- Associated Press - Thursday, June 9, 2016

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - The Los Alamos National Laboratory mishandled hazardous waste and should expect to face civil penalties, according to a violation notice issued by the state of New Mexico.

The New Mexico Environmental Department found 12 violations during a June 2015 inspection, including open waste containers, failure to label containers as hazardous waste, not describing what was inside certain waste drums and failure to properly package drums containing free liquids, The New Mexican (http://bit.ly/1UFIA7y ) reported.

The report also noted that receptacles for newly-generated waste were often too far from the place where the waste was generated. In addition, the lab had incomplete emergency contact sheets and didn’t share its emergency plans with first responders.

A failure to promptly correct the problems is also a violation of the lab’s waste management permit, according to the violation notice.

Lab managers were notified in the June 1 letter that further lapses could result in legal action or a fine of $10,000 per day. The Environment Department also said a civil penalty would be issued because of the lab’s “past history of noncompliance.”

A spokesman for the lab said Wednesday that the majority of potential violations identified in last years’ inspection have already been addressed. According to the violation notice, the lab told the Environmental Department in March about the corrective actions, but some improvements still fell short.

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, an independent federal oversight body, also inspected the lab earlier this year. It found that aging infrastructure at the lab’s plutonium worksite wouldn’t protect the community if an earthquake occurred along the fault lines underneath there.

After its November review of the site, the National Nuclear Security Administration told the lab in December that its contract will be put up for bid when it expires. The report also indicated that the lab had made several improvements and would receive the majority of an award for fiscal year 2016.

___

Information from: The Santa Fe New Mexican, http://www.sfnewmexican.com

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide