America’s Nuclear Waste Capital Wants More of It, Against State Wishes
Burying the country’s nuclear weapons waste brought an economic lifeline to Carlsbad, New Mexico. State leaders worry it’s become a dumping ground.
A half-mile underground beneath a windswept field in the southeast corner of New Mexico, hundreds of workers haul drums of radioactive waste into a salt mine that will entomb them for at least 10,000 years.
Up on the surface, federal officials overseeing the Energy Department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) are working harder than ever to smooth over tensions with state officials and skeptics in the state capital so the facility can meet its mission: cleaning up the country’s nuclear weapons production sites.