How our Not-so-ordinary Workers Keep LANL Green

Better, Faster, Cheaper

Scientist operating a gas-pressurized extraction system to separate plutonium

Who

LANL scientists collaborating with an industrial partner

What

Designed and constructed a gas-pressurized manually-operated system extraction chromatography system to separate plutonium

Pollution Prevented

90 percent reduction in liquid transuranic waste

Eliminated the solid transuranic waste and low-level waste

Other Results

Rates of sample analyses increased four-fold

Sample run-times were reduced by 70 percent

The dose to a glove box operator was eliminated

MeRRyL Makes Her Debut

MeRRyL: Multi-pass recovery and recirculation loop system

Who

Team of fuel cell researchers

What

Replaced a single-pass methanol fuel system with a multi-pass recovery and recirculation loop

Pollution Prevented

Reduced methanol consumption and purchasing twelve-fold

Eliminated the generation of waste for a six-month period

Other Results

Reduced labor by more than 75 percent

Improved the quality of the experiments

Allowed for an increase in the number of testing stations

Solutions for Sigma

Ion exchange unit

A permitted outfall at Technical Area 3 discharged cooling tower water into Mortandad Canyon. Due to new and more stringent regulatory requirements, Science and Technology Operations implemented an interim treatment capability — an Ion Exchange Unit at the Sigma Complex — in 2010.

Who

Science and Technology Operations

What

Implemented an Ion Exchange Unit at the Sigma Complex, then modified the Sigma Complex cooling tower water discharge point to LANL's Sanitary Wastewater System

Pollution Prevented

Eliminated more than 1 million gallons of discharge into Mortandad Canyon annually

Moving to goal of eliminating all liquid discharges to the environment

Other Results

One-time modification cost of $710,000

Saving LANL more than $40,000 annually in equipment rental, supplies, and labor

Dewars Done Right

Dewar: a container of pressurized gases

Who

Gas Facility

What

Contracted High-Purity Resources to refurbish and redistributes unused dewars (containers of pressurized gases) for reuse

Pollution Prevented

Redistributed 13 small refurbished dewars

Other Results

Saved LANL almost $450,000 in purchase costs

Other dewars are in the queue at an estimated savings of more than $1.5 million

Landmark Exceeds a Benchmark

Deactivation and decommissioning of the old Administration building

Who

Administration Building Deactivation and Decommissioning Project

What

Aggressive waste segregation and characterization during demolition and decommissioning activities maximized the volume of material that could be reused or recycled

Pollution Prevented

Avoided generating more than 33,000 cubic yards of waste

Reutilized 20,000 cubic yards of excavated soil instead of importing clean fill

Other Results

Saved LANL more than $2.6 million

Waste Not, Want Not

Biodiesel in use

Who

Laboratory researchers and Sanitary Waste Water System personnel

What

Researched and implemented an increase in the biological oxygen demand of the system's influent to reduce regulated constituents. Used an inexpensive by-product of the biodiesel industry in the Sanitary Waste Water System

Pollution Prevented

Significantly reduced nitrate concentrations

Removed various metals, metalloids, and polychlorinated biphenyls from the system's effluent

Stemming the Flow

Project reduced the number of actively discharging permitted outfalls

Who

Laboratory’s Outfall Reduction Program, who:

  • Reduce environmental impacts associated with discharges of water from LANL's outfalls
  • Conserve potable water by reclamation and reuse of outfall discharges
  • Improve compliance with the laws governing outfall discharges

What

At the Dual-Axis Hydrodynamic Radiographic Test Facility, a new lift station and pipeline were constructed to connect the cooling tower with the sanitary wastewater system.

At Technical Area 11, a holding tank, modified piping, and new instrumentation were constructed to capture, treat, and evaporate cooling tower discharges.

Pollution Prevented

Reduced the number of actively discharging permitted outfalls from 17 to 9

Reclaim, reuse and recycle up to 500 acre-feet per year (approximately 163 million gallons) of potable groundwater annually

From Rubble to Riches

Salvaged several large pieces of equipment

Who

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Decontamination and Demolition (D&D) Project

What

Removed 24 contaminated, Manhattan Project-era buildings at Technical Area 2

Pollution Prevented

A portion of it was recycled or salvaged for beneficial reuse

Recycled hundreds of tons of metal

Salvaged several large pieces of equipment

Reused clean demolition debris for use as onsite fill and site stabilization

Getting the Lead Out

Electronic components are segregated

Who

Legacy waste operation at Technical Area 16

What

Identified a large quantity of tritium-contaminated electronics. Recognizing an opportunity to reduce the waste stream, the waste management team coordinated the disassembly, segregation, and repackaging of the electronic components

Pollution Prevented

Components separated from potential radioactive waste

A Greener Boom: Environmentally-Friendly Explosives?

explosion warning sign

Who

High Explosive Science and Technology Group

What

Developed an environmentally-friendly method for producing the precursor chemicals used in manufacturing of insensitive high explosives necessary to some weapons systems

Pollution Prevented

Chemical pollution

Other Results

Restored the Country’s ability to produce an insensitive high explosive

Using OREX at Area B

No More Ring-Around-the-Collar

Who

MDA B project

What

Used disposable personal protective clothing known as OREX that is made from a degradable polyvinyl polymer. Once used, the OREX is returned to the manufacturer where it is completely consumed in a patented dissolution process

Pollution Prevented

Reduced the generation of low-level waste (disposal of clothing as radioactive waste)

Other Results

Saved $135,000 over a 12-month period

Better, faster, cheaper
Merryl makes her debut
Solutions for Sigma
Dewars done right
Landmark exceeds benchmark
Waste not, want not
Stemming the flow
From rubble to riches
Getting the lead out
A greener boom
No more ring around the collar


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