Apr 14, 2008
The deadline is still about eight years away, but getting to the end of the list of cleanup chores at Los Alamos National Laboratory is about to require some agonizing decisions.
To get the public up to speed and involved in those decisions, the Northern New Mexico Citizen’s Advisory Board (NNMCAB) will host in Santa Fe another forum on Area G, the controversial radioactive and mixed-waste landfill at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
This time the educational forum will focus on the range of options under consideration for closing out the dump, with implications that extend far into the future.
“We’re getting very close to LANL making a firm, formal recommendation on what to do,” said NNMCAB chair J.D. Campbell in a telephone interview Friday. “What’s done over the next few years will remain for the next hundreds and thousands of years.”
Campbell calls the process for deciding the fate of Area G, “the most important closure activity for LANL.”
He said the LANL representatives would present a range of options, from designing an engineered cap over the landfill that would leave the waste in place to digging the whole thing up and hauling it somewhere else.
Three years ago, when the advisory board’s first forum on Area G took up the subject, Cambell said, the public clearly favored the removal option.
“We want to explain to the public what is involved if even a portion is dug up and transported elsewhere,” he said. “It is expensive, complicated and there are many time-related issues.”
He said a lot of people don’t realize how many “hundreds of thousands” of truckloads and truck trips and general disruption that would create.
The closure of Area G is the last, the biggest and most difficult cleanup milestone under the comprehensive environmental cleanup and remediation agreement worked out between the state and the laboratory.
Many other factors may become involved, including the continuing battle to fund the cleanup project, despite commitments and now threats of fines for missing milestones.
Area G is also known as the Low-Level Radioactive Solid Waste Storage and Disposal Area. Occupying 66 acres of Mesita del Buey, between Pajarito Canyon and Canada del Buey, it is located in Technical Area 54, north of Pajarito Road.
During the forum representatives of the laboratory and the Department of Energy environmental programs will provide the latest information about Area G, what it contains and how the various types of waste are stored there now.
Dave McInroy, a LANL program director will discuss in detail each of the available options for restoration or closure of Area G, including risks, costs, schedules and regulations, according to the meeting agenda.
A spokesperson for San Ildefonso Pueblo will discuss the topic from the point of view of the closest neighboring pueblo community.
A poster session will take place from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday in the Jemez Complex at the Santa Fe Community College. The program runs from 6-9 p.m., including a question-and-answer period.
CAB Forum on Closure Alternatives for LANL Material Disposal Area G.
Date: Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Time: 4PM - 9PM MDT
Category: Public Meeting
For information please call the CAB office at (505) 989-1662.