PHOENIX – Recruiting and retaining employees for critical positions such as radiological controls technicians, engineers, and waste handling and waste processing operators is a top priority for the EM Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA) cleanup contractor, the company’s vice president said during a panel session at the 2022 Waste Management Symposia last week.
Kim Lebak, president of EM-LA cleanup contractor Newport News Nuclear BWXT-Los Alamos (N3B), kicked off the panel session with an overview of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) legacy cleanup, which includes remediating contamination, protecting water quality and shipping transuranic waste offsite for disposal.
Joe Legare, N3B vice president, noted that increased competition for resources and the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a challenging job market. N3B’s strategy to build a pipeline of employees committed to environmental cleanup includes competitive salaries, bonus and referral programs, and N3B boot camps and apprentice programs, Legare said.
Troy Thomson, N3B environmental remediation program manager, focused on EM-LA progress to investigate and remediate locations where radioactive and hazardous materials from nuclear weapons production and research during the Manhattan Project and Cold War at LANL were disposed at the site from the 1940s to the 1980s.
Joe Sena, director of the N3B water program oversight, talked about an interim measure being used to control the migration of a hexavalent chromium groundwater plume beneath LANL until a final remedy is determined. Sena also highlighted the EM-LA surface water and stormwater monitoring program, which includes sampling in canyons in the vicinity of LANL, and groundwater monitoring campaigns, which support the collection of approximately 1,329 groundwater samples.
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