DOE plans to ship Hanford nuclear waste to New Mexico

Hanford Vitrification Plant

The Department of Energy announced plans Wednesday to transfer low-level radioactive waste from leaking storage containers at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation to a facility in New Mexico, Reuters reports.

The plan, announced weeks after it was revealed that at least six of the tanks are leaking radioactive waste, is to collect up to 3.1 million gallons of the waste from 20 of the 177 tanks at the site, repackage it for transport and move it to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M. A nuclear weapons production site first associated with the Manhattan Project, the Hanford Nuclear Reservation has been a perennial challenge for the US as it seeks to secure toxic nuclear waste and efforts to clean up the mess at the site have gone far over budget.

The plan could face opposition from New Mexico officials, Reuters reports. “The state of New Mexico’s permit for WIPP specifically prohibits waste from Hanford, so any proposal to change that would need strong justification and public input,” Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) told Reuters in an email statement.

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