LOS ALAMOS, N.M. – Newport News Nuclear BWXT Los Alamos (N3B) successfully completed several key legacy waste cleanup accomplishments at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

N3B manages the Los Alamos Legacy Cleanup Contract for the U.S. Department of Energy, Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office (EM-LA). The work included meeting all regulatory milestones, exceeding transuranic (TRU) waste shipment goals and wrapping up cleanup work for a priority project.

“The fiscal year 2023 achievements tell the story of real progress,” EM-LA Manager Michael Mikolanis said. “We have much more work to do, but we’re on a positive path here in Los Alamos, which sets the stage for an even more productive fiscal year 2024.”

EM-LA and N3B met all 14 of the fiscal year 2023 (FY23) Appendix B regulatory milestones agreed to with the New Mexico Environment Department through the 2016 Compliance Order on Consent that guides cleanup activities at LANL.

The milestones relate to hexavalent chromium plume characterization; material disposal area investigation plans and a submitted preferred alternative for remediation; investigations of aggregate areas, which are canyons and drainage areas throughout LANL; and other initiatives to protect water quality and remediate contaminated soil.

Additional FY23 cleanup highlights include:

  • Completing 59 shipments of TRU waste for disposal at the U.S. Department of Energy Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, surpassing the EM FY23 goal of 40 shipments.
  • Disposing more than 4,300 cubic meters of TRU, mixed and low-level radioactive, hazardous and other waste.
  • Completing work at two aggregate areas: North Ancho Canyon and Threemile Canyon.
  • Conducting retrieval and initiating size-reduction activities for a set of buried corrugated metal pipes containing TRU waste to prepare them for shipment and disposal at WIPP.
  • Completing nearly all field work at the Middle DP Road Site, a project critical to economic development for Los Alamos County.
  • Treating nearly 42 million gallons of hexavalent chromium-contaminated groundwater.

N3B’s local workforce development and hiring initiatives continued in FY23, as well. Twelve newly trained nuclear waste processing operators joined the N3B workforce after completing a 16-week Nuclear Waste Processing Operator Boot Camp.

Two others accepted offers at the company after they graduated from the two-year Nuclear Operator Apprentice Program. The programs are conducted in coordination with Northern New Mexico College and University of New Mexico-Los Alamos.

During FY23, N3B committed $246,260 to 40 local organizations, with a focus on enhancing early education opportunities. The company has donated more than $1.1 million since beginning work in Los Alamos in 2018.

“I’m proud of the hard work and dedication of the Los Alamos legacy cleanup workforce in achieving our accomplishments for FY23,” said N3B President and General Manager Brad Smith. “We’re establishing a strong foundation of safe performance. We’re excited to begin FY24 more focused than ever on maintaining a safety conscious work environment and staying on a path of continuous improvement.”



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Crews drill a well for hexavalent chromium plume characterization and monitoring to meet a New Mexico Environment Department Consent Order milestone.

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Sampling activity is conducted at TA-21 Middle DP Road before field work is completed.

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Crews are preparing to cut 20-foot long corrugated metal pipe containing cemented transuranic waste into five pieces, which will be loaded into waste boxes for characterization, shipment and ultimate disposal in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, New Mexico. 

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N3B field workers obtain storm water samples in Los Alamos Canyon.