Friday, December 15, 2006
Nuclear Waste Delivery on Hold
By John Fleck
Journal Staff Writer

Shipments from Idaho to New Mexico of a troubled batch of radioactive waste remain on hold while New Mexico state officials review the situation, an Energy Department official said Thursday afternoon.

The Energy Department announced late Tuesday that the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory had been given the green light to restart the shipments, which were halted in November after prohibited liquid waste was found in a New Mexico-bound drum of waste.

Kerry Watson, senior technical adviser to the manager of the Department of Energy’s Carlsbad office, said Thursday that despite formally authorizing a resumption in the Idaho shipments, his agency has put a hold on any further shipment of the waste so the New Mexico Environment Department can review the situation.

State officials are looking for assurances that no other prohibited liquid waste has been inadvertently sent to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, a radioactive waste disposal site near Carlsbad.

“We expect a thorough evaluation,” Environment Secretary Ron Curry said through a spokeswoman.