HERNANDEZ — The Regional Coalition of LANL Communities (RCLC) hosted representatives from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the Los Alamos Environmental Management Field Office (EM-LA) to discuss the Consent Order agreement guiding the regulatory environment for cleanup of legacy nuclear waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).
NMED Secretary Ryan Flynn gave an overview of the current consent order and expected changes to the upcoming version to be signed, and EM-LA Manager Doug Hintze presented the new campaign approach that will be utilized to clean up legacy waste at LANL.
LANL, EM-LA and NMED have been operating since 2005 under conditions focused on milestones, deliverables, investigation, and characterization of above- and below-ground waste at LANL. Secretary Flynn stated that a revised consent order would move away from characterizing the environment and focus more on tangible cleanup. The new Consent Order would also allow for “reevaluation of priorities and consideration of funding realities” instead of the prescriptive sampling and analysis of contaminated sites.
Secretary Flynn stated that NMED would continue to meet with regional stakeholders, including the community leaders of the RCLC, to solicit input and inform them of the ongoing revisions. A date for the finalization of a revised Consent Order has not yet been determined.
Doug Hintze, new manager at EM-LA, presented a thorough overview of EM-LA’s new campaign approach for the cleanup of legacy waste at LANL. The EM-LA cleanup plan is composed of 14 different campaigns that will focus on the decontamination, decommissioning, and remediation of different Solid Waste Management Units (SWMUs) on LANL property.
The campaigns are prioritized by the risk presented to the environment, and health and safety of the surrounding communities. Presently, the Hexavalent Chromium plume moving in the aquifer beneath Mortendad Canyon, sharing the border between LANL and San Ildefonso Pueblo, is the primary campaign focus.