House seeks GAO review

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Congress: Wants an evaluation of LANL’s efforts to upgrade radioactive waste management capabilities

By The Staff

Leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee requested this week that the Government Accountability Office evaluate the Los Alamos National Laboratory’s efforts to upgrade radioactive waste management capabilities, critical to maintaining its nuclear weapons stockpile.

In addition, committee leaders requested that the GAO evaluate the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA) procedures for evaluating independent contractors charged with operations and management.
LANL spokesperson Kevin Roark said all questions should be directed to the NNSA.

Spokesperson Josh McConaha said that NNSA had no comment.

The committee leaders write, “DOE’s NNSA has for a number of years planned to upgrade or replace both radioactive waste capabilities at LANL. Unfortunately, the associated projects to accomplish this have experienced problems with cost and schedule estimates.

“For example, a project to upgrade the 50-year-old RLWTF (Radioactive Liquid Waste Treatment Facility), which handles radioactive liquid waste including waste generated through the process of manufacturing nuclear weapons components, was started in 2007 to be completed in 2010 to meet mission requirements for the next 50 years. However, safety-related questions about design scope have stalled the project indefinitely.

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