Waste options open chasm

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By Roger Snodgrass

SANTA FE – A forum on closing Material Disposal Area G Wednesday night grappled with one of the most nearly impossible tasks of cleaning up legacy waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory.Under the current schedule and under penalty of a legally binding agreement, LANL and the Department of Energy are supposed to find a way by the end of 2015 to close out a complex disposal area that has slowly accumulated nearly one million cubic yards of exposed clothing, equipment, and other junk and materials contaminated by radioactivity or chemicals or both. “At its current state MDA-G doesn’t pose a risk,” said Dave McInroy, LANL environmental program director, who made the central presentation, “but we don’t know what risks it may pose in a future state.”The forum was sponsored by the Northern New Mexico Citizens Advisory Board (NNMCAB), an advisory group that is chartered by the DOE to provide input on environmental issues at Los Alamos.While the meeting was related to a formal Consent Order between the state and the laboratory as well as its institutional managers, officials of the New Mexico Environment Department, the main regulator of that agreement, did not attend.Earlier in the week a federal audit revealed that DOE officials have significant doubts that the cleanup can be accomplished on time because of budget limitations.Marissa

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