SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – After months of public input, the state’s environment department has approved a permit to allow for 10 more years of storage at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The facility acts as an underground storage site for thousands of barrels of transuranic radioactive waste, generally coming from the ongoing cleanup of the nation’s national labs.

Thousands of containers of radioactive waste are already located at the facility. However, the idea of renewing the permit to allow continued storage has drawn both criticism and support. All written public comments can be read here. The environment department also reported its response to those public comments.

After public comment, the department decided to approve a final version of the permit. That permit becomes effective on November 3, 2023.

“The new permit will benefit New Mexico and legacy waste clean-up from around the U.S. for years to come,” New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said in a press release.