By Scott Wyland
The agency’s preliminary “budget in brief” shows a proposed 46 percent reduction in funding for the lab’s environmental managemenet, which handles cleanup of legacy waste generated before 1999, including during the Manhattan Project and Cold War.
A mile-long, highly toxic chromium plume under the Sandia and Mortandad canyons and the massive radioactive waste buried in Area G are the results of shoddy disposal that occurred around the lab before environmental regulations were enacted in the 1970s.
Meanwhile, the energy Department wants to increase spending by 25 percent on nuclear weapons to help meet the Trump administration’s goal of having LANL and Savannah River Site in South Carolina produce a combined 80 plutonium pits a year by 2030.
Watchdogs called the proposed cuts in LANL’s cleanup program unprecedented.
“to have a 46 percent cut in Los Alamos cleanup is stunning,” said Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico. “We’ve got nuclear weapons on steroids and cleanup is the poor stepchild subject to the whims of DOE.”