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Nearly 400 Los Alamos National Laboratory employees on 47 teams received Pollution Prevention awards for protecting the environment and saving taxpayers more than $8 million. The employees were recognized at the Laboratory’s annual Pollution Prevention Awards ceremony on Monday, Earth Day.
Five projects received the Lab’s Best in Class Star Award for outstanding achievement. These projects will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security Administration for national Pollution Prevention award consideration. They are:
Acetone out, rhenium in: employees made changes to an acetone sample rinsing process, eliminating 48 liters of mixed low-level waste per year. Now the team separates a small rhenium metal ribbon from stainless steel posts and recycles the steel instead of disposing of the entire apparatus.
Streamlined plutonium operation: By changing the vessel shape for the process, which extracts americium from old plutonium so that the plutonium can be reused, this method generates less than half of the waste of the former process. The new approach also requires less salt and avoids the generation of more than 20 kilograms of mixed transuranic and low-level radioactive waste per year and an additional 80 kilograms from subsequent processes.
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