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Los Alamos Sites Demolished But New Ones Spark Protest

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Crews have demolished the world’s first industrial plutonium processing facility at the U.S. Energy Dept.’s Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Demolition of 23 structures in the complex, which dates to World War II, was completed using $13.5 million in stimulus funds, says Gordon Dover, the facility’s cleanup deputy project director. As part of the project, workers installed 16 groundwater monitoring wells. Los Alamos research now supports NASA space missions and nuclear reactor fuels research. But environmentalists filed suit in federal district court Nov. 12 to stop DOE from continued design on an estimated $4-billion research complex for chemistry and metallurgy, says a published report. Energy Secretary Steven Chu ordered an independent review in October to determine whether the complex is still necessary. The review also is set to cover a planned new uranium processing facility at DOE’s Y-12 nuclear site in Oak Ridge, Tenn. It is estimated to cost $5 billion.

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