These two news items offer a glimpse of what Los Alamos might be like after pit production.
In Rocky Flats Nuclear Weapons Site Becomes a Wildlife Refuge, we are told:
After more than a decade of environmental cleanup work, in 2005, DOE certified the environmental cleanup work at the former Rocky Flats site complete.
The Energy Department says environmental cleanup of the site cost $7 billion. It was finished more than 50 years ahead of initial forecasts and for nearly $30 billion less than estimated in 1994.
Fifty years ahead of schedule and thirty billion dollars under budget? How did DOE do that? Read it again closely. DOE certified the "cleanup work" is complete, not the "cleanup". That's right, they simply decided they have done all the cleanup they wanted to do.
Further in the story you see that is exactly the case:
The Energy Department will retain 1,300 acres in the center of the site for long-term surveillance and maintenance. This area is protected by physical and institutional controls and contains surface and groundwater monitoring equipment, four groundwater treatment systems, and two closed landfills.There are already landfills in Los Alamos that DOE has no plans to remove. You can bet with pit production there will be even more radioactive waste left here permanently. For more on the history of the Rocky Flats shutdown and remediation see The Ambushed Grand Jury.
In the other news story, Feds Puzzled by Gamma Radiation Higher than Normal Near Wildfire, we see nature at work. Pollution that is left behind does not stay put.
Dane Finerfrock, director of the Utah Division of Radiation Control, said the fact that radiation is released during combustion is no secret.Expect a growing plume of contamination downwind and downstream from Los Alamos as time goes by.
"There's a radioactivity in that forest and brush," he said, "and some of it stays in the ash and some of it goes into the atmosphere."