Biden aims to increase liquidity from LANL cleanup ”Albuquerque Journal
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The Biden administration’s budget proposal for fiscal year 2022 would increase the Department of Energy’s funding for environmental clean-up at the Los Alamos National Laboratory by 32%, allocating $ 333.5 million for the effort .
US Senator Ben Ray Luján said in a statement that the budget proposal shows a renewed commitment by the federal government to cleaning up radioactive waste in the laboratory, largely generated by LANL’s core mission of nuclear weapons research and development.
“The LANL clean-up program must be adequately resourced to ensure that all planned restoration and protection efforts remain on schedule and critical milestones are met,” he said. “President Biden’s budget proposal is a step in the right direction, and I will continue to support LANL workers and advocate for cleaning up waste to remain a funding priority for the Department of Energy.”
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The proposed budget foresees that $ 167 million will be spent on soil and water remediation, and $ 105 million on the stabilization and disposal of legacy waste, some of which has been in place since the era of the cold War.
DOE says funding would allow cleanup of contamination on the DP route, recovery and reconditioning of transuranic waste stored in Zone G at the lab, and continued cleanup and monitoring of a hexavalent chromium plume. that threatens groundwater and surface water, among other things.
Cleaning the lab is expected to take many years. The proposed budget includes an estimate of total lifecycle costs ranging from $ 7.2 billion to $ 8.4 billion for environmental clean-up through fiscal 2090, although the work can be completed. Much sooner.
Additionally, a new item appears in the budget proposal that would allocate nearly $ 60 million to phase out the Ion Beam Materials Laboratory, which was used for materials modification and analysis.
“This increase supports the decontamination and decommissioning of surplus high-risk nuclear facilities,” says the congressional budget request.
The DOE says the ion beam lab has been identified as one of its 10 highest risks to “the missions, the workforce, the public and the environment.”
“This is good news,” said Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, of the plan to dispose of the 35-year-old facility. “The demolition of this building will save public expenditure and reduce risks.”
Coghlan first said he was “pleasantly surprised” to see such a large increase in the cleanup budget.
“Maybe better said, flabbergasted,” he added, noting the $ 107.5 million increase in spending on the task over the current fiscal year.
He also noted that the Trump administration proposed a $ 100 million cut in cleanup spending a year ago, but Congress ultimately kept cleanup spending at LANL at $ 226 million.
In a press release, Coghlan praised Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Secretary of State for the Environment, James Kenney, for suing the DOE for a “continuing pattern of delay and non-compliance” with an order. on consent of 2016 which provided cleaning criteria that LANL did not meet.
Kenney said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the increase in cleanup funding signaled a new DOE commitment to the effort.
“Make no mistake, budgets indicate priorities,” he said in a statement. “As I said before, the level of federal funding for cleanup at LANL is a clear indication of its priority within a given jurisdiction. The DOE has a lot of work to do to meet the expectations of New Mexicans and the Department of the Environment going forward, but I’m cautiously optimistic that this is a sign that the DOE is finally listening to New Mexico. “