Friday, March 03, 2006

Geologist says LANL needs to upgrade wells

By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
March 3, 2006

A geologist says Los Alamos National Laboratory needs to spend $5 to $10 million to replace wells that monitor pollution and hire an independent company to come up with a new plan to watch for contamination.

But the lab already is addressing the problem internally, a spokeswoman countered.

Bob Gilkeson, who made a presentation to Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety on Thursday, said 14 of the lab's 33 wells can't properly detect pollution because they were installed improperly and had drilling additives like bentonite clay, which can conceal contamination, he said.

"The specter of problems with this work over the last 10 years is very large," Gilkeson said.

Gilkeson said he first consulted the lab on its well-monitoring program in 1997 and has worked on the groundwater-contamination issue for 10 years.

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