Area G Planned Expansion
Los Alamos National Laboratory
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The existing 63-acre Area G "footprint" has essentially no more room
for new disposal pits. If the production of nuclear waste continues,
DOE and LANL plan to clear and excavate fresh mesa land for Area G expansion.
This expansion, considered imminent in 1993, was delayed by public
outcry and is now expected in the 2003-2004 time frame.
Expansion could be delayed further if waste minimization continues,
or if huge unnecessary programs (both existing and planned) were canceled.
Decontamination and demolition of contaminated buildings, however, together
with environmental cleanup at LANL (should significant cleanup ever
actually occur) will generate very large waste volumes, which could
drive a more immediate expansion. At present, nuclear weapons
programs are competing with cleanup for the limited remaining pit space
in Area G.
LANL's preferred expansion plan begins with two new areas, labeled "Zone
4" and "Zone 6" in the first figure below, totaling just under 70 acres.
This would more than double the size of the existing disposal area.
The first area to be bulldozed would be "Zone 4," which contains
several ancient ruins, which are shown in the second figure on this
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Department of Energy, Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement
for Continued Operation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory,
Volume II, January 1999. (Figure I.1.1.1-1 page I-5)
The ruins in the figure below were under "study" (i.e. they were being
destroyed) by LANL archaeologists in 1993. This destruction was
observed during a public tour and was halted at Pueblo request.
Our Common Ground, A Fresh Perspective on the Proposed Expansion
of Area G at TA-54, Los Alamos National Laboratory: October 1993
The land labeled "San Ildefonso Indian Pueblo" in the map is a congressionally-protected
Sacred Area. It borders Area G along its northern boundary. Beyond
this, the next areas for expansion include the "North Site," located
just north of the existing Mesita del Buey sites in the same Technical
Area 54, and a very large area located in Technical Area 67 (see
figure below; note large scale of map). The boundaries of "Area
G" are thus quite elastic, and there is no regulatory limit to the rate
or amount of nuclear waste that could be disposed on the Pajarito Plateau.
Department of Energy, Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for
Continued Operation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Volume
II, January 1999. (Figure I.2.4.1-1 page I-15)
Link to the Department
of Energy for a printable PDF versions of TA-54 and TA-67 Expansion