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Editorial: More cleanup cash is good LANL news

When it comes to transuranic waste and hexavalent chromium plumes, any cleanup is a good cleanup.

So it’s good news the Biden administration’s budget proposal would increase U.S. Department of Energy funding for environmental cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory by 32%, totaling $333.5 million in the upcoming fiscal year.

Radioactive waste at LANL has accumulated to the point total cleanup costs range from $7.2 billion to $8.4 billion through fiscal 2090. What a long-term mess we’ve incurred hosting the nation’s principal nuclear weapons research and development lab.

U.S. Sen. Ben Ray Luján says Biden’s budget shows a renewed commitment to cleaning up contamination at the lab. And for Luján it’s personal. His father worked as an ironworker at Los Alamos, and Luján says his dad’s death from lung cancer was related to inhaling toxic chemicals at LANL.

New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney says he’s “cautiously optimistic” the increase in funding for cleanup at LANL, from $226 million in the current fiscal year, signals a new commitment by the federal government. We urge Luján to keep the pressure on, and to make sure the federal government lives up to that renewed commitment for the sake of LANL, its workforce, the public and the environment.

This editorial first appeared in the Albuquerque Journal. It was written by members of the editorial board and is unsigned as it represents the opinion of the newspaper rather than the writers.