Jul 23, 2007

DOE considers N.M. for nuclear waste disposal

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
July 21, 2007

ALBUQUERQUE — New Mexico is on the short list of sites to dispose of dismantled nuclear reactor parts and other moderately radioactive waste, the U.S. Department of Energy said.

Current regulations make the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad and the yet-to-be-built Yucca Mountain site in Nevada the leading candidates for the job.

They are the only ones where waste could be buried deep underground to keep it isolated for more than 500 years, the Albuquerque Journal reported Saturday in a copyright story.

The Energy Department will launch an environmental study Monday of options to deal with the waste. The program would plug a hole in the complex web of federal regulations governing how various radioactive waste should be handled.

Other options the agency will study include shallow burial at Los Alamos National Laboratory, DOE project chief Christine Gelles said Friday.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman quickly disagreed with the possibility of expanding WIPP’s mission to handle the new type of waste. Part of the deal when the New Mexico Democrat helped draft the law in the early 1990s that allowed WIPP to open was a sharp restriction on the types of waste that would be allowed there.

“I do not support opening up this agreement to broaden the types of waste that can be disposed of at WIPP,” Bingaman said.

The state Environment Department’s response also was lukewarm. “Any proposal to widen the scope of WIPP or to dispose of additional waste at LANL will require a thorough analysis to make sure the plans protect New Mexicans,” said Jon Goldstein, the department’s director of water and waste management.

Currently, low-level waste can be dumped in shallow landfills, but high-level waste, like used nuclear reactor fuel, is in storage awaiting the eventual opening of the long-stalled Yucca Mountain project — a deep mine, like WIPP, dug into a mountain. A third class, plutonium-contaminated “transuranic” waste from nuclear weapons work, is being sent to WIPP.

That leaves a bunch of waste too radioactive to meet the basic “low-level” shallow burial criteria but not hot enough for Yucca Mountain and not legal at WIPP because it doesn’t meet the criteria set up when WIPP was opened.

Under federal regulations, the primary option is deep burial.

Dean Hancock, head of the Nuclear Waste Safety Project at the Southwest Research and Information Center in Albuquerque, said he and other activists prefer “hardened on-site storage.” That would keep the waste where it is or at a few central sites near the nuclear reactors where the waste was generated.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Why not? They can dump those old reactors right next to waste from the pit manufacturing factory.

Anonymous said...

Would that be the whole reactor?

Anonymous said...

You can bet LANS/Bechtel is going to jump all over this: they're in this game for the profit.

Anonymous said...

Now I know yet another reason that Mikey and friends bought homes down in Santa Fe. Who wants to live next to a future Superfund cleanup site?

Anonymous said...

Oh that's just great. Now we're going to have garbage whores as well as the pit whores clambering for those of us who don't like it to just shut the fuck up so that DOE will send the money.

Anonymous said...

Oh that's just great. Now we're going to have garbage whores as well as the pit whores clambering for those of us who don't like it to just shut the fuck up so that DOE will send the money.

7/23/07 12:15 PM


Huh?

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

Lexicon for those unfamiliar with the terminology frequently used on this blog:

Pit Whore: A LANL or LANS employee who will do any kind of work for money, regardless of it's scientific merit. Specifically, the term refers to production-scale pit fabrication operations, if DOE were to fund LANL to do so. The emphasis is on will do anything for money.

Garbage Whore: A relatively new phrase in the blog lexicon. Same general meaning as above, but now the "whores" are championing for extending LANL's mission to include becoming the nation's dumping ground for decommissioned, radioactive nuclear reactors.

--Gussie

Anonymous said...

Gussie,

Thanks. I am familiar with the terms, I just thought that the comeent in question was rambling and poorly stated. There may those of us who agree or not, but that message does no one any justice.

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

You're welcome, 10:54.

The quality of the comments on this blog, or the lack thereof, is a reflection on their authors. They provide a rather unique view into the society that comprises LANL and Los Alamos.

The only comments that have gotten expunged before making it to the blog were either blatantly racist, or blatantly commercial contributions, or those few that fell into the "other" category which did not contribute in any way to the discussion. To date only a few comments, three or four in total, have been censored.

--Gussie