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Title: Common ground: An environmental ethic for Los Alamos National Laboratory

Abstract

Three predominant philosophies have characterized American business ethical thinking over the past several decades. The first phase is the ethics of self-interest'' which argues that maximizing self-interest coincidentally maximizes the common good. The second phase is legality ethics.'' Proponents argue that what is important is knowing the rules and following them scrupulously. The third phase might be called stake-holder ethics.'' A central tenant is that everyone affected by a decision has a moral hold on the decision maker. This paper will discuss one recent initiative of the Los Alamos National Laboratory to move beyond rules and regulations toward an environmental ethic that integrates the values of stakeholder ethics'' into the Laboratory's historical culture and value systems. These Common Ground Principles are described. 11 refs.

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Los Alamos National Lab., NM (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE; USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
OSTI Identifier:
5001860
Report Number(s):
LA-UR-91-3111; CONF-9109274-2
ON: DE92002513
DOE Contract Number:
W-7405-ENG-36
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: ECM 91 congress, Santa Fe, NM (United States), 18-20 Sep 1991
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
99 GENERAL AND MISCELLANEOUS//MATHEMATICS, COMPUTING, AND INFORMATION SCIENCE; LOS ALAMOS; ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY; ETHICAL ASPECTS; ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS; ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS; MANAGEMENT; PLANNING; PUBLIC OPINION; DEVELOPED COUNTRIES; FEDERAL REGION VI; NEW MEXICO; NORTH AMERICA; USA; 990100* - Management

Citation Formats

Menlove, F.L. Common ground: An environmental ethic for Los Alamos National Laboratory. United States: N. p., 1991. Web.
Menlove, F.L. Common ground: An environmental ethic for Los Alamos National Laboratory. United States.
Menlove, F.L. 1991. "Common ground: An environmental ethic for Los Alamos National Laboratory". United States. doi:. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/5001860.
@article{osti_5001860,
title = {Common ground: An environmental ethic for Los Alamos National Laboratory},
author = {Menlove, F.L.},
abstractNote = {Three predominant philosophies have characterized American business ethical thinking over the past several decades. The first phase is the ethics of self-interest'' which argues that maximizing self-interest coincidentally maximizes the common good. The second phase is legality ethics.'' Proponents argue that what is important is knowing the rules and following them scrupulously. The third phase might be called stake-holder ethics.'' A central tenant is that everyone affected by a decision has a moral hold on the decision maker. This paper will discuss one recent initiative of the Los Alamos National Laboratory to move beyond rules and regulations toward an environmental ethic that integrates the values of stakeholder ethics'' into the Laboratory's historical culture and value systems. These Common Ground Principles are described. 11 refs.},
doi = {},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 1991,
month = 1
}

Conference:
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  • The Los Alamos National Laboratory (Laboratory) has supported this country through 50 years of research and development primarily in the area of nuclear weapons and energy. As a result of the Laboratory`s activities, contamination of the environment occurred. The cleanup of contaminated areas and the prevention of further contamination has become an important part of the Laboratory`s new mission: the reduction of the nuclear danger. The cleanup of the Laboratory is somewhat unique. It is a very large site. It includes 43 square miles of Laboratory land that will continue to be in industrial use or under institutional control formore » decades or centuries to come. It also includes about 25 square miles of former Laboratory land that has been converted to residential use, the Los Alamos townsite. The unusual topography and hydrogeology of the site was shaped during the last million years through the eruption of a huge volcano and the ensuing erosion of the tuff-basalt plateau into 19 canyons and associated finger-like mesas. During the early phase of the Environmental Restoration (ER) Program, 2,100 sites were identified as potential release sites. Sites range from a few hundred square feet to a few acres in area. Contamination depths range from a few to 100 feet. Typical contaminants are chemicals, heavy metals, radioactive constituents, and high explosives. Of greatest concern are surface contamination, migration of the contaminants along the surface into creeks and arroyos of the canyons and ultimately into the Rio Grande, and migration through the earth into the drinking water aquifers.« less
  • In response to the change in DOE-Defense Program needs, Los Alamos National Laboratory has reorganized to face new challenges and missions. One element of the reorganization was the creation of a program office that coalesces all environmental management efforts at the Laboratory to more effectively use resources. The ten areas that compose this environmental management program office are: decontamination and decommissioning, red team reviews, environmental restoration, marketing and commercialization, pollution prevention, policy and regulatory concerns, technology development, waste management, program direction support, and one area under development is quantitative risk assessment. While all of these program elements support environmental management,more » they have distinctly different driving forces. To maximize the effectiveness of these program elements, integration must be at a higher management level than that which previously existed.« less
  • The Los Alamos National Laboratory, operated by the University of California, encompasses more than forty-three square miles of mesas and canyons in northern New Mexico. A Department of Energy national laboratory, Los Alamos is one of the largest multidisciplinary, multiprogram laboratories in the world. Our mission, to apply science and engineering capabilities to problems of national security, has expanded to include a broad array of programs. We conduct extensive research in energy, nuclear safeguards and security, biomedical science, computational science, environmental protection and cleanup, materials science, and other basic sciences. The Energy Technology Programs Office is responsible for overseeing andmore » developing programs in three strategic areas: energy systems and the environment, transportation and infrastructure, and integrated chemicals and materials processing. Our programs focus on developing reliable, economic and environmentally sound technologies that can help ensure an adequate supply of energy for the nation. To meet these needs, we are involved in programs that range from new and enhanced oil recovery technologies and tapping renewable energy sources, through efforts in industrial processes, electric power systems, clean coal technologies, civilian radioactive waste, high temperature superconductivity, to studying the environmental effects of energy use.« less
  • Since its inception in 1943, Los Alamos National Laboratory`s (LANL`s) primary mission has been nuclear weapons research and development, which involved the use of hazardous and radioactive materials, some of which were disposed of onsite. LANL has established an extensive Environmental Restoration Project (Project) to investigate and remediate those hazardous and radioactive waste disposal sites. This paper describes LANL`s identification and resolution of critical issues associated with the integration and management of quality in the Project.
  • The Environmental Restoration (ER) Project at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) is responsible for the characterization, clean up, and monitoring of over 2,124 identified potential release sites (PRS). These PRSs have resulted from operations associated with weapons and energy related research which has been conducted at LANL since 1942. To accomplish mission goals, the ER Project conducts field sampling to determine possible types and levels of chemical contamination as well as their geographic extent. Last fiscal year, approximately 4000 samples were collected during ER Project field sampling campaigns. In the past, activities associated with field sampling such as sample campaignmore » planning, paperwork, shipping and analytical laboratory tracking; verification and order fulfillment; validation and data quality assurance were performed by multiple groups working with a variety of software applications, databases and hard copy reports. This resulted in significant management and communication difficulties, data delivery delays, and inconsistent processes; it also represented a potential threat to overall data integrity. Creation of an organization, software applications and a data process that could provide for cost-effective management of the activities and data mentioned above became a management priority, resulting in a development of a reengineering task. This reengineering effort--currently nearing completion--has resulted in personnel reorganization, the development of a centralized data repository, and a powerful web-based sample management system that allows for an appreciably streamlined and more efficient data process. These changes have collectively cut data delivery times, allowed for larger volumes of samples and data to be handled with fewer personnel, and resulted in significant cost savings. This paper will provide a case study of the reengineering effort undertaken by the ER Project of its analytical data management process. It includes descriptions of strategic planning, personnel reorganization, process reengineering, software development, data repository development, and web development.« less