LANL has a record cleanup this year

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By The Staff

Los Alamos National Laboratory finished 12 months worth of environmental cleanup by breaking LANL records in several areas as fiscal year 2010 ended.  
Los Alamos personnel conducted more field investigations and cleanup campaigns than ever and completed a record number of lab shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).
During the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the lab investigated more than 300 environmental sites in 20 major field campaigns (up from 134 sites in FY 2009), demolished 20 buildings using Recovery Act funding, and completed 158 shipments to the WIPP repository (131 in FY 2009).
“All of these things bring us closer to achieving our cleanup goals,” said George Rael, environmental projects manager for the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Site Office.
The cleanup work is under an agreement with the New Mexico Environment Department, signed in 2005, setting milestones for cleanup of Manhattan Project and Cold War waste.
“We’re now entering the heavy cleanup phase,” said Michael Graham, LANL’s associate director for environmental programs. “We know where our sites are and have a much better understanding of what’s in them. Now it’s time to finish the work.”
LANL also announced this week it has selected a local small business, Los Alamos Technical Associates (LATA), to perform follow-on cleanup work through 2014 at the site of the world’s first large-scale plutonium processing lab.
The approximately $8 million contract calls for removal of more than 5,000 linear feet of underground waste pipes, excavation of contaminated soil, and demolition of concrete slabs where buildings once stood.
“This work picks up where the Recovery Act leaves off,” Graham said.  “The Recovery Act was a huge boost to our cleanup efforts, and we’re seeing that momentum continue.”
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provided more than $60 million to demolish 24 buildings and structures at the Lab’s Technical Area 21.  Demolition of the 24th building has begun, but cleanup is not complete until below-ground contamination is remediated.
“We’re moving from investigations — finding where the problems are — to remediation.  This small business contract keeps the same focus,” Rael said.
Work performed under the LATA contract will support two major milestones — one in 2011 and another in 2014 — in DOE’s cleanup agreement with the state.