N3B-Los Alamos Stops Legacy Waste Cleanup At TA-54 And TA-21 Due To Inconsistencies In Training Records


Newport News Nuclear (N3B) stopped legacy waste cleanup activities Wednesday at Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Technical Area (TA) 54 and TA 21 following the discovery of inconsistencies in training qualification records for a number of nuclear operations personnel.

N3B is evaluating the extent of the discrepancies and determining the steps necessary to resume work. Meanwhile impacted N3B team members have been transferred to other activities that do not require access to nuclear facilities. As of late Thursday afternoon, N3B officials confirmed that material and waste had been placed in a safe and secure configuration.

“We do not take this action lightly. Two of my priorities are: (1) strengthening the overall culture at N3B; and (2) ensuring operational excellence, starting with safety,” N3B President and General Manager Brad Smith told employees in an email earlier in the afternoon. “How we work is just as important as what we do. When the N3B leadership team discovers issues, such as what has caused this stop work order, we will focus on identifying and implementing solutions so that we can continue our cleanup work safely and efficiently.”

Smith said more information on the path forward for resuming full activities will be provided as it becomes available.

“I know all N3B team members understand and appreciate the need to balance achieving cleanup goals with safety. Thank you for your commitment to our safe operations and overall success,” Smith told employees.

The Los Alamos Reporter has reached out to the office of Michael Mikolanis, manager of the Department of Energy Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office for a statement about the shutdowns.

N3B initiated a previous shutdown in October 2022 when Kim Lebak was general manager.