Radionuclide Contaminant Transport at the Pueblo de San Ildefonso
From ITEP Team
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The Pueblo de San Ildefonso is located directly adjacent and downstream of the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), New Mexico. Releases of hazardous substances from this nuclear facility dating back to the 1940s have resulted in a legacy of contamination, including radionuclides, metals and other contaminants in local canyons. In particular, canyon-bottom soils and sediments in Los Alamos and Pueblo canyons are contaminated with plutonium and other radionuclides upstream of the Pueblo de San Ildefonso. We evaluated the effect of cycles of wildfire and subsequent storm events on the mobilization and transport of plutonium in the canyons, and impacts to the Pueblo. Forest fires, including the 2000 Cerro Grande and the 2011 Las Conchas fires, have resulted in decreased soil/sediment retention in the canyon watersheds, and increased sediment transport during subsequent storm events. This has in turn resulted in mobilization and downstream transport of sediment-bound plutonium contamination, and deposition on Pueblo lands.
Presented by: Raymond Martinez and Michael Chacon from the Pueblo de San Ildefonso and Kaylene Ritter from Abt Associates