KATY KORKOS Monitor Reporter
"Anniversaries are a time for reflection, a chance to get a broader perspective," laboratory director Michael Anastasio said in his briefing to the county council at Tuesday evening's meeting in White Rock Town Hall.
Los Alamos National Security, LLC is the privately held company that has operated the laboratory since June 2006. The lab has faced serious financial problems, security breaches and environmental challenges in the one-year tenure of LANS.
"It's too early to panic," Anastasio said, referring to recent action in Congress to slash more than $500 million from the LANL budget. "There's always concern about what next year's budget will be. The one passed by the House of Representatives was not the one we were looking for."
The laboratory has been reducing risk in the security sector "by consolidating (sensitive material), and reducing opportunities for mistakes," Anastasio said. "Media is now 100-percent compliant with the rules. The goal is to increase security and improve functionality to scientists.
"On the environmental side, the laboratory and I, personally, are committed to cleaning up the site and complying with the consent order," Anastasio said. "I don't want to have to pay fines."
Anastasio said, "103 of 104 milestones in the environmental sector were completed in the last 12 months." The laboratory "has accelerated shipments of waste, and has received seven pollution prevention awards from NNSA."
Anastasio praised "the quality, the skill, and frankly, the resilience of the people who work at the laboratory" and listed achievements in the areas of science (more than 1,900 peer review articles cited), community involvement ($875,000 spent on regional development, more than $1 million in scholarships) and safety (lost work days have been reduced by 30 percent).
"We're all in this together, Anastasio said. "What happens in the community affects the lab as well as the other way around."
The county council listened attentively to Anastasio's briefing. Councilor Michael Wheeler thanked Anastasio for bringing his progress report to the council, and said "The council stands ready to assist you in the future."
Council Chair Jim West said "We have a lot of confidence in you."