KUNM News Update
6:42 am
Tue February 25, 2014

Tuesday News Roundup: Sandia Labs Releases Economic Impact Report

Sandia Labs Releases Economic Impact Report - The Associated Press

Sandia National Laboratories says it spent about $975 million dollars on goods and services during the last fiscal year, and more than 40 percent of that went to New Mexico businesses.

The federal lab released its annual economic impact report Monday.

One of Sandia's managers, Don Devoti, says 2013 was a challenging year for the national economy and for small businesses in New Mexico. Still, he says Sandia's spending was up $79 million.

Lab officials say models suggest the effect Sandia has on New Mexico's economy could be about three times the total amount it spends on purchases and salaries.

The report also shows nearly $60 million went to the state of New Mexico for gross receipts taxes and more than $70 million was spent through procurement card purchases.

 

UNM Gets Supercomputer From New Mexico Consortium - The Associated Press

The University of New Mexico plans to use its new supercomputer for genome and biomedical research.

UNM officials say the supercomputer was gift from the New Mexico Consortium. It's named Ulam after renowned mathematician and Manhattan Project scientist Stanislaw Ulam.

The director of UNM's Center for Advanced Research Computing, Susan Atlas, says advanced computing needs are growing exponentially and the supercomputer will play an important role in supporting the work of researchers in the biology department and at the UNM Cancer Center.

The Ulam system arrived in parts. Technicians have been working to connect all the wires and cables needed to get the 12-rack supercomputer up and running.

Workers also need to install additional air conditioning and electrical capacity at UNM's computing research center to adequately power and cool Ulam.

 

New Mexico Selling Tickets For 'Old Main' Tours - The Associated Press

Tickets are now available for upcoming tours of a closed New Mexico prison where one of the nation's deadliest riots took place.

The New Mexico Department of Corrections said this week the state is selling tickets for "Old Main" prison tours that begin in May. Tours of the prison outside of Santa Fe are scheduled twice a month and will continue through October.

Last year, corrections officials opened the historic site for limited public tours.

In February 1980, inmates at the prison killed 33 fellow prisoners in a violent clash that included beheadings, amputations and burned bodies. More than 100 other inmates and guards were hurt in the 36-hour riot fueled by overcrowded conditions.

Officials hope to eventually to turn the site into a museum.

 

New Mexico Lieutenant Governor Named To GOP Group - The Associated Press

New Mexico Lt. Gov. John Sanchez has been named to the executive committee of a national group that helps elect Republican lieutenant governors.

Sanchez joins 11 other Republicans on the executive committee of the Republican Lieutenant Governors Association.

Sanchez, a former state legislator, has served as lieutenant governor since 2011. He was Gov. Susana Martinez's running mate in the 2010 election.

The lieutenant governor presides over the state Senate when it's in session and serves as acting governor when the governor is out of state. If a governor dies or resigns, the lieutenant governor assumes the job as the state's chief executive.

Sanchez's selection to the national group was announced last week.

 

New Mexico Nuclear Dump Officials Say Environment Is Safe - The Associated Press

Officials investigating a leak from federal government's only underground nuclear waste dump are telling skeptical southeastern New Mexico residents that their health is safe.

More than 250 people attended a mostly calm two-hour meeting Monday night to discuss recent events at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

Officials concede that the first-ever known release of radiation from one of the underground waste storage tunnels more than a week ago is very serious. But they insist the elevated amounts of radiation that have been detected in and around the plant offer no more risk than a dental X-ray or an airline flight.

But not everyone is convinced. One resident questioned how officials could make such assertions when so many samples have yet to be analyzed and so little is yet known about what happened.