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It’s Time for an Independent Investigation at WIPP

By April 15, 2014September 29th, 2022Climate & Energy, Water Quality & Land Restoration

More than 500 CVNM members and supporters have already signed our petition in support of an independent investigation into the two radiation leaks at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Add your voice and share the petition on Facebook to make our impact even bigger.
New Mexicans still don’t know what happened almost a half-mile underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) that caused not one, but two, leaks of radiation. We don’t know how much radiation was released or the impacts of the leaks on our air, land, water, and families. We don’t know because the Department of Energy (DOE), which oversees WIPP, doesn’t know.
Since an underground truck fire in early February – the first in a string of accidents at the plant – it has become clear the DOE was not adequately prepared to respond properly to the leaks.
Sign the petition to New Mexico’s federal delegation calling for an independent investigation of the radiation leaks at WIPP.>>
For years, New Mexicans have been calling on DOE and the New Mexico Environment Department to enhance the emergency preparedness requirements in WIPP’s permit. The agencies ridiculed the calls, claiming that WIPP wouldn’t leak in 10,000 years.
We’re only 15 years into WIPP’s mission, and the leaks happened. At least 21 WIPP workers were exposed to radioactive, cancer-causing plutonium and americium.
An Accident Investigation Board composed of DOE employees and consultants was formed to examine the truck fire, and they’ve been tasked with investigating the leaks. But the board does not include doctors who are qualified to assess the exposures received by at least 21 workers. Neither the board nor DOE have the expertise needed to create a plan to decontaminate a salt mine from the first-of-its -kind accident. Sign the petition to our federal delegation calling for an independent investigation of the radiation leaks at WIPP now.>>
We do know that the leaks call into serious question our ability to safely store nuclear waste. WIPP is the nation’s only permanent nuclear waste repository. As calls to cut carbon pollution that contributes to climate change intensify, some are turning to nuclear energy as the answer. It is critical that our state and the nation remember the real costs of the nuclear energy life cycle. In addition to the problems at WIPP, the impacts of legacy waste sites from uranium mining continue to threaten scarce resources and pose severe risks to the health of communities in western New Mexico.