Expert Report

Each report is produced by a committee of experts selected by the Academy to address a particular statement of task and is subject to a rigorous, independent peer review; while the reports represent views of the committee, they also are endorsed by the Academy. Learn more on our expert consensus reports.

Discharges of wastes from activities associated with the federal government's Los Alamos site in northern New Mexico began during the Manhattan Project in 1943. Now designated the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), the site is operated under contract by the Department of Energy (DOE). Through past and ongoing investigations, radioactive and chemical contaminants have been detected in parts of the complex system of groundwater beneath the site. Since effective protection of groundwater is important for LANL's continuing operations, DOE's Office of Environmental Management requested technical advice and recommendations regarding several aspects of LANL's groundwater protection program. This interim report summarizes the committee's information-gathering activities and identifies issues within the scope of its task that have risen to the committee's attention without offering any findings or recommendations. The final report is expected to be released in May 2007 and it is the hope that results of the final study will provide guidance and impetus for dialogue and agreement among DOE, LANL, and other stakeholders on a focused, cost-effective program for protecting the groundwater in and around the site.