UNITED STATES NEWS

New Mexico negotiates settlement over permit renewal for US nuclear waste repository

Jun 27, 2023, 4:00 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Energy over the renewal of a permit for the federal government’s only underground repository for nuclear waste.

Officials with the New Mexico Environment Department announced Tuesday that an agreement was reached last week after four days of negotiations. The state first outlined its terms in December, seeking to ensure that high-level waste such as diluted plutonium wouldn’t find its way to the state.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico plays a key role in the nation’s multibillion-dollar effort to clean up radioactive waste left behind by decades nuclear research and bomb-making. Currently, it’s licensed to take what is known as transuranic waste, or waste generated by the nation’s nuclear weapons program that is contaminated with radioactive elements heavier than uranium.

The new draft permit would provide greater regulatory oversight and safeguards at the repository over the next decade, officials said. It also would prioritize the cleanup of Cold War-era waste at Los Alamos National Laboratory — the birthplace of the atomic bomb.

“The new permit conditions affirm New Mexico’s authority and position that all roads lead from WIPP — we are no longer the last stop for clean-up but the driving force in that process that begins here,” said James Kenney, head of New Mexico’s Environment Department.

The state agency expects to publish the modified permit on Aug. 15. A public meeting will follow in September, with a final permit being issued in October.

Nuclear watchdog groups said they were in support of the agreement because it focuses on the waste at Los Alamos and requires more transparency about legacy defense-related waste around the U.S.

The permit also includes language that would enable the state to suspend shipments to WIPP if there’s evidence of a threat to human health or the environment.

New Mexico also could move to revoke the permit if Congress were to increase WIPP’s capacity or expand the types of waste that could be sent there. State officials and watchdogs have said that language serves as a hedge against New Mexico becoming the nation’s permanent dumping ground.

Under the permit, the Energy Department would have to document its progress in siting another underground repository in a state other than New Mexico through a new annual report as well as hold quarterly meetings to update the public.

United States News

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich stands in a glass cage in a courtroom in Yekaterinbur...

Associated Press

U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich appear in court in Russia for hearing on espionage charges

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich appeared in court in Russia on Thursday for the second hearing in his trial on espionage charges, the court said. Gershkovich, his employer and the U.S. government vehemently deny the charges against him. Gershkovich was accused by the Russian Prosecutor General’s office of “gathering secret information” on orders from […]

1 hour ago

FILE - A pedestrian traverses the rotunda inside the New Mexico Capitol, March 16, 2023, in Santa F...

Associated Press

New Mexico governor cites ‘dangerous intersection’ of crime and homelessness, wants lawmakers to act

SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — Citing what she calls the “dangerous intersection” of crime and homelessness, New Mexico’s governor is calling on lawmakers to address stubbornly high crime rates as they convene Thursday for a special legislative session. In issuing her proclamation, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham talked about a vulnerable segment of society that falls […]

3 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives on third day of the Republi...

Associated Press

FACT FOCUS: Trump, in Republican convention video, alludes to false claim 2020 election was stolen

DONALD TRUMP, alluding that the 2020 vote was stolen: “Whether you vote early, absentee, by mail or in person, we are going to protect the vote. That’s the most important thing we have to do is protect the vote. Keep your eyes open because these people want to cheat and they do cheat. And frankly, […]

4 hours ago

Supporters cheer as Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump arrives for a c...

Associated Press

‘One screen, two movies’: Conflicting conspiracy theories emerge from Trump shooting

WASHINGTON (AP) — A former president is shot, the gunman quickly neutralized, and all of it is caught on camera. But for those who don’t believe their eyes, that’s just the start of the story. For some supporters of former President Donald Trump, the failure of the Secret Service to prevent the attempted assassination point […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Hundreds attend vigil for man killed at Trump rally in Pennsylvania before visitation Thursday

SARVER, Pa. (AP) — Hundreds of people who gathered to remember the former fire chief fatally shot at a weekend rally for former President Donald Trump were urged to find “unity” as the area in rural Pennsylvania sought to recover from the assassination attempt. Wednesday’s public event was the first of two organized to memorialize […]

4 hours ago

Follow @ktar923...

Sponsored Content by Sanderson Ford

3 storylines to get you revved up for the 2024 Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals training camp is just a couple weeks away starting on July 25, and Sanderson Ford is revved up and ready to go.

Sponsored Articles

...

Midwestern University

Midwestern University Clinic visits boost student training & community health

Going to a Midwestern University Clinic can help make you feel good in more ways than one.

...

Sanderson Ford

3 new rides for 3 new road trips in Arizona

It's time for the Sanderson Ford Memorial Day sale with the Mighty Fine 69 Anniversary, as Sanderson Ford turned 69 years old in May.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Beat the heat, ensure your AC unit is summer-ready

With temperatures starting to rise across the Valley, now is a great time to be sure your AC unit is ready to withstand the sweltering summer heat.

New Mexico negotiates settlement over permit renewal for US nuclear waste repository