WIPP Leak: Upcoming Public Meetings in Albuquerque and Santa Fe—March 18 (ABQ), March 27 (ABQ), March 31 (SFE)

Editor’s Note: This announcement was taken from a press release issued by Nuclear Watch New Mexico, one of the sponsors of the WIPP public meetings.

Three public information meetings will be held in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe about the recent fire and plutonium release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Public input into the decision-making processes is essential now. Updated information about the serious accidents as well as proposals to expand WIPP’s mission will be presented.

Sponsors:
Southwest Research and Information Center
Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping
Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety
Nuclear Watch New Mexico

The first public information meeting will take place in Albuquerque on Tuesday, March 18th from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the SouthWest Organizing Project (SWOP) office, located at 10th and Gold, Southwest.

The second meeting in Albuquerque will take place on Thursday, March 27th from 6 to 8 pm at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center, located at 202 Harvard, Southeast.

A complementary dinner will be available at both meetings. Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, will present the latest information, along with Rey Garduño and Lucille Córdova.

The third meeting will take place in Santa Fe on Monday, March 31st from 6:00 – 7:30 pm at the Santa Fe Main Library, located at 145 Washington Street in Santa Fe. Don Hancock and Scott Kovac, of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, will present.

The salt-hauling vehicle that was involved in the February 5th fire was being used to remove salt from an experimental area being developed for “heater tests” to determine if high-level radioactive waste could be disposed of at WIPP.

There are currently five proposals on the table to expand WIPP’s mission and three proposals to reduce safety requirements. The expansion proposals would bring wastes that are currently not allowed for disposal. They are high-level waste generated by the nuclear reactors at the Hanford site in Washington state; commercial high-level waste from the West Valley site in New York; surplus plutonium from Department of Energy sites; elemental mercury from industrial sites; and high-activity low-level radioactive waste, called Greater-than-Class C waste, generated by government and commercial activities.

Proposals to reduce safety requirements include lessening monitoring of volatile organic compounds, less robust room closures, and reconfiguration of the waste rooms.

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