SANTA FE ― In a major development for the efforts of the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities, including Santa Fe, which is advocating for the cleanup of legacy radioactive and chemical waste resulting from historic uses of Los Alamos National Labs, the Department of Energy’s Environmental Management Office has completed and released a Legacy Waste Cleanup Lifecycle Cost Estimate.
The 46-page document was obtained on behalf of and provided to the Coalition thanks to the efforts of Sen. Martin Heinrich, Sen. Tom Udall, and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan.
It lays out in detail, for the first time, the timeline, costs, and project details for what is needed to remediate the waste generated by Manhattan Project and Cold War activity at the Labs, setting an estimated total cost of $2.9 – $3.8 billion, with a full completion date of between FY 2035-2040.
There are 17 separate projects laid out in the document, covering everything from radioactive remediation to decommissioning and demolition in several areas of the labs, and for each project there is a scope, description, status, final end state, schedule and cost range.
Mayor Javier M. Gonzales, in Washington this week for meetings between the Coalition, the New Mexico Congressional Delegation, and the Department of Energy, said “This report represents the first and most comprehensive release of specific plans to complete the cleanup of legacy waste at LANL, and is a big step forward for the people in these communities who want to see a concrete commitment to making progress.”
He added, “As of today, we know more and can rest more assured than at any time in the history of this effort, and that’s a major step forward. I’m appreciative of the commitment to getting this done from the Department of Energy, and to Sen. Martin Heinrich, Sen. Tom Udall and Rep. Ben Ray Lujan for their work in obtaining this document for the public.”
Coalition Executive Director Andrea Romero said, “The Lifecycle Baseline documentation provides our communities the necessary foundation to properly advocate on behalf of the best possible scenarios for cleaning up legacy nuclear waste at the Laboratory in the most time and cost-efficient manner. After years of requests for this document, we now have the tool that can get us to additional cleanup dollars to get the job done.”