TA-53 Brief Description
4.30.1 Site Description
TA-53 [Table 4-26 and Figure 4-30 (index map of TA-53)] was originally developed as the Clinton
P. Anderson Meson Physics Facility (also called the Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility). Recently,
the facility was renamed the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE) to reflect the programs
currently carried out at TA-53.
The Los Alamos Meson Physics Facility was first proposed in 1962 for research into subatomic
particles and physics. Congress funded the concept three years later, and construction was completed
in 1970. Today, the facility is one of the largest research accelerators in the world; the accelerator
itself generates a proton beam more intense than that combined from all comparable accelerators
in the world. Researchers from 300 institutions from the United States and more than
30 other countries provide input to the goals and policies governing the facility.
LANSCE currently supports both basic and applied research programs. Basic research has included
studies of subatomic and particle physics, atomic physics, neutrinos, and the chemistry of
subatomic interactions. Applied research programs include the production of radioisotopes for
medical research and use, materials science studies that use neutron spallation, and contributions
to defense programs such as stockpile stewardship and the production of tritium. LANSCE also
supports programs for accelerator-related technologies such as radiofrequency power sources,
high-power microwaves, and free-electron lasers.
TA-53 (Figure 4-30, Sheet 1) occupies a 750-acre (304-ha) mesa top, which has approximately
400 buildings and other structures and houses about 800 personnel. This population can
increase by several hundred when the linear accelerator is in operation as visiting scientists from
around the globe come to Los Alamos to monitor and participate in experiments.
Site workers are protected by shielding, fencing, access controls and sweep procedures, beam
shutoff mechanisms, monitoring devices and dosimetry, posted safety information, training, administrative
controls, and emergency response mechanisms. Restricted site access, site isolation,
and on- and offsite monitoring provide additional protection for the public. Shielding, containment,
isolation, and safe storage procedures for hazardous or activated materialstogether
with drainage and waste treatment systems, stack filtering, and emergency response and cleanup
proceduresprovide protection for the environment.
4.30.2 Facilities Description
LANSCE programs and activities are housed in three kinds of buildings. The first is the linear
accelerator building itself (Building 3, Figure 4-30, Sheets 2 and 3). The second houses experimental
areas and laboratories. The high-energy proton beam is transported from the accelerator
building to six of the experimental areas; several experimental areas exist. These buildings house
the large, complex, state-of-the-art instrumentation and equipment needed for the basic and applied
research conducted at TA-53. The third houses the experimental support operations and
advanced technology programs.