LANL & Other North Central New Mexico Facilities

LANLLos Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) –
Nuclear Weapons Manufacturing and Waste Storage and Disposal

Department of Energy (DOE) Facility operated by Los Alamos National Security, LLC (Bechtel, URS, Babcock & Wilcox, and the University of California

In 2008, the EPA designated the Española Basin as a sole source drinking water aquifer. The designation means that the basin which is located below the area between the Jemez and Sangre de Cristo Mountains from Tres Piedras to Galisteo is the sole source of drinking water for the people living in the area.  Los Alamos National Laboratory is located within this area.

Since 1943, the history of nuclear weapons production in New Mexico has left its mark on the Pajarito Plateau. Over 21 million cubic feet of chemical and radioactive waste have been buried in unlined pits, trenches and shafts at LANL in the volcanic tuff.
In the early 1990s, the DOE identified approximately 2,100 sites that have the potential to release contaminants into canyons feeding the Rio Grande and recharging the regional aquifer. A number of sites contaminated with the banned chemical polychlorinated biphenyl or PCB have the potential to release further contaminants.
The Buckman Direct Diversion Project, a source of drinking water for the residents of Santa Fe, is located down gradient from the LANL waste sites. Surface water recharges regional aquifers and the Rio Grande, a source of drinking water for everyone south of Santa Fe including Albuquerque.
Cerro Grande Fire Plume

Cerro Grande Fire

The May 2000 Cerro Grande fire burned over 7,000 acres on LANL property. The June 2011 Las Conchas fire burned the upper watershed above where the Cerro Grande fire burned. Both fires resulted in increased erosion, flooding and runoff of radioactive, toxic and hazardous pollutants into the Rio Grande.


Las Conchas Fire

The Las Conchas Fire

The Department of Energy, LANL and Los Alamos County own 1,200 acre-feet a year of San Juan-Chama water, which they have not used.  They are proposing to divert the water from the Rio Grande at the Buckman Direct Diversion Project site, northwest of Santa Fe.

DOE is hoping to manufacture 50 to 80 plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons annually.  If approved, water usage at LANL would increase by 142% over its 50-year plus operating life.


NGOs Working on LANL Issues
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety
Honor Our Pueblo Existence
Loretto Community
Nuclear Watch New Mexico
Southwest Research and Information Center
Think Outside the Bomb

Chevron Questa Mine (formerly Molycorp Inc.) – Superfund Site


North Railroad Avenue Plume in Espanola – Superfund Site

Santa Fe Alloys – Industry and Research


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