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One view on the Hanford-WIPP proposal

WIPP, a smart Washington wag likes to say, “is the only drain in the bathtub.”

Located in southeastern New Mexico, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is the only operating deep geological disposal site in the country for radioactive waste. That makes it very a very attractive option for waste people need to get rid of. WIPP was designed for a particular class of radioactive waste, called “transuranic”, that comes from nuclear weapons research and manufacturing. But the question of what kinds of waste might meet that definition so they can be sent to WIPP will be argued again and again.

The latest example, as I wrote about last week, involves waste from the Hanford site in Washington state.

Don Hancock, a vocal critic of the “only drain in the bathtub” approach, laid out his argument against bringing this waste in a piece earlier this week in La Jicarita:

Since the federal government and nuclear industry have totally failed in their attempts to find technically sound, publicly accepted consolidated storage or disposal sites, it is not surprising that the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is being eyed for other wastes.


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