SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – The final draft of the permit allowing more radioactive waste to be stored in New Mexico has been published. The state’s environment department will hold public meetings to explain the permit that will let nuclear programs around the U.S. dispose of waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

The underground storage facility near Carlsbad, New Mexico, is already home to tens of thousands of containers of waste. Now, the state is set to issue a permit to let the U.S. Department of Energy and Salado Isolation Mining Contractors LLC store more transuranic waste at the site.

The permit has drawn criticism from community members and politicians alike. As part of the plan’s public comment period, the mayor of Carlsbad, Dale Janway, submitted an opposition letter. But the New Mexico Environment Department Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said, “communities in New Mexico and around the U.S. benefit from the clean-up of legacy waste and its disposal at WIPP.”

The environment department says they will issue the final permit in October of 2023. Public comment is open until September 22, 2023, and the department will hold a public meeting from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 22. The meeting will be held concurrently at:

  • Skeen-Whitlock Building (4021 National Parks Highway Carlsbad, NM 88220)
  • Larrazolo Auditorium (NMED Harold Runnels Building 1190 Saint Francis Drive Santa Fe, New Mexico 87502)
  • Online (at a link posted on this calendar)

The final draft of the permit can be found at this link. More resources on the project can be found here.