Many New Mexicans are aware that Waste Isolation Pilot Project in Southern New Mexico is the nation’s sole repository for radioactive weapons waste, but did you know that WIPP has surpassed its authorized capacity and that the federal Department of Energy has given it a new mission: to build a new shaft and more than double its capacity?
The resulting increased amount of radioactive plutonium being transported through the Santa Fe area should worry us all. You might assume that nuclear experts have the storage and transportation situation well in hand, but the Los Alamos National Laboratory and WIPP have dismal safety records.
If the powder form of plutonium being carried by tractor-trailers on N.M. 599, Interstate 25, and U.S. 285 is accidentally released into the air, even minuscule doses are 100 percent carcinogenic, especially to children, and cleanup is virtually impossible. And it is our local jurisdictions that respond first to highway accidents. To better understand the danger, see stopforeverwipp.org.
Fortunately there is something citizens can to do try to stop this dangerous expansion. Contact Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who has to approve such a change. Tell her to tell the Energy Department to stop digging a fifth shaft at WIPP. You can use governor.state.nm.us/contact-the-governor.