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New Mexico seeks court action over nuclear waste clean up at Los Alamos

This undated file aerial photo shows the Los Alamos National laboratory in Los Alamos, N.M. (The Albuquerque Journal via AP, File)

An alleged failure to clean up hazardous and radioactive waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) led the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) to take the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to court in hopes of seeing the DOE address its concerns.

In a complaint filed in the First Judicial District Court in Santa Fe County, NMED alleged the DOE displayed a “pattern” of failing to meet deadlines and benchmarks for hazardous waste clean-up at the federal nuclear facility in northern New Mexico.

NMED sought to terminate a 2016 consent order, enacted during the past administration, citing a lack of adequate targets and progress in cleaning up waste at the facility.

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The order expired on Jan. 22, 2021.

NMED also sought a civil penalty of $333,000 and called for court-supervised negotiations to set proper targets and a schedule to address contamination.