cost to the nation
WIPP & Environmental Risks
10 Reasons Why WIPP is a Bad Place for Nuclear Waste
WIPP is close to oil reserves, future drilling could release lethal radioactivity.
Released waste would endanger drinking water.
WIPP waste is unidentified.
DOE Study admits waste is safer where it is now, than at WIPP.
- Oil and natural gas reserves make the site unsafe.
Dozens of oil and gas wells are within two miles of the WIPP site boundary. When drilling for the proven reserves of oil and gas hits the waste rooms, massive amounts of radioactivity will come to the surface. For example, drilling with air compressors can release enough radioactivity to violate the health and safety standards in 10 seconds.
- Pressurized brine reservoirs can bring wastes to the surface.
A few hundred feet below the waste rooms are large amounts of salt water under high pressure. When penetrated by drill holes, thousands of barrels can flow to the surface, or through waste rooms bringing wastes to the surface.
- Anhydrite interbeds fracturing endangers workers.
Just above the ceiling and below the floor of the waste rooms are anhydrite (shale-like) layers that can fracture. Fractures have caused ceilings to collapse and floors to buckle, endangering workers.
- Fluid injection for oil and gas production can release wastes.
Companies inject fluids to increase oil production. Fluids have moved for miles through the interbeds, and scientific studies show that large amounts of waste could be transported offsite, even if the injection occurs outside the site boundary.
- The Rustler aquifer can transport wastes to drinking water.
The Rustler aquifer, which lies between the surface and underground waste rooms, has fractures and caverns which can transport waste, resulting in contaminated drinking water.
- The waste drums will corrode, releasing gas.
The waste is in 55-gallon drums, which will rust, releasing gas. The gas can transport waste through interbeds and up shafts or drill holes to the aquifer or surface.
- No one knows what's in the waste drums.
The drums were used as trash cans for plutonium-contaminated wastes. No records were kept of the specific radioactive and hazardous chemical wastes put into the drums. Explosive and flammable materials can release large amounts or radioactivity.
- WIPP doesn't meet health and safety standards.
Because of the flaws with the site, WIPP does not meet the standards. It has not received federal or state permits.
- Wastes are safer where they are stored.
DOE's own environmental studies show that for at least 100 years, it is safer to leave wastes at the existing storage sites than to use WIPP.
- WIPP IS LESS THAN 2 PERCENT "DISPOSAL SOLUTION".
WIPP is designed to handle less than two percent of the existing volume of the nuclear wastes created by atomic bomb production. All of the storage sites that would send wastes to WIPP have larger volumes of wastes that would not go to WIPP and for which there is no disposal site. By radioactivity, WIPP would handle about one-tenth of a percent of DOE's existing wastes.