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Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

Delivering science and technology to protect our nation and promote world stability

Surface Soil

We compare local soil samples with samples collected from northern New Mexico locations that are beyond the range of potential influence from normal Laboratory operations.

 

April 12, 2012
Farm soil sampling

Two LANL environmental field team members take soil samples from a farm.

Contact  

  • Environmental Communication & Public Involvement
  • P.O. Box 1663 MS M992
  • Los Alamos, NM 87545
  • (505) 667-3792
  • Email
Measurements are compared to samples from the regional sites and compared to averages over time to see if there are changes in concentrations.

Monitoring surface soil

Los Alamos National Laboratory has monitored surface soils since the early 1970s. Institutional surface soil samples are collected from 17 on-site, 11 perimeter, and six regional (background) locations every three years.

Samples from regional locations are used to estimate background levels of radionuclides and chemicals. All locations are:

  • At elevations similar to those at the Laboratory
  • More than 20 miles away from the Laboratory
  • Beyond the range of potential influence from normal Laboratory operations

Why we sample surface soil

Soil sampling is performed to:

  • Determine radionuclide and chemical concentrations in soil and compare these results to regional (background) areas
  • Determine concentration trends over time
  • Estimate potential radiation dose and chemical exposure risk to residents, plants, and animals

Measurements are compared to samples from the regional sites and compared to averages over time to see if there are changes in concentrations.

The results of all soil sampling data and the interpretation of the data are available in the annual Environmental Report.


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