A regional watchdog group said the development plans raise some questions.
Technical Area 36, where commercial, industrial and mixed-use complexes would be built, was formerly a firing site where uranium and beryllium were detonated in the open air, so some toxic residue probably lingers there, said Scott Kovac, research and operations director for Nuclear Watch New Mexico.
The site is also across the road from Area G, where massive legacy waste produced during the Cold War is buried, Kovac said. Contaminants might be released into the air if that old disposal area is excavated, he said.
Within this clifftop community once shrouded from public view, it’s no secret the Los Alamos area needs more housing for future growth.
Los Alamos County wants the U.S. Energy Department to turn over 3,074 acres in White Rock at no cost so the land can be used for housing, stores, offices, light industry and schools.
To sweeten the deal, Los Alamos National Laboratory would be able to use part of the land to build support facilities and enhance its operations.
Less than 10 percent of the land would be developed — 275 acres — and most of that would be for housing, which county officials say is needed for the lab’s growing workforce and to create a larger pool of workers living in town to help attract other businesses.