LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — Amid concerns from regulators over hazardous waste and contamination, a new report says the Los Alamos National Laboratory will stop disposing low-level radioactive waste at its largest waste disposal area by October 2017.
A recently released annual environmental report said the lab will end on-site radioactive waste disposal at the storage compound known as “Area G,” Los Alamos Monitor reports (https://goo.gl/AaOn97). Area G is the lab’s largest disposal area.
“The strategy for both low-level radiological waste and mixed low-level waste is to minimize its generation and to dispose of all newly generated waste off-site. No new, on-site disposal capacity will be developed,” the report said.
The lab was shipping the low-level waste from Area G to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad. That stopped when an improperly packed barrel shipped from the lab exploded at the plant in February 2014.
The annual report monitors the impact lab activities have on the environment and northern New Mexico residents.
Greg Mello, executive director of the nuclear disarmament group the Los Alamos Study Group, was pleased with the news.
“It’s the end of an era that started in 1943. There isn’t any place along the Pajarito Plateau that should be a dump,” Mello said. “It’s good to have that in the rearview mirror.”
New Mexico’s top environmental regulator said earlier this year it could take the federal government another decade and more than $4 billion to clean up the hazardous waste and contamination that remains at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
New Mexico and the U.S. Energy Department first signed a consent order that guides cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory more than a decade ago.
Information from: Los Alamos Monitor, http://www.lamonitor.com