CCNS NEWS UPDATE
Runs 11/14/14 through 11/21/14
(THEME UP AND UNDER) This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. Here is this week’s top headline:
- Sandia Public Meeting about Mixed Waste Landfill on Tuesday, November 18th at Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center
Sandia National Laboratories will be hosting a public meeting on Tuesday, November 18th from 4 to 8 pm about their plans to leave high-level radioactive waste in the Mixed Waste Landfill in unlined, shallow pits and trenches, which threaten Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer. The format will include posters and Sandia staff will be there to answer questions. Written public comments will be accepted during the meeting, with the public comment period ending on Monday, December 29th. The public meeting will take place at the Manzano Mesa Multigenerational Center, at 501 Elizabeth Southeast, located between Eubank and Juan Tabo at the corner of Southern and Elizabeth Southeast, in Albuquerque.
For decades, Sandia and the New Mexico Environment Department claimed that only low-level radioactive and chemical wastes were buried in the dump. New records uncovered by Citizen Action New Mexico clearly demonstrate that high-level radioactive waste from nuclear fuel experiments was buried in the dump.
Following the 1979 Three Mile Island commercial nuclear reactor accident in Pennsylvania, Sandia was tasked with finding out what happens to high-level nuclear fuel during meltdowns. Sandia conducted dozens of experiments on nuclear fuel from around the world in its Annular Core Research Reactor and the waste was disposed in the Mixed Waste Landfill.
The Mixed Waste Landfill is a 2.6-acre dumpsite, located in southeast Albuquerque within Kirtland Air Force Base, where Sandia is located. It contains an estimated 1,500,000 cubic feet of radioactive and mixed hazardous wastes from the reactor meltdown experiments and the research and development of nuclear weapons. Plutonium, cesium, strontium, depleted uranium, beryllium, PCBs and chlorinated solvents were disposed in plastic bags, cardboard boxes and steel drums. In 2009, a dirt cover was installed.
Recently Sandia applied to the Environment Department for a certificate saying that they have completed cleanup of the dump. The Environment Department made a preliminary determination to approve the request. The public meeting and associated public comment period is part of the administrative process to obtain the certificate.
Citizen Action encourages the public to make comments that request a public hearing; ask the Environment Department to deny the cleanup certificate; and ask the Environment Department to order Sandia to clean up and safely store the wastes in the dump.
Dave McCoy, of Citizen Action New Mexico, said, “High-level waste disposal requires a deep geologic repository that won’t leak for 10,000 years. Leaving high-level waste in the shallow Mixed Waste Landfill for future generations is nothing short of an environmental crime.”
This has been the CCNS News Update. To learn more, please visit our website at nuclearactive.org.