BY MAIRE O’NEILL
Los Alamos National Laboratory on Wednesday morning posted online the “Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) Yearbook 2019 Comparison of 2019 Data with Projections of the 2008 SWEIS for Continued Operation of Los Alamos National Laboratory”.
The 164-page yearbook compares the 2008 SWEIS projections with actual LANL operations data for calendar year 2019 and the report states that 2019, LANL operations mostly fell within the 2008 SWEIS projections. It addresses effluents to the environment; workforce and regional consequences; and changes to environmental areas for which the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has stewardship as the LANL administrator.
The full yearbook may be viewed here: https://permalink.lanl.gov/object/tr?what=info:lanl-repo/lareport/LA-UR-20-30217
Key items noted in the report include:
- At the end of CY 2019, there were 13,522 employees. Although the number of employees slightly exceeds the 2008 SWEIS No Action Alternative for CY 2019, the total number of employees from 2008 through 2018 was fewer than the number of employees projected in the 2008 SWEIS No Action Alternative. The DOE/NNSA issued an amended Record of Decision in September 2020 that selected to implement additional elements of the Expanded Operations Alternative for an increase in pit production, which includes an increase in the projected number of LANL employees to 15,400.
- Radioactive airborne emissions from point sources (i.e., stacks) during CY 2019 totaled approximately 314 curies, less than one percent of the annual projected radiological air emissions of 34,000 curies1 projected in the 2008 SWEIS. The maximum offsite dose to the maximally exposed individual was 0.41 millirem—well below the 8.2 millirem per year dose projected in the SWEIS.
- Water consumption for CY 2019 was 269.1 million gallons. The 2008 SWEIS projection for annual water consumption was 459.8 million gallons. Improvements to the SERF operations have led to increased use of recycled effluent in cooling towers in CY 2019. In CY 2019, energy consumption was 438,264 megawatt-hours. The 2008 SWEIS projection for annual energy consumption was 651,000 megawatt-hours. Gas consumption for CY 2019 was 947,718 thousand decatherms.
- In CY 2019, LANL biological resources staff continued annual surveys under the Threatened and Endangered Species Habitat Management Plan (LANL 2017a).
- No archaeological excavations occurred on LANL property. Measured parameters for cultural resources were below 2008 SWEIS projections. The 1999 SWEIS projected that 15 prehistoric sites would be affected by the expansion of Area G into Zones 4 and 6 at TA-54.
- LANL emitted approximately 47,257.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents in 2019.
- The 2008 SWEIS projected the disturbance of 41 acres of new land at TA-54 because of the need for additional disposal cells for low-level radioactive waste. To date, the proposed expansion has not been necessary, so no cultural resources have been affected.
- DOE/NNSA completed the required consultation with the New Mexico State Historic Preservation Office for the demolition of eight historic buildings in fiscal year 2019. Under an Interagency Agreement for preservation assistance between the National Park Service and DOE/NNSA, LANL cultural resources staff worked with the National Park Service on one priority project at Manhattan Project National Historical Park.
- Radiological exposures to LANL workers were within the levels projected in the 2008 SWEIS. The total effective dose equivalent for the LANL workforce in CY 2019 was 221 person-rem, lower than the 280 person-rem annual workforce dose projected in the 2008 SWEIS. There were 140 recordable cases of occupational injury and illness in CY 2019. In addition, approximately 56 cases resulted in days away, restricted, or transferred duties.
- The 2008 SWEIS combined transuranic (TRU) Waste and mixed TRU into one category because they are both managed for disposal at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad. In 2019, 42 shipments (29 from Triad and 13 from N3B, containing TRU and mixed TRU waste were transported to WIPP.
- NNSA removed three structures during 2019, eliminating 29,588 square feet of the LANL footprint.
The 2008 SWEIS was published in May 2008 and the following September, DOE/NNSA issued the first record of decision, choosing to implement the No Action Alternative with some additions. In July 2009, a second record of decision was issued which also chose to implement the No Action Alternative with some additional elements.