Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice



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The Sandia National Laboratories (SNL) is a major laboratory of the Department of Energy (DOE) in the nuclear weapons complex. Past and present operations have resulted in the contamination of air, soil, biosphere, groundwater and surface water with radioactive and other pollutants that pose a risk to human health and the environment. This report focuses on the monitoring of radioactive pollutants that are or could be present in ambient air, i.e. outside breathable air. Ambient air monitoring can be conducted either close to potential sources of emissions on the property of Sandia National Laboratory itself, on the perimeter of the plant, or in greater distance. This report provides an assessment of the current monitoring system for radionuclides in ambient air at SNL. The following issues are addressed: (a) whether monitoring at SNL is at par with state-of-the-art systems, and (b) whether it provides for detection of unmonitored and/or short-term releases from sources at the site.

Chapter 2 describes existing and potential sources for airborne radionuclides at and around SNL and presents the official estimates of radionuclide releases and resulting radiation exposures to members of the public.

Chapter 3 compares the existing monitoring system for radionuclides in air at SNL with the systems that exist at other DOE sites.

Chapter 4 evaluates the adequacy of the monitoring system with respect to detect unmonitored and/or short-term releases and the compliance with regulatory requirements.

Chapter 5 provides recommendations based on the analysis.

This research was completed money allocated during Round 3 of the Citizens’ Monitoring and Technical Assessment Fund (MTA Fund). Clark University was named conservator of these works.

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Albuquerque Center for Peace and Justice




nuclear weapons, nuclear weapons testing, environment, non-governmental organizations, United States Department of Energy, tribal governments, environmental cleanup, radioactive fallout, radioactive waste


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Review of Environmental Monitoring for Radionuclides in Air at the Sandia National Laboratory

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