French fast reactor design. The world's nuclear experts have reached out to U.S. Department of Energy engineers for help evaluating a new nuclear reactor design that could increase safety margins while reducing waste.

    The project marked a series of firsts for nuclear engineers on both sides of the Atlantic. They fostered a new collaboration and tapped state-of-the-art analysis tools to evaluate a first-of-a-kind reactor design.

    France's Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission (CEA) collaborated with nuclear engineers at DOE's Idaho National Laboratory and Argonne National Laboratory for the project. Its goal: assess safety and performance parameters for a new fast reactor design.  

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  • Tiny crystals glow bright in LED lights

    Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists are using x-ray diffraction analysis to better understand tiny crystals that could be used in warm-white LEDs.Minuscule crystals that glow different colors may be the missing ingredient for white LED lighting that illuminates homes and offices as effectively as natural sunlight.

    Light-emitting diodes, better known as LEDs, offer substantial energy savings over incandescent and fluorescent lights and are easily produced in single colors such as red or green commonly used in traffic lights or children's toys.

    Developing an LED that emits a broad spectrum of warm white light on par with sunlight has proven tricky, however. LEDs, which produce light by passing electrons through a semiconductor material, often are coupled with materials called phosphors that glow when excited by radiation from the LED.

    "But it's hard to get one phosphor that makes the broad range of colors needed to replicate the sun," said John Budai, a scientist in ORNL's Materials Science and Technology Division. "One approach to generating warm-white light is to hit a mixture of phosphors with ultraviolet radiation from an LED to stimulate many colors needed for white light."

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  • Looking for the Higgs boson’s big brother

    The Standard Model of particles and forces. Credit: Fermilab Last year, experiments at the Large Hadron Collider discovered a new particle that seemed to fit the description of the long-sought Higgs boson. Since then scientists have investigated the particle’s properties in greater detail, and so far all tests confirm that this is the Higgs boson predicted by the theoretical framework known as the Standard Model. More than 1,800 scientists, engineers and graduate students from U.S. institutions collaborate on the LHC experiments.

    Even if the new particle gives mass to elementary particles such as electrons and quarks, it may not be acting alone. Nothing forbids the existence of multiple Higgs bosons. Scientists working on the CMS experiment recently published the results of their search for a heavier Higgs particle.

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