Lab Fined Nearly $1M

New Mexico – The New Mexico Environment Department has fined Los Alamos National Laboratory nearly $1 million for failing to monitor nearby groundwater and surface water for pollution.

The department announced Monday it would assess a $960,000 penalty against the northern New Mexico nuclear weapons lab.

Environment Secretary Ron Curry says reliable monitoring is needed to determine whether hazardous pollution from the lab's radioactive waste dump is reaching groundwater or the Rio Grande.

The department says the lab and the Department of Energy refuse to monitor radionuclides, like plutonium.

Lab spokesman Fred deSousa says the lab is monitoring groundwater and radionuclides as requested by the state.

He says 23 monitoring wells were installed in the past year and seven more are planned.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.