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Friday, December 12, 2014

Los Alamos cleanup funding reduced $40M in budget bill

Los Alamos cleanup funding reduced $40M in budget bill

The cut comes after a radioactive waste drum packaged by the lab ruptured in February while stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation’s only deep geologic repository for nuclear waste, near Carlsbad.

The leak, the result of a hot chemical reaction in the drum, has shut down WIPP, and costs for reopening the facility have been estimated at as much as a half-billion dollars. Critics of the nation’s weapons complex argue that the total cost will actually be much more.

Last week, the state Environment Department fined LANL and WIPP, both federal Department of Energy facilities, $54 million for hazardous waste violations.

No specific cause for the WIPP leak has been confirmed, but a prominent theory focuses on wheat-based kitty litter that was mixed with nitrates in the transuranic waste drum as it was processed at Los Alamos, potentially causing the reaction that breached the container.

Meanwhile, the congressional budget bill would give WIPP a huge funding increase. Its budget would jump from $220 million to $320 million, to help with the post-leak remediation work.


Anonymous said...

The $40M decline in LANL's next budget for cleanup is a clear message of the dissatisfaction with LANS. Unfortunately, it will mean layoffs in the cleanup staff at LANL.

Anonymous said...

Yep, more layoffs on the way. LANL had about 12,000 employees when Charlie took over, and now they are down to around 8,000. The loss of approximately one third of the highly compensated workforce in three years has taken a huge toll on the economy of all of Northern New Mexico.

Anonymous said...

December 15, 2014 at 12:40 PM

But the managers are making so much money now it is unreal. Well worth it.

Anonymous said...

LLNS got off easy with this budget "cut". They should have had their budget for the "cleanup" zeroed and still given them the job of paying for all costs associated with the WIPP restart. Ouch! Follow the money McMillan, follow the money, remember!


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