LANL Open Burn Meeting Set for Wednesday, October 30th at Fuller Lodge

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Runs 10/25/13 through 11/1/13

(THEME UP AND UNDER) This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. Here is this week’s top headline:

  • LANL Open Burn Meeting Set for Wednesday, October 30th at Fuller Lodge

Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will host a public meeting about their application to gain a permit to continue the treatment of hazardous waste by open air burning at Technical Area 16, located in the southwest corner of the laboratory, near the Bandelier National Monument. LANL is proposing to burn up to 6,000 pounds of hazardous waste per year, which includes high explosives and solvents, with a limit of 200 pounds per individual burn. The meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 30th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Fuller Lodge, located at 2132 Central Avenue in Los Alamos.

The meeting will occur before LANL submits its permit application to the New Mexico Environment Department, who is the regulator.  LANL is proposing to include the open burning unit into the hazardous waste permit issued by the New Mexico Environment Department in 2010.  There are many open burn and open detonation units across the LANL site which operate under “interim status,” meaning that no formal request for a permit to operate has been submitted to the regulator.

Two open burn units at TA-16 were proposed to be permitted during the 2010 public hearing about the draft hazardous waste permit. They are identified as TA-16-388 and TA-16-399. During the hearing, the Hazardous Waste Bureau of the Environment Department opposed the open burning operations because LANL had not proved that the operations would not harm human health and the environment. But the Secretary of the Environment Department disagreed and allowed LANL to submit an application for a permit.

In the meantime, LANL used the TA-16-399 unit to reduce its inventory of bulk high explosives. LANL submitted a plan to close this unit and the Environment Department anticipates releasing a draft closure plan for public review and comment in November 2013.

LANL has submitted an application for the TA-16-388 open burn unit, which is the subject of the public meeting. The TA-16-388 unit includes a 22 foot by 22 foot concrete pad surrounded on three sides by a three-foot high concrete wall. Three five-foot long propane burners, mounted on the concrete walls, are used to heat the material in order to destroy the explosives.

LANL says that over 80 percent of the waste generated to be treated by the open burn unit are from machining explosive components. In 2012, LANL burned about 3,200 pounds of explosive waste or explosive-contaminated waste in 49 burns, which lasted less than 25 hours.

Public comments are due to the Environment Department on or before December 2, 2013 to Dave Cobrain, NMED-Hazardous Waste Bureau, 2905 Rodeo Park Drive East, Building 1, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505-6313; telephone (505) 476-6000 or email

CCNS will be preparing sample public comments after the meeting for you to use to prepare your comments.  Please stay tuned.

This has been the CCNS News Update. For more information and to receive sample public comments, please visit our website at and like us on Facebook.



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