Cleanup efforts are under way to remove radioactive and chemical pollution at 14 major U.S. facilities that were involved in the production of nuclear weapons for the Department of Energy and its predecessor agencies. Four of these sites (indicated by asterisks) are also involved in dismantling warheads and storing excess plutonium and highly enriched uranium. A 15th site, near Carlsbad, N.M., is being set up to store nuclear wastes. WEAPONS RESEARCH SITES Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, Calif. (established 1952)
Built for weapons research and development. Now a superfund site. Problems include contamination of soil and groundwater on-site and beyond by tritium, lead, chromium and gasoline. May be consolidated with Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Cleanup cost: $362 million appropriated for FY 1990-94
$80 million requested FY 1995
Size: 7,680 acres Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, N.M. (1942)
Built for weapons research and development, nuclear fission and fusion, nuclear safeguards and environmental research. Now contains one of the world's biggest radioactive waste dumps. Some underground waste-storage tanks have been removed.
Cleanup cost: $608 million appropriated FY 1990-94
$180 million requested FY 1995
Size: 48,000 acres. Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, N.M. (1945)
Conducts research and development of all non-nuclear components of nuclear weapons, develops transportation and storage systems for nuclear weapons. Studies under way to assess extent of contamination from hazardous waste.
Cost: $259 million appropriated FY 1990-94
$52 million requested FY 1995
Size: 2,842 acres NUCLEAR MATERIALS PRODUCTION SITES Fernald Environmental Management Project (formerly the Feed Materials Production Center), Fernald, Ohio (1953; renamed 1991)
Produced nuclear reactor fuel until 1989, when all production operations stopped. Closed permanently in 1991 when cleanup began of on-site and surrounding areas contaminated with uranium dust. Now a superfund site, with groundwater cleanup under way; Great Miami Aquifer considered at risk.
Cost: $1.2 billion appropriated FY 1990-94
$294 million requested FY 1995
Size: 1,050 acres Hanford Reservation, Richland, Wash. (1943)
Extracted plutonium from uranium for weapons and built and tested advanced reactor designs. All plutonium production shut down in 1989. Now a superfund site. Billions of gallons of radioactive and chemical wastes reportedly were released into the air, soil and groundwater, some reaching the Columbia River. Risk seen from explosion of hydrogen gas building up in waste-storage tanks. Highly radioactive reactor fuel rods were buried in shallow trenches on the site.
Cost: $5.3 billion appropriated FY 1990-94
$1.6 billion requested FY 1995
Size: 360,000 acres Idaho National Engineering Laboratory, Idaho Falls (1949)
Develops reactors and manages nuclear waste and highly enriched uranium (HEU) from spent naval reactor fuel. Now a superfund site. Has more than half the country's transuranic wastes (synthetic radioisotopes generated in reactors) stored in drums. Plutonium contamination from unlined burial trenches and chemicals in groundwater may be contaminating Snake River aquifer.
Cost: $1.9 billion appropriated FY 1990-94
$502 million requested FY 1995
Size: 570,000 acres
*Oak Ridge Reservation, Oak Ridge, Tenn. (1942)
Consists of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the K-25 site (uranium enrichment) and the Y-12 plant, original site of the Manhattan Project. Once produced enriched uranium and other weapons components; still fabricates materials for nuclear-powered submarines. Currently stores highly enriched uranium (HEU) from weapons dismantled at Pantex. Now a superfund site, it has caused extensive pollution from mercury, arsenic and other toxic materials. K-25 was shut down in 1987 due to environmental problems.
Cost: $2.8 billion appropriated FY 1990-94
$722 million requested FY 1995
Size: 5,400 acres
*Savannah River Site, Aiken, S.C. (1952)
Produces tritium and once produced plutonium. Currently reprocesses tritium received from dismantled nuclear weapons. Vitrification facility may be used in future to dispose of excess weapons plutonium. Now a superfund site. Aging reactors shut down in 1988. Tuscaloosa Aquifer under the site is contaminated by solvents and tritium.
Cost: $3.2 billion appropriated FY 1990-94
$744 million requested FY 1995
Size: 192,000 acres WARHEAD PRODUCTION SITES Kansas City Plant, Kansas City, Mo. (1949)
Produces electronic, plastic and metal components for nuclear weapons. Now a superfund site. Soil contamination from PCBs and other toxic chemicals poses threat.
Cost: $88 million appropriated FY 1990-94
$13 million requested FY 1995
Size: 320 acres Mound Plant, Miamisburg, Ohio (1947)
Produced tritium and later detonators, cables and other non- nuclear components for nuclear warheads. Production discontinued in 1993, when mission shifted to cleanup. Now a superfund site. Plutonium contaminating soil may threaten groundwater.
Cost: $184 million appropriated FY 1990-94
$45 million requested FY 1995
Size: 306 acres *Pantex Plant, Amarillo, Texas (1952)
Assembled weapons; now responsible for maintaining nuclear weapons stockpile, dismantling excess weapons and temporarily storing plutonium cores and other materials from dismantled warheads. Radioactive and chemical contamination of storage areas, buildings and soil is now being assessed; cleanup of some areas is under way.
Cost: $128 million appropriated FY 1990-94
$46 million requested FY 1995
Size: 8,960 acres Pinellas Plant, near St. Petersburg, Fla. (1956)
Manufactures neutron generators, thermal batteries and other components for nuclear weapons, as well as radioisotope thermoelectric generators using plutonium. Has 14 contaminated areas, including groundwater contamination from tritium, lead and other toxic metals.
Cost: $33 million appropriated FY 1990-94
$9 million requested FY 1995
Size: 128 acres Rocky Flats Plant, Golden, Colo. (1952)
Produced plutonium “pits,” or cores, and other radioactive components. Production has stopped, with cleanup now the main mission. Now a superfund site; drinking water in Denver suburbs may be at risk from plutonium and other contaminants.
Cost: $1.3 billion appropriated FY 1990-94
$640 million requested FY 1995
Size: 6,550 acres WEAPONS TESTING SITE *Nevada Test Site, 65 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nev. (1951)
Used to test nuclear weapons. Last used for underground testing Sept. 23, 1992. Currently used as dump for material from weapons dismantled at Pantex plant. Yucca Mountain, for deep underground storage of waste, is located here. Problems include contamination from radioactive plutonium, cesium and strontium, largely the result of more than 1,100 above-ground tests, which were banned in 1963.
Cost: $227 million appropriated FY 1990-94
$65 million requested FY 1995
Size: 864,000 acres FUTURE WASTE SITE Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Carlsbad, N.M. (1981)
Being built to demonstrate feasibility of storing plutonium waste underground. Ten miles of tunnels 2,150 feet below the surface are to receive radioactive waste from nuclear weapons now temporarily stored in 10 states.
Cost: $746 million appropriated FY 1990-94
$185 million requested FY 1995
Size: 10,240 acres
* Sites currently involved in dismantling and temporary storage of nuclear weapons and materials.
Sources: Department of Energy, World Resources Institute, Military Production Network (Belmont, Mass.)