WIPP waste deliveries from Idaho on hold again
Free New Mexican
December 15, 2006


CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) – Shipments of certain radioactive waste from Idaho National Laboratory to the federal government’s underground dump in southeastern New Mexico are again on hold.

The U.S. Department of Energy has temporarily suspended the batch of shipments while the New Mexico Environment Department reviews the situation, a DOE official said.

The DOE had halted the shipments Nov. 26 to the Waste Isolation pilot Plant near Carlsbad after liquid was found in what was supposed to be a dry drum.

The problem was discovered while waste drums were being prepared for shipment to WIPP, which is not allowed to accept any liquid waste because of the risks of leaks or potentially explosive materials.

The DOE later authorized the lab to resume the shipments to WIPP.

But the DOE put a hold on the shipments pending a review by the state agency, Kerry Watson, senior technical adviser to the DOE’s Carlsbad office, said Thursday.

The Environment Department wants assurances that no other prohibited liquid waste has been inadvertently sent to WIPP.

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