“I think there’s this mentality that New Mexico can just be the forever home for all the nation’s waste. It’s an exploitative mentality regarding our state.” — Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces
BY January 4, 2023 abqjournal.com|
It is more than fair, when you house a radioactive waste facility like the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, to ask how much waste from the nation’s nuclear weapons program still needs a home.
Especially when the nation keeps making more.
In the proposed permit for the federal government to continue storing nuclear waste at WIPP in southeastern New Mexico, the New Mexico Environment Department is seeking a full accounting from the U.S. Energy Department of materials still needing to be cleaned up and shipped to WIPP from laboratories and defense-related sites around the country. It also suggests developing another storage site (Hint: How about the $13.5 billion already spent on Yucca Mountain?). And it puts Congress — the same Congress that just approved spending more to make key plutonium components for the nation’s nuclear arsenal, which will also make more radioactive waste — on notice that if lawmakers expand the type of waste accepted at WIPP, the permit will be revoked.