Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER)



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Between 1944 and 1964, multiple liquid radioactive waste streams were released into the South Fork of Acid Canyon from Los Alamos National Laboratory. From 1944 to 1951, “untreated radioactive effluent from former Technical Area (TA) 1 was discharged into the head of the South Fork of Acid Canyon” and from 1951 to 1964 a “radioactive liquid waste treatment plant at former TA-45” discharged its effluent into the canyon. Today, this area is located within 1,000 feet of a residential neighborhood and less than a mile from a local high-school.1 We chose to examine the remediation of Acid Canyon because; (1) it is a site that is already accessible to the general public, (2) it has already had remediation efforts undertaken based, in part, on analyses conducted by DOE for site-specific exposure scenarios, and (3) it illustrates some of the general concerns that will arise at Los Alamos and other sites which have actinide contamination (uranium, plutonium, neptunium, americium, etc.) as the main driver of risk.

This research was completed money allocated during Round 5 of the Citizens’ Monitoring and Technical Assessment Fund (MTA Fund). Clark University was named conservator of these works.

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Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER)




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


: Copyright belongs to the authors. Clark University was chosen by the non-profit peace and environmental groups as the conservator of these reports; our right to distribute these works ensures they remain available to the public in perpetuity as intended. Reuse at your own discretion with with due deference to copyright holders.


Takoma Park, MD

Soil Cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory: Sediment Contamination in the South Fork of Acid Canyon



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