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Los Alamos National Laboratory receives Recovery Act funds

Recovery Act funds will go toward environmental compliance and cleaning up Cold War-era buildings slated for demolition.
July 21, 2009
Los Alamos National Laboratory sits on top of a once-remote mesa in northern New Mexico with the Jemez mountains as a backdrop to research and innovation covering multi-disciplines from bioscience, sustainable energy sources, to plasma physics and new materials.

Los Alamos National Laboratory sits on top of a once-remote mesa in northern New Mexico with the Jemez mountains as a backdrop to research and innovation covering multi-disciplines from bioscience, sustainable energy sources, to plasma physics and new materials.

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“The Recovery Act will help change the skyline of Los Alamos, while creating jobs in the community.”

Funding will aid environmental cleanup and compliance

Los Alamos, New Mexico, July 22, 2009—Los Alamos National Laboratory today announced plans to begin spending environmental cleanup funds made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The $212 million in Recovery Act funds will go toward environmental compliance and cleaning up Cold War-era buildings slated for demolition.

“The Recovery Act will help change the skyline of Los Alamos, while creating jobs in the community,” said George Rael, assistant manager for Environmental Operations at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s Los Alamos Site Office. “We are ready to begin these projects immediately and plan to make extensive progress in meeting our cleanup responsibilities, while stimulating the local economy.”

More than 20 unused buildings and structures in the Laboratory’s Technical Area 21 (TA-21) are slated for demolition, including an empty former plutonium research and processing facility. Los Alamos residents may know the buildings at TA-21 as the quarter-mile-long line of tan-colored structures on DP Mesa. Recovery Act funding will also go to cleaning up the Laboratory’s first waste disposal pits, known as Material Disposal Area B, that were in use from 1944 through 1948.

“We expect the Recovery Act funding to save or create more than 200 jobs,” said Michael Graham, Laboratory associate director of Environmental Programs.

In May, the Laboratory began the competitive bidding process for the demolition work that will be supported with Recovery Act funds. The Laboratory received 11 bids, including seven from Northern New Mexico businesses which will be given preference in the selection process.

The Laboratory has also allocated $45 million of the total Recovery Act funding for water monitoring wells and other activities to ensure compliance with the New Mexico Consent Order. The Consent Order, signed in March 2005, is an agreement between the New Mexico Environment Department, the Laboratory operating contractor, and the Department of Energy that specifies enforceable milestones for cleanup and monitoring of Manhattan Project and Cold War-era sites.

The Laboratory will work closely with the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management and National Nuclear Security Administration as the work progresses. As part of the Recovery Act's commitment to oversight and accountability, the Laboratory posts bid opportunities, job openings, and spending and project updates to its public Web site. Public meetings will be scheduled to discuss further details as well as possible business opportunities.

About Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory, a multidisciplinary research institution engaged in strategic science on behalf of national security, is operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC, a team composed of Bechtel National, the University of California, The Babcock & Wilcox Company, and URS for the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration.

Los Alamos enhances national security by ensuring the safety and reliability of the U.S. nuclear stockpile, developing technologies to reduce threats from weapons of mass destruction, and solving problems related to energy, environment, infrastructure, health, and global security concerns.


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