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In this issue:
Construction Starts on LAT Operations Facility
Science Today: SSRL and Rocky Flats Plutonium Remediation
Annual Softball Game Takes Place Sunday

SLAC Today

Thursday - September 21, 2006

Construction Starts on LAT Operations Facility

Construction project manager Jo Beth Folger and Jana Thayer survey the ducts in the future LAT Operations Facility. (Click on image for larger version.)

When the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope (GLAST) flies into space in Fall 2007, SLAC will be ready, thanks to the LAT Instrument Science Operations Center (ISOC).

The ISOC department at SLAC contains almost 40 people who will operate the Large Area Telescope (LAT), the main instrument on GLAST. Construction began September 15 to build the LAT Operations Facility, where the ISOC team will look after the health and safety of the instrument, work with NASA to operate it, and process its data to reconstruct detected gamma rays from the universe.

The operations facility will be in the Central Lab Annex building, on the first floor just inside the front entry. During the three-month construction project, the former cubicle area will be rearranged into two large rooms, one for office space and the other for a control center with plasma screens and multiple workstations to keep watch on the instrument, run special programs, and begin making sense of the data.  Read more...

(Daily Column - Science Today)

SSRL and Rocky Flats Plutonium Remediation

Editor's Note: What follows is a more detailed description of the research announced in SLAC Today earlier this week.

The Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site (RFETS) is an environmental cleanup site located about 16 miles northwest of downtown Denver. Soils at RFETS are contaminated with actinide elements (Uranium, Plutonium, Americium) from improper storage of contaminated solvents and site operations. Until December 1989, the Rocky Flats Plant made components for nuclear weapons using various radioactive and hazardous materials, including plutonium, uranium and beryllium. In 1995 the site was designated an EPA Superfund cleanup site.

The DOE originally estimated site clean-up would cost $37 billion and take nearly 70 years. Independent contractor Kaiser-Hill and the DOE, working in close coordination with Rocky Flats stakeholders, devised an aggressive plan to complete the cleanup and closure of Rocky Flats by 2006 at an estimated cost between $6 billion and $8 billion.

The key to the aggressive clean-up strategy was to first understand the chemical and physical mechanisms controlling the transport of plutonium in the RFETS environment. The probability of release of plutonium from RFETS soils to the surrounding environment is governed by the solubility of its compounds in groundwater and surface waters, the tendency of plutonium compounds to be adsorbed, or stick to, minerals and organic materials in the soils, or be dispersed by wind. This information was key to choosing proper remediation strategies, the correct model for assessing public health risks, and aiding decisions for future land configuration and management. Read more...

Annual Softball Game Takes Place Sunday

(Photo - Softball)
Ron Cassell, last year's Most Valuable Player, in the 2004 Experiment vs. Theory softball game.

On September 24, experimentalists will be pitted against theorists for the 45th time in the annual SLAC softball game. Everyone is welcome to play or cheer.

Experimentalists have dominated the face offs for decades; perhaps their muscles are stronger from hefting experimental equipment, not just chalk and dry erase markers.

But not so fast: "It's been a good year for theoretical physics and the theorists are feeling lucky," said theory coach JoAnne Hewett.

In recent years, SSRL players have joined in and have generally brought the advantage to whichever team they've supported. The teams compete with varying degrees of ferocity for the Drell-Richter trophy, named for the SLAC luminaries who started the tradition as a faculty versus students game on Stanford campus before SLAC was built.

Warm-ups start at 1 p.m. and the game starts at 2 p.m. at Roble Field on campus, with refreshments following the game.

Contact theorist JoAnne Hewett or experimentalists Rodd Pope and Mike Woods for more information.

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