Los Alamos, N.M.—On February 14, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) agreed that investigation and remediation of soil and debris from legacy operations at the Middle DP Road (MDPR) Site in Los Alamos was complete.

The priority cleanup project was executed by Newport News Nuclear BWXT Los Alamos (N3B), the legacy cleanup contractor for the Department of Energy Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA).

“It’s always a cause for celebration when we complete a legacy waste cleanup project at Los Alamos,” said N3B President and General Manager Brad Smith. “Middle DP Road is especially exciting because the land is an important part of the Los Alamos County economic development efforts, and they can now resume work at the site.”

On February 14, 2020, Los Alamos County was upgrading infrastructure near the site when a subcontractor work crew unearthed unknown debris. The County immediately contacted the Department of Energy (DOE), and N3B placed the site in a safe configuration.

Through subsequent evaluations, N3B environmental staff identified debris on two separate MDPR parcels of land DOE conveyed to Los Alamos County in 2007 and 2018.

Radiologically contaminated materials, including metal items, debris and glass, were removed from the site. The contamination was identified as early Manhattan Project-era uranium and plutonium that did not pose a public health risk.

N3B completed field work in the summer of 2023. Environmental remediation crews collected 867 samples from 289 locations and evaluated them for the nature and extent of contamination, as well as for human health and ecological risk assessments. In addition, more than 5,917 cubic yards of waste and debris – equivalent to about 370 roll-off containers – was excavated for packaging and shipment to a licensed, off-site disposal facility.

Project work included air monitoring, site investigation, contaminated debris and soil removal, soil and debris sampling, confirmatory sampling and laboratory analysis, backfilling excavated areas with clean soil, waste disposition, reporting to Los Alamos County and stakeholder interaction, culminating in cleanup to applicable regulatory standards so that the site was remediated without controls on its use.

The NMED approval letter concludes the two parcels cleaned up at the MDPR Site “do not pose an unacceptable risk from hazardous constituents to human health and the environment,” based on the report that documents cleanup efforts.

N3B documented the cleanup work it performed at the site in the December 2023 Solid Waste Management Unit Assessment Report for Middle DP Road Site.” NMED approval of the report is available on the LANL Legacy Cleanup Electronic Public Reading Room.

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About N3B
Newport News Nuclear BWXT Los Alamos (N3B) is a limited liability company owned by HII Nuclear and BWX Technologies. N3B manages the $2.1 billion, 10-year Los Alamos Legacy Cleanup Contract for the U.S. Department of Energy Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office.

Photos:

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Caption:
Field crews at the Middle DP Road Site excavated and packaged in containers nearly 6,000 cubic yards of debris for shipment to an off-site repository. Restoration at the site also included grading and reseeding.