MISSION: Southwest Research and Information Center is a multi-cultural organization working to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations
Nuclear Waste Program
WIPP Radiation Leak
We have received numerous inquiries about the recent serious accidents at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), specifically the underground fire and the radiation leak. We would like to update concerned citizens about the on-going issues at WIPP, and discuss the expansion proposals for transporting more nuclear waste through New Mexico to the WIPP dumpsite. SRIC, CARD, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, and the WIPP Committee have hosted presentation sessions, and will do others in the future, for the public to discuss these issues.
When it looked like the federal government was about to open an underground repository for the military's radiation-contaminated garbage in the early 1980s, SRIC staff met the calls of community leaders, local emergency planners, healthcare providers, and prominent scientists to "make WIPP safe." As a result of SRIC's scientific analysis and legal actions, federal health and safety requirements were imposed on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), delaying its opening until 1999. Today, SRIC is still watching to ensure that WIPP complies with those requirements and its mission is not expanded.
The Nuclear Waste Program provides technical assistance to community groups and information to the public and policymakers regarding nuclear weapons production facilities, including Los Alamos National Lab and Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and nuclear waste facilities, especially WIPP in New Mexico and sites that ship to WIPP. The program ensures effective citizen involvement in decisions about the future of the nuclear weapons complex relative to stopping approval of new production facilities and promoting disarmament and safer waste management and disposal at Department of Energy (DOE) sites.
In response to the Obama Administration's "Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future," SRIC submitted various reports, participated in three meetings, and has provided information about WIPP and nuclear waste storage and disposal policies to the public, policymakers, and the media. SRIC is coordinating New Mexicans for Sustainable Energy and Effective Stewardship (NM SEES), a collaboration of citizen groups that promotes involvement in the cleanup of the state's three DOE facilities. SRIC also facilitates New Mexicans for Nuclear Weapons Reduction, which supports cleanup at Los Alamos National Lab and opposes the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement Nuclear Facility because it is unneeded, dangerous, and a waste of billions of dollars. SRIC also is an active member of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a national network of organizations working to address issues of nuclear weapons production and waste cleanup.
Primary staff: Don Hancock, Paul Robinson.
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