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LA Monitor

DOE EM to take over cleanup work at LANL
Lab > NNSA had previously carried out the work

By The Staff

Friday, September 26, 2014 at 12:48 pm

Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz directed the Office of Environmental Management and the National Nuclear Security Administration to develop a plan for the transition of legacy environmental cleanup work at the Department’s Los Alamos site from NNSA to EM. A statement released Friday by a DOE spokesperson said, “the safe and efficient cleanup of the Los Alamos Site in New Mexico is a high priority for the Department of Energy. The Secretary of Energy has directed the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Office of Environmental Management (EM) to develop a plan for the transition of the Los Alamos Site legacy environmental cleanup work from NNSA to EM.

“This will align the focus and accountability of cleanup work with the Department’s environmental management program and enable the Los Alamos site prime contractor, Los Alamos National Security, to continue its focus on the core national security missions at the site. NNSA and EM will work together to evaluate all elements necessary for an effective transition including federal oversight, acquisition strategies, and quality, safety and security.”

The NS&D Monitor reported that LANL director Charlie McMillan relieved several managers of their duties. The Associated Press, meanwhile, reported they were reassigned. This came on the heels of LANL’s waste processing problems in relation to the radiological release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

The trade publication reported that the managers involved were Dan Cox, LANL deputy associate director of environmental programs, Jeff Mousseau, associate director of environmental programs, Kathy Johns-Hughes, Director of the LANL TRU Program, Tori George, program director for regulatory management.

LANL’s cleanup program has under scrutiny after a drum processed at LANL was found to be the source of the radiological release and the New Mexico Environment Department has cited LANL for permit violations.

One of the conditions for the restart of WIPP operations was that cleanup work at LANL had to be managed by DOE EM.

According to a statement from Mark Whitney, the acting EM Assistant Secretary, this change will align the focus and accountability of the cleanup with EM and enable the Los Alamos site prime contractor, Los Alamos National Security (LANS), to continue its focus on the core national security missions at the site.

“EM and NNSA will work together to evaluate all elements necessary for an effective transition, including federal oversight, acquisition strategies, and quality, safety and security.

“DOE remains committed to the safe and efficient cleanup of the Los Alamos site and will continue to inform stakeholders about what steps will be taken as the details are developed.”

Los Alamos Study Group’s Greg Mello said, “This will not solve LANL’s management problems, in cleanup or construction management or anything else. Since taking charge of the site LANS has wasted more than a half a billion dollars on failed construction projects.” “The reason this is happening is because LANS’s errors shut down WIPP, which has shed a glaring light on dangerous violations of hazardous waste law at LANL. LANS has been desperately trying to focus on “uncertainty” and “mystery,” when the acknowledged role of the LANL drum in shutting down WIPP has been clear for a long time.”


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