CARLSBAD, N.M. (KRQE) – New Mexico’s Environment Department is taking public comment regarding the storage of nuclear waste in the state. The department is also re-extending the deadline for submitting comment.

So far, more than 20,000 containers of radioactive waste have been stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) under a waste disposal permit. Now, the state’s Environment Department is considering renewing that permit to allow operations to continue with some adjustments.

In 1999, the New Mexico Environment Department first granted the initial disposal permit to the U.S. Department of Energy. Since then, mixed transuranic waste, hazardous waste with radioactive elements heavier than uranium, has been stored near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Now, the permit to continue disposal operations is being reworked. The full draft permit is available here.

The window to make comments on the draft is now open until April 19, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. Comments can be submitted online at this link.

Already, many comments have been sent in. For example, Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway, submitted a letter in opposition to the proposed changes.