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Los Alamos National Laboratory lost 250 barrels of nuke waste

State report: LANL lost track of 250 barrels of nuke waste, Santa Fe New Mexican, By Scott Wyland, Dec 9, 2019 

The contractor that’s been in charge of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s operations for the past year lost track of 250 barrels of waste, while the company heading the legacy cleanup mislabeled and improperly stored waste containers and took months to remedy some infractions, according to the state’s yearly report on hazardous waste permit violations.

Triad National Security LLC, a consortium of nonprofits that runs the lab’s daily operations, had 19 violations of its permit from the New Mexico Environment Department. Newport News Nuclear BWXT Los Alamos, also known as N3B, which is managing a 10-year cleanup of waste generated at the lab, was cited 29 times.

Triad’s most notable violation was shipping 250 barrels of mostly mixed waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad without tracking them. Mixed waste contains low-level radioactive waste and other hazardous materials. Inspectors found records still listed the waste at the national lab.  …..

A disastrous “kitty litter” incident happened under Los Alamos National Security, in which a waste barrel was packaged in error with a volatile blend of organic cat litter and nitrate salts, causing the container to burst and leak radiation at the Southern New Mexico storage site. WIPP closed for almost three years, and the cleanup cost about $2 billion.

The National Nuclear Security Administration, a division of the U.S. Department of Energy that oversees the lab, declined to renew LANS’ contract in 2015. Triad took over operations in November 2018. Among Triad’s duties is to dispose of waste at the lab generated from 1999 to the present.

N3B won a $1.4 billion contract in December 2017 to clean up waste produced at the lab before 1999.

The company was cited for a slew of mislabeled waste containers during the year. Inspectors also found some waste barrels, which are stored under tent-like domes, coated with snow or rainwater.

N3B also failed to remedy within 24 hours the flaws that inspectors found in equipment or structures that could present an environmental or human-health hazard, the report said. Inspectors discovered N3B took as long as 18 months to fix cracks in concrete and asphalt surfaces……..

December 12, 2019 - Posted by | incidents, USA

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