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Brookhaven & the Environment

Past operations at Brookhaven National Laboratory resulted in environmental contamination dating back to the early 1940s, when the site was Camp Upton, a U.S. Army base. In 1947, Brookhaven Lab was established on the same property under the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, the predecessor agency to the present Department of Energy (DOE). DOE funds the Laboratory and all cleanup work.

In 1992, Brookhaven National Laboratory, in partnership with DOE, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, embarked on an extensive project to clean up soils, groundwater, a portion of the Peconic River starting on the Laboratory property and going downstream beyond it about four miles, and sections of the Brookhaven Graphite Research Reactor.

This high-priority cleanup was completed in 2005. What remains is long-term treatment of groundwater, continued monitoring and sampling, regular reviews to ensure that the cleanup remedies put in place remain effective, and completion of the Graphite Reactor cleanup. In addition, planning for the decommissioning of the High Flux Beam Reactor is moving forward

Brookhaven is now a leader among DOE laboratories in developing and implementing a certified environmental management system. To maintain its focus on environmental stewardship, the Laboratory has instituted international standards through the ISO 14001 registration as well as an award-winning pollution prevention program. All aspects of cleanup work have been discussed and coordinated with surrounding communities and other interested stakeholders.

Brookhaven Lab publishes an annual report to document the Laboratory’s environmental data; environmental management performance; and compliance with applicable Department of Energy, other federal, state, and local regulations.


Last Modified: May 16, 2008