Don Hancock on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

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Joining host Stephen Spitz this month is Don Hancock, Director of the Nuclear Waste Program for the Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC). We will discuss the proposed expansion of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeastern New Mexico. WIPP is the nation’s only deep geologic long-lived radioactive waste repository.

Its mission is to dispose of transuranic waste 2,150 feet underground in an ancient salt formation. This waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other debris contaminated with trace amounts of radioisotopes. The Energy Department intends to dramatically enlarge this mission with the disposal of plutonium left over from the Cold War. Mr. Hancock and the SRIC oppose this change as dangerous and inconsistent with WIPP’s state certifications. We will explore the basis for this opposition and ask how and where the plutonium should be disposed.

Produced with assistance of Tristan Clum, Roman Garcia and Lynn Schibeci

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