Nuclear Wasteland—New Mexico?
(Holtec and WIPP)
Wednesday, June 19, 6:00 – 7:30 pm
Center for Progress and Justice
1420 Cerrillos Road, Santa Fe, NM
Beginning with the Manhattan Project during WWII, nuclear waste has piled up at various sites across our nation. Finding storage for both military nuclear waste and waste generated by power plants has become a serious issue. On-site storage places are running out of space.
This forum explores issues with two New Mexico nuclear storage facilities—WIPP, opened in 1999 to store low-to-mid level military waste and a proposed facility to be built by Holtec International to handle high-level waste from 98 nuclear power plants across the nation. Transportation itself presents a safety concern.
Holtec’s proposal and possible changes at WIPP create issues to be explored by our distinguished panelists:
· State Representative Christine Chandler (District 43), representing Los Alamos; formerly, attorney with Los Alamos National Laboratory
· Don Hancock, Director, Nuclear Waste Program at Southwest Research and Information Center
· James Kenney, Cabinet Secretary, NM Department of Environment
· Sally Rodgers, Environment policy advisor for former NM governors; Conservation Voters NM founder
Both WIPP and the Holtec project demand our attention. WIPP is the only U.S. permanent storage repository and receives nuclear waste from Los Alamos National Lab and from other defense facilities across the nation. Recently, those shipments have increased. With the expected ramp-up of more plutonium pits, more waste will need storage. The Department of Energy has sought changes in types of waste and volume measurements, which could affect WIPP.
The Holtec project is waiting for a license from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to build its facility, which could receive spent fuel rods from nuclear reactors, most of which are on the East Coast. The waste is to stay in this proposed facility close to Carlsbad until a permanent facility is built elsewhere. None has been agreed upon.
This important forum is sponsored by the Santa Fe Democratic Party Platform and Resolutions Committee (SFDP PARC) and Nuclear Safety Advocates Group (NSAG) that comprises the SFDP PARC sub-committee on Nuclear Safety.