RAC was asked by the Department of Justice to perform a series of technical audits of Los Alamos National Laboratory for compliance with the Clean Air Act, 40 CFR 61, subpart H. The project was initiated by a lawsuit filed by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) against the U.S. Department of Energy and the former director of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Settlement of the suit required that the audits be performed by an organization agreed to by all parties, and RAC was chosen as the independent auditor.
The first audit began in 1997 and evaluated compliance for the year 1996. Most significantly, RAC determined that LANL did not meet certain regulatory and technical requirements and was not in compliance with 40 CFR 61, subpart H, for 1996. However, it was considered unlikely that the Laboratory exceeded the 10 millirem per year dose standard prescribed in the regulation.
A second audit was conducted in 2000, and it was concluded that LANL was in compliance with 40 CFR 61, subpart H for the year 1999. Most notably, the audit team commended the Laboratory for addressing the findings of the first audit and for the concerted effort that was put forth during the audit to make it an open, thorough, and responsive process. Credit for this achievement was also due to CCNS, who, as a citizens’ organization, helped initiate the audit and design its format.
A third audit was conducted in 2002 when it was concluded that LANL was in compliance with 40 CFR 61, subpart H for the year 2001. RAC’s audit team noted that LANL made significant changes to improve the compliance program over the period of the audits, many in response to recommendations made within the audit reports. This was the third audit of its kind, and the audit team concluded there were no substantive deficiencies requiring corrective actions that justified a fourth audit under the Consent Decree. Therefore, RAC considered that all audit requirements under the Consent Decree were met and that the process was completed.