The Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA) is dedicated to the cleanup of legacy contamination of radioactive and chemical waste resulting from past practices during the Manhattan Project and Cold War era at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
The EM-LA cleanup scope includes legacy waste remediation and disposition, soil and groundwater remediation, and the demolition, deactivation and disposition of material from disused buildings.
In the time since the WIPP event, comprehensive measures have been employed to ensure the RNS drums remain at a safe temperature. Additionally, in the summer of 2015, LANS installed a supplemental cooling system in the contamination-control structure where the RNS drums are stored. The temperature of the RNS drums are monitored and inspections are conducted daily.
As a part of its national security mission, the Laboratory conducts research that generates waste contaminated with radioactive isotopes. During operations, waste is processed, packaged, and shipped to licensed disposal facilities.
From 1956 to 1972, a non-nuclear power plant at Los Alamos National Laboratory periodically flushed water out of its cooling towers into Sandia Canyon. The water contained chromium, which was commonly used throughout the industry as a corrosion inhibitor in cooling tower systems.
One of the Laboratory’s highest environmental priorities is addressing the chromium plume in the regional aquifer beneath Mortandad Canyon and Sandia Canyon.
The near-term goal of the Chromium Project is to prevent migration of the chromium plume while the Laboratory assesses the best possible cleanup method.