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Citizens speak out on NNSA's waste facility

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LASO: Requests for permit change sent out to NMED

By John Severance

This week, the National Nuclear Security Administration Los Alamos Site Office dotted its Is and crossed its Ts as it sent a 386-page Class 2 permit modification request for the addition of a new Transuranic Waste Facility at Technical Area 63 to the New Mexico Environment Department.

In addition, the LASO office sent a 1,074-page document to the NMED, concerning a Class 3 permit modification request for the addition of open detonation units at TA-36 and TA-39.

There were no public comments associated with the open detonation permit modification request.

But that certainly was not the case with the Transuranic Waste Facility, with 30 different emails accompanying the request, all of them against LANL’s plans for the new facility.

Comments in the emails contained:
• “I am opposed to poorly planned and wasteful spending on human activities that are obsolete and harmful to ALL LIFE on this planet. Please see the article below about LANL ‘plans.’ I will state again, it is time that LANL be funded to CLEAN UP the toxic mess that already exists, and give the great scientific minds at LANL NEW jobs of developing affordable clean energy,” wrote April Mondragon.

• “I am stunned at this plan, which ignores many issues of the inadequacy of this site for long-term storage of ANY kind of nuclear or hazardous materials,” wrote Jill Cliburn of Santa Fe. “I understand that the waste is to be sorted, so some can be shipped regularly to WIPP. But the WIPP site cannot serve this purpose past 2030, and your Los Alamos site is not a long-term site, either. This waste needs to be stored safely for generations. I can only point out the obvious — that US DOE should not be authorizing construction of any facility that cannot safely hold waste far into the future.”

• “The modification request does not protect human health and the environment
and must be denied. The proposed TRUWF could handle extremely large amounts of radioactive and hazardous transuranic waste for several decades and become a de facto permanent TRU waste facility,” wrote Brian O’Keefe.

• “LANL must continue to focus on cleanup of legacy Cold War waste. The
proposed TRUWF will not manage buried waste, which is contaminating soils and migrating to surface and ground water. Further, given the past poor waste management practices at LANL – since 1999, LANL has sent 875 shipments of 10,067 shipments of TRU waste to WIPP, which is fewer than 10 percent of all of the shipments – we can anticipate that LANL will become a de facto TRU waste storage facility,” from the Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.

• This is a poorly conceived plan — a waste site with a much longer life than the generator of the waste in a POPULATED area of New Mexico. There are far less habited regions of NM or US if such a site is imperative. DO NOT BUILD where and as planned,” wrote Susan Mitchell, who said she is a Santa Fe property owner and concerned citizen.

• “Please refuse the plan for transuranic waste at Los Alamos. This invites disaster and is there is NO NECESSITY for this!” wrote Julia Hunkins of Santa Fe.