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The last of 14 buildings at the historic DP West site at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Technical Area 21 (TA-21) was demolished last Friday, completing a reduction of the lab’s footprint by more than 100,000 square feet.
The demolition was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is part of $212 million in Recovery Act funds the Lab received for environmental remediation.
Recovery Act projects at LANL included demolishing 24 buildings at TA-21, including the 14 at DP West; excavating the lab’s oldest waste disposal site; and installing 16 groundwater monitoring wells.
Following World War II, state-of-the-art research and production facilities were built at DP West and it became the first industrial plutonium processing facility in the world.
Finished weapons components for the nation’s fledgling nuclear stockpile, which played a critical role in the early Cold War with the Soviet Union, also were stored at DP West.
The focus at the site shifted to research soon after the war ended. Research at DP West included the development of technologies that supported NASA space missions and nuclear energy research, most notably in the development of reactor fuels.
“DP West had a unique role in history,” said Recovery Act deputy project director Gordon Dover. “ARRA funding allowed us to accelerate the cleanup of the site, which provides long-term benefits to the environment and the region.”