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Latest From Los Alamos

More snafus in LANL's year of living dangerously

5:30 PM -- Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), one of the nation's leading nuclear research sites, is routinely featured in storage networking announcements (see 10 GigE With TCP Offload to Dominate and Panasas: Lab Rat No More). Just as often, it's featured in news about fraud, extortion, and breaches of security and safety.

Today, for instance, LANL acknowledged that two employees were exposed to dangerous radiation while preparing a science experiment. And the Associated Press reports that another LANL employee not only spread a radioactive contaminant to his home and locations in Colorado and Kansas, he also mailed a contaminated package to a lab in Pennsylvania.

No wonder Panasas Inc. is pushing another poster child (see Panasas Powers Stanford Research). In recent months, the saga at Los Alamos has ranged from farcical to appalling, with barely a pause.

Just one year ago, the supposed disappearance of classified defense secrets on portable floppies led to a general lockdown that later turned out to be a multimillion-dollar mistake (see Los Alamos Disks May Not Be Lost). As year 2005 unfolded, LANL's third director in three years resigned to take another job; two employees were put on leave pending investigation into claims of fraudulent purchases; and a LANL auditor who acted as a whistleblower was beaten in a shady rendezvous at a strip bar in Albuquerque.

Sometimes technology isn't the answer.

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