There have been two radiation leaks from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) now and it took a week for the Department of Energy (DOE) to tell New Mexicans about the second one.

The first leak has been covered in local, national, and international news. Why? There are a few reasons:

  • WIPP is our nation’s only permanent nuclear waste repository.
  • The possible health impacts of radioactive plutonium and americium are devastating.
  • There have been multiple proposals to store potentially more dangerous forms of waste at WIPP because of claims that the facility “would not leak in 10,000 years.”

The leaks call into serious question our ability to safely store nuclear waste. WIPP, radiation, and transuranic waste are complicated topics. It’s time to get information from the experts.

Southwest Research and Information Center, Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, and Nuclear Watch New Mexico will be hosting a public meeting in Albuquerque on Thursday, March 27 and in Santa Fe on Monday, March 31.

Updated information about the serious accidents at WIPP, proposals to expand WIPP’s mission, and proposals to reduce safety requirements at WIPP will be presented. The meeting hosts also want to hear from New Mexicans like you and me. Public input into the decision-making process is essential now.

The only reason expansions to WIPP’s mission haven’t occurred is because concerned New Mexicans, led by these groups, have spoken up for decades. New Mexico agreed to host the WIPP facility only after strict parameters were placed on the type of waste it would receive and after state regulators were guaranteed a strong role in its oversight.

More than a month ago, a radiation leak shut down WIPP. Tests show that 17 workers were exposed to radioactive plutonium and americium, and an air filter picked up the radiation a half-mile away. A week ago, another leak was detected. The cause or amount of the leak remains unknown. While the DOE says that the levels of radiation are below “actionable” levels, actionable and safe are not the same thing.

The public meeting in Albuquerque will be held Thursday, March 27 from 6-8 p.m. at the Albuquerque Peace and Justice Center, located at 202 Harvard, Southeast. RSVP for the Albuquerque meeting here.>>

The public meeting in Santa Fe will be held Monday, March 31 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Santa Fe Main Library, located at 145 Washington Street in Santa Fe. RSVP for the Santa Fe meeting here.>>

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