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Opponents of plutonium shipments to petition New Mexico governor

Opponents of plutonium shipments to petition New Mexico governor
, By Scott Wyland   28 Feb 22,

Opponents of the federal government’s plans to truck plutonium through New Mexico, including Santa Fe’s southern edge, will deliver a petition with 1,142 signatures to the Governor’s Office on Tuesday, with the aim of pressing state officials to deny the necessary disposal permits. 

The two most vocal opponents — an activist and a Santa Fe County commissioner — have spoken out against the Department of Energy’s plans to dispose of diluted plutonium at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, which they say was never meant to take this type of radioactive material. 

Plutonium is far more radioactive than the transuranic waste — contaminated gloves, equipment, clothing, soil and other materials — Los Alamos National Laboratory normally ships to WIPP. 

The plutonium shipments would travel through a dozen states and cover 3,000 miles — and would go through Santa Fe twice in different forms.

With this petition, more than 1,000 residents are showing their concerns about plutonium being hauled through their communities, said Cindy Weehler, who co-chairs the watchdog group 285 ALL. 

“I think it’s kind of important for the governor to see that she has constituents all over the state who really would like to know more about this and would really like her protection and any actions she can take,” Weehler said. 

The petition drew signatures from Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Gallup, Roswell, Las Cruces, Alamogordo, Silver City and Tucumcari, among others, she said. 

Binding agreements and at least one law limit WIPP to taking transuranic waste, with no allowance for modified weapons grade plutonium, Weehler said, arguing the governor could use this as the legal basis to deny the disposal permits. 

The Governor’s Office and the state Environment Department, which oversees hazardous waste, didn’t respond to a request for comment Monday……………………………

March 1, 2022 - Posted by | opposition to nuclear, USA

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