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DOE secures waste route through Nambé

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By Tris DeRoma

 The Department of Energy announced Dec. 21 a $250,000, renewal of a five-year agreement with the Nambé Pueblo that will allow the DOE to transport radioactive waste through its lands to the DOE’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for treatment in Carlsbad. 

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The $250,000 agreement will fund training and technical assistance to the pueblo’s emergency responders to ensure the waste, which will include transuranic waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, gets to WIPP without incident.  

The training will include how to plan and train for emergency events, transportation monitoring, equipment, supplies and increasing public awareness activities. 

The WIPP plant recently opened back up after a 2014 accident caused by an improperly packed barrel of transuranic waste from LANL exploded at the plant. The plant is working on storing the waste it held in an above ground facility on its property before it starts accepting waste shipments from LANL and other facilities in the DOE’s nuclear complex.

“DOE, WIPP have maintained these cooperative agreements even though we have not been shipping just so that when we do ship, the training will be in place,” said DOE spokesman Bill Taylor. 

The Nambé Pueblo is located 20 miles north of Santa Fe near the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.