LANL's MDA-T clean up could hit $1 billion

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By Carol A. Clark

Clean up costs for a 2.2-acre parcel of land located inside TA-21, known as Material Disposal Area (MDA) T at Los Alamos National Laboratory could be as high as $1 billion, according to the Department of Energy, although no accurate estimate can be given until a survey is completed.

MDA-T is near the eastern end of DP Road. Environmental remediation activities at TA-21, including MDA-B, located across from businesses along DP Road on the southern side, have been underway since 2009.

Nearly 18 million gallons of treated and untreated plutonium wastewater and solvents, or untreated tritium wastewater and solvents, were discharged into the beds on that site until 1967.

Waste disposal began on the site in 1945 and continued through the backfilling and grading of the site in 1986.

Acting County Administrator Randy Autio said this afternoon that clean up activities have not been undertaken yet at MDA-T, as LANL staff has been conducting studies pursuant to their issued 2006 Investigative Report and follow up activities required by the New Mexico Environment Department.

“Once the laboratory has cleared and remediated the area, and with concurrence from NMED, Los Alamos County is expected to receive the entire TA-21 parcel. Which totals 260 acres,” Autio said. “However, DOE and LANL staff have indicated that future plans for repurposing the MDA-T site for ‘commercial/industrial’ use may be limited, based on the most recent results of field investigations that are continuing into 2012.”

Check back for more on this developing story.