Los Alamos decontaminating nuclear waste. Could it save space at repository near Carlsbad?

A report from Nuclear Watch New Mexico posited pit production would generate 57,550 cubic meters of the waste over 50 years, more than half of WIPP’s projected future capacity. This assertion was backed up by a 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences finding WIPP could lack sufficient space for disposal of surplus plutonium and other DOE planned waste streams in the coming decades.”


Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are hoping to decontaminate some of the nuclear waste from the lab that would otherwise be disposed of at a repository near Carlsbad, as the lab was planning to ramp its production of plutonium pits used to trigger warheads.

Transuranic (TRU) waste from the lab and other Department of Energy facilities is disposed of via burial at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in a 2,000-foot-deep salt deposit about 30 miles east of Carlsbad. TRU waste is made up of clothing, equipment and debris irradiated during nuclear research and other activities.

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