Project Description: Los Alamos National Laboratory developed the TWF project initiative in direct response to a Consent Order executed between the New Mexico Environment Department and LANL. The order called for closure of an outdated technical area, requiring transfer of operations to manage solid radioactive waste generated from on-going research and development supporting LANL’s mission of solving national security challenges through scientific excellence.
Environmental stewardship and social responsibility were two key factors during the design and construction of the facility, a mini-campus consisting of 4,180 sf operations support bldg., six storage buildings, and a utility building issued for construction under the ASME’s Nuclear Quality Assurance 1 (NQA-1) level compliance. The facility’s operational goal of temporary storage of Transuranic Nuclear Waste transformed construction from ordinary to extraordinary, elevating expectations from RFP through project closeout stages.
As defined on the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s website, Transuranic Waste is ‘Material contaminated with transuranic elements—artificially made, radioactive elements, such as neptunium, plutonium, americium, and
others—that have atomic numbers higher than uranium in the periodic table of elements. Transuranic waste is primarily produced from recycling spent fuel or using plutonium to fabricate nuclear weapons.’
Innovative measures include; 8” thick concrete foundations for each storage unit serving as a buffer between the waste containers and the ground-water; a 35’ standing fire-water tank designed to operate even if the facility’s electricity is
compromised, a Metalith barrier wall embracing the entire compound, and a LEED Gold designation for the Operations Bldg. underlining LANL’s dedication to the environment.