Feds push plan to dispose plutonium using nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad

“We want an end to the situation where New Mexico is the only nuclear waste dump for all 50 states. The concern is that if you increase the number of shipments, the number of years, and you increase the dangerousness of the waste, at some point, somewhere an accident is inevitable.” – Cindy Weehler, co-chair of Santa Fe-based activist group 285 ALL

By Adrian Hedden Carlsbad Current-Argus | January 5, 2023 currentargus.com

Federal nuclear waste managers said they planned to dispose of 34 metric tons of surplus, weapons-grade plutonium at a nuclear repository in New Mexico after the waste is diluted to a lower level of radioactivity.

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) proposed in 2020 a “dilute and dispose” method of eliminating the plutonium from the environment, ultimately via emplacement at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant repository near Carlsbad.

Before that can happen, the NNSA said the waste can be “downblended” to meet requirements at WIPP, which is designed to dispose of transuranic (TRU) waste that can only be of a certain level of radioactivity.

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