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Title: Environmental Assessment for Proposed Access Control and Traffic Improvements at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico

Abstract

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has assigned a continuing role to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in carrying out NNSA's national security mission. It is imperative that LANL continue this enduring responsibility and that NNSA adequately safeguard LANL capabilities. NNSA has identified the need to restrict vehicular access to certain areas within LANL for the purpose of permanently enhancing the physical security environment at LANL. It has also identified the need to change certain traffic flow patterns for the purpose of enhancing physical safety at LANL. The Proposed Action would include the construction of eastern and western bypass roads around the LANL Technical Area (TA) 3 area and the installation of vehicle access controls and related improvements to enhance security along Pajarito Road and in the LANL core area. This Proposed Action would modify the current roadway network and traffic patterns. It would also result in traversing Areas of Environmental Interest identified in the LANL Habitat Management Plan, demolition of part of an historic structure at Building 3-40, and traversing several potential release sites and part of the Los Alamos County landfill. The No Action Alternative was also considered. Under this alternative NNSA would not construct the eastern ormore » western bypass roads, any access-control stations, or related improvements. Diamond Drive would continue to serve as the primary conduit for most vehicle traffic within the LANL core area regardless of actual trip destinations. The No Action Alternative does not meet NNSA's purpose and need for action. The proposed bypass road corridors traverse both developed and undeveloped areas. Several potential release sites are present. These would either be sampled and remediated in accordance with New Mexico Environment Department requirements before construction or avoided to allow for future remediation. In some cases, contaminant levels may fall below remediation thresholds and the Environmental Restoration Project would set requirements for workers. Structural bridges would be used to span canyons that are Areas of Environmental Interest because they include habitat for threatened and endangered species, or because they are 100-year floodplains or wetlands. Traffic congestion is not expected to increase once construction is completed. The Proposed Action would allow for a flexible approach to vehicle access controls in response to security conditions. Traffic safety within LANL would improve because access control would screen out drivers without a need to be in the LANL TA-3 area or along Pajarito Road. There would be adequate parking for University of California personnel and construction workers. Construction and demolition wastes would be transported to a licensed commercial landfill or recycled for other construction projects at LANL or offsite. Construction for the proposed bypass roads would be expected to produce only temporary and localized air and noise emissions. The Proposed Action would have no effects on visual resources, land use, socioeconomics, or environmental justice. The roadways would be designed to accommodate geologic and soil conditions. The demolition of part of Building 3-40 could have an adverse effect on historic structures since it is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and, therefore, a treatment plan would be negotiated between NNSA and the State Historic Preservation Office.« less

Authors:
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
U.S. Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security Administration, Los Alamos Site Office (US)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of NEPA Policy and Assistance (EH-42) (US)
OSTI Identifier:
823553
Report Number(s):
DOE/EA-1429
TRN: US200427%%639
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Other Information: PBD: 23 Aug 2002
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
45 MILITARY TECHNOLOGY, WEAPONRY, AND NATIONAL DEFENSE; CONSTRUCTION; DEMOLITION; ENDANGERED SPECIES; HABITAT; LAND USE; NATIONAL SECURITY; PERSONNEL; PRESERVATION; SAFEGUARDS; SAFETY; SANITARY LANDFILLS; SCREENS; SECURITY; SOILS; WASTES; WETLANDS; EA; LOS ALAMOS; NM; LOS ALAMOS COUNTY LANDFILL; BYPASS ROADS; LANL TECHNICAL AREA; TA 3 AREA; VEHICLE ACCESS CONTROLS

Citation Formats

N /A. Environmental Assessment for Proposed Access Control and Traffic Improvements at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico. United States: N. p., 2002. Web. doi:10.2172/823553.
N /A. Environmental Assessment for Proposed Access Control and Traffic Improvements at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico. United States. doi:10.2172/823553.
N /A. 2002. "Environmental Assessment for Proposed Access Control and Traffic Improvements at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico". United States. doi:10.2172/823553. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/823553.
@article{osti_823553,
title = {Environmental Assessment for Proposed Access Control and Traffic Improvements at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico},
author = {N /A},
abstractNote = {The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has assigned a continuing role to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in carrying out NNSA's national security mission. It is imperative that LANL continue this enduring responsibility and that NNSA adequately safeguard LANL capabilities. NNSA has identified the need to restrict vehicular access to certain areas within LANL for the purpose of permanently enhancing the physical security environment at LANL. It has also identified the need to change certain traffic flow patterns for the purpose of enhancing physical safety at LANL. The Proposed Action would include the construction of eastern and western bypass roads around the LANL Technical Area (TA) 3 area and the installation of vehicle access controls and related improvements to enhance security along Pajarito Road and in the LANL core area. This Proposed Action would modify the current roadway network and traffic patterns. It would also result in traversing Areas of Environmental Interest identified in the LANL Habitat Management Plan, demolition of part of an historic structure at Building 3-40, and traversing several potential release sites and part of the Los Alamos County landfill. The No Action Alternative was also considered. Under this alternative NNSA would not construct the eastern or western bypass roads, any access-control stations, or related improvements. Diamond Drive would continue to serve as the primary conduit for most vehicle traffic within the LANL core area regardless of actual trip destinations. The No Action Alternative does not meet NNSA's purpose and need for action. The proposed bypass road corridors traverse both developed and undeveloped areas. Several potential release sites are present. These would either be sampled and remediated in accordance with New Mexico Environment Department requirements before construction or avoided to allow for future remediation. In some cases, contaminant levels may fall below remediation thresholds and the Environmental Restoration Project would set requirements for workers. Structural bridges would be used to span canyons that are Areas of Environmental Interest because they include habitat for threatened and endangered species, or because they are 100-year floodplains or wetlands. Traffic congestion is not expected to increase once construction is completed. The Proposed Action would allow for a flexible approach to vehicle access controls in response to security conditions. Traffic safety within LANL would improve because access control would screen out drivers without a need to be in the LANL TA-3 area or along Pajarito Road. There would be adequate parking for University of California personnel and construction workers. Construction and demolition wastes would be transported to a licensed commercial landfill or recycled for other construction projects at LANL or offsite. Construction for the proposed bypass roads would be expected to produce only temporary and localized air and noise emissions. The Proposed Action would have no effects on visual resources, land use, socioeconomics, or environmental justice. The roadways would be designed to accommodate geologic and soil conditions. The demolition of part of Building 3-40 could have an adverse effect on historic structures since it is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and, therefore, a treatment plan would be negotiated between NNSA and the State Historic Preservation Office.},
doi = {10.2172/823553},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = 2002,
month = 8
}

Technical Report:

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  • The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has assigned a continuing role to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in carrying out NNSAs national security mission. To enable LANL to continue this enduring responsibility requires that NNSA maintain the capabilities and capacities required in support of its national mission assignments at LANL. To carry out its Congressionally assigned mission requirements, NNSA must maintain a safe and reliable infrastructure at LANL. Upgrades to the various utility services at LANL have been ongoing together with routine maintenance activities over the years. However, the replacement of a certain portion of natural gas service transmission pipelinemore » is now necessary as this delivery system element has been operating well beyond its original design life for the past 20 to 30 years and components of the line are suffering from normal stresses, strains, and general failures. The Proposed Action is to grant an easement to the Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM) to construct, operate, and maintain approximately 15,000 feet (4,500 meters) of 12-inch (in.) (30-centimeter [cm]) coated steel natural gas transmission mainline on NNSA-administered land within LANL along Los Alamos Canyon. The new gas line would begin at the existing valve setting located at the bottom of Los Alamos Canyon near the Los Alamos County water well pump house and adjacent to the existing 12-in. (30-cm) PNM gas transmission mainline. The new gas line (owned by PNM) would then cross the streambed and continue east in a new easement obtained by PNM from the NNSA, paralleling the existing electrical power line along the bottom of the canyon. The gas line would then turn northeast near State Road (SR) 4 and be connected to the existing 12-in. (30-cm) coated steel gas transmission mainline, located within the right-of-way (ROW) of SR 502. The Proposed Action would also involve crossing a streambed twice. PNM would bore under the streambed for pipe installation. PNM would also construct and maintain a service road along the pipeline easement. In addition, when construction is complete, the easement would be reseeded. Portions of the Proposed Action are located within potential roosting and nesting habitat for the Mexican spotted owl (Strix occidentalis lucida), a Federally protected threatened species. Surveys over the last seven years have identified no owls within this area. The Proposed Action would be conducted according to the provisions of the LANL Threatened and Endangered Species Habitat Management Plan. Effects would not be adverse to either individuals or potential critical habitat for protected species. Cultural resources within the vicinity of the proposed easement would be avoided with the exception of an historic trail. However, the original trail has been affected by previous activities and no longer has sufficient historical value to be eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Minimal undisturbed areas would be involved in the Proposed Action. Most of the proposed easement follows an established ROW for the existing electrical power line. There are several potentially contaminated areas within Los Alamos Canyon; however, these areas would be avoided, where possible, or, if avoidance isn't possible or practicable under the Proposed Action, the contaminated areas would be sampled and remediated in accordance with New Mexico Environment Department requirements before construction.« less
  • In order to maintain its ability to continue to conduct uninterrupted radioactive and metallurgical research in a safe, secure, and environmentally sound manner, the US Department of Energy (DOE) proposes to upgrade the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Chemistry and Metallurgy Research (CMR) Building. The building was built in the early 1950s to provide a research and experimental facility for analytical chemistry, plutonium and uranium chemistry, and metallurgy. Today, research and development activities are performed involving nuclear materials. A variety of radioactive and chemical hazards are present. The CMR Building is nearing the end of its original design life andmore » does not meet many of today`s design codes and standards. The Proposed Action for this Environmental Assessment (EA) includes structural modifications to some portions of the CMR Building which do not meet current seismic criteria for a Hazard Category 2 Facility. Also included are upgrades and improvements in building ventilation, communications, monitoring, and fire protection systems. This EA analyzes the environmental effects of construction of the proposed upgrades. The Proposed Action will have no adverse effects upon agricultural and cultural resources, wetlands and floodplains, endangered and threatened species, recreational resources, or water resources. The Proposed Action would have negligible effects on human health and transportation, and would not pose a disproportionate adverse health or environmental impact on minority or low-income populations within an 80 kilometer (50 mile) radius of the CMR Building.« less
  • The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) requires Federal agency officials to consider the environmental consequences of their proposed actions before decisions are made. In complying with NEPA, the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), follows the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR 1500-1508) and DOE's NEPA implementing procedures (10 CFR 1021). The purpose of an environmental assessment (EA) is to provide Federal decision makers with sufficient evidence and analysis to determine whether to prepare an environmental impact statement (EIS) or issue a Finding of No Significant Impact. Los Alamos National Laboratorymore » (LANL) is a national security laboratory located at Los Alamos, New Mexico, that comprises about 40 square miles (mi{sup 2}) (103.6 square kilometers [km{sup 2}]) of buildings, structures, and forested land (Figure 1). It is administered by NNSA for the Federal government and is managed and operated under contract by the University of California (UC). The NNSA must make a decision whether to consolidate and construct new facilities for the Dynamic Experimentation Division (DX) to create a central core area of facilities, including offices, laboratories, and other support structures, at LANL's Two-Mile Mesa Complex, which comprises portions of Technical Area (TA) 6, TA-22, and TA-40. This Proposed Action would involve constructing new buildings; consolidating existing operations and offices; enhancing utilities, roads, and security infrastructure; and demolishing or removing older buildings, structures, and transportables at various technical areas used by DX (Figure 2). This EA has been prepared to assess the potential environmental consequences of this proposed construction, operational consolidation, and demolition project. The objectives of this EA are to (1) describe the underlying purpose and need for NNSA action; (2) describe the Proposed Action and identify and describe any reasonable alternatives that satisfy the purpose and need for agency action; (3) describe baseline environmental conditions at LANL; (4) analyze the potential indirect, direct, and cumulative effects to the existing environment from implementation of the Proposed Action, and (5) compare the effects of the Proposed Action with the No Action Alternative and other reasonable alternatives. For the purposes of compliance with NEPA, reasonable alternatives are identified as being those that meet NNSA's purpose and need for action by virtue of timeliness, appropriate technology, and applicability to LANL. The EA process provides NNSA with environmental information that can be used in developing mitigative actions, if necessary, to minimize or avoid adverse effects to the quality of the human environment and natural ecosystems should NNSA decide to proceed with implementing the Proposed Action at LANL. Ultimately, the goal of NEPA, and this EA, is to aid NNSA officials in making decisions based on an understanding of environmental consequences and in taking actions that protect, restore, and enhance the environment.« less
  • The ''National Environmental Policy Act of 1969'' (NEPA) requires Federal agency officials to consider the environmental consequences of their proposed actions before decisions are made. In complying with NEPA, the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) follows the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 ''Code of Federal Regulations'' [CFR] 1500-1508) and DOE's own NEPA implementing procedures (10 CFR 1021). The purpose of an environmental assessment (EA) is to provide Federal decision-makers with sufficient evidence and analysis to determine whether to prepare an Environmental impact statement (EIS) or issue a Finding of No Significant Impact.more » This EA has been prepared to assess environmental consequences resulting from the construction and operation of a Biosafety Level 3 (BSL-3) laboratory facility within the boundaries of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). LANL is one of the national security laboratories under the authority of the Under Secretary for Nuclear Security of the NNSA who serves as the Administrator for Nuclear Security and Head of the NNSA (50 USC Chapter 41, Section 2402(b)). The objectives of this EA are to (1) describe the underlying purpose and need for NNSA action; (2) describe the Proposed Action and identify and describe any reasonable alternatives that satisfy the purpose and need for NNSA action; (3) describe baseline environmental conditions at LANL; (4) analyze the potential indirect, direct, and cumulative effects to the existing environment from implementation of the Proposed Action and other reasonable alternatives; and (5) compare the effects of the Proposed Action with the No Action Alternative and other reasonable alternatives. For the purposes of compliance with NEPA, reasonable alternatives are identified as being those that meet NNSA's purpose and need for action by virtue of timeliness, appropriate technology, and applicability to LANL. The EA process also provides NNSA with environmental information that can be used in developing mitigative actions, if necessary, to minimize or avoid adverse effects to the quality of the human environment and natural ecosystems should NNSA decide to proceed with implementing the construction and operation of a BSL-3 facility at LANL. Ultimately, the goal of NEPA and this EA is to aid NNSA officials in making decisions based on an understanding of environmental consequences and taking actions that protect, restore, and enhance the environment.« less
  • Chapter 1 presents the United States (U.S.) Department of Energy (DOE), National Nuclear Security Administration's (NNSA) requirements under the ''National Environmental Policy Act of 1969'' (NEPA), background information on the proposal, the purpose and need for agency action, and a summary of public involvement activities. This Environmental Assessment (EA) incorporates information (tiers) from the ''Environmental Impact Statement for the Conveyance and Transfer of Certain Land Tracts Administered by the U.S. Department of Energy and Located at Los Alamos National Laboratory'' (LANL) (DOE 1999a), the ''Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Continued Operation of the Los Alamos National Laboratory'' (SWEIS; DOE 1999b),more » the ''RCRA Facility Investigation (RFI) Report for Potential Release Sites 73-001(a)-99 and 73-001(b)-99 (LANL 1998a)'', and the ''Voluntary Corrective Measure (VCM) Plan for Potential Release Sites 73-001(a)-99 and 73-001(b)-99 (LANL 2002)'', and other environmental documents listed in Chapter 7, References.« less