“We are opposed to the idea of continuing to expand the WIPP underground…Back when this got started, everyone agreed it would take 25 years and all the waste would be emplaced…That’s not going to happen by 2024.
That’s not the citizens of New Mexico’s fault or NMED’s fault. It’s on the DOE. They don’t want an end date. That’s something we need to push on.” — Nuclear Waste Program Director Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant operates under a permit with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), which is renewed every 10 years.
That process is ongoing for WIPP, and NMED added several provisions in a draft permit released last month that called for a stricter accounting of waste coming to WIPP each year, required updates on the process of finding a new repository and demanded a greater priority be placed on disposal of nuclear waste generated in New Mexico.