MISSION: Southwest Research and Information Center is a multi-cultural organization working to promote the health of people and communities, protect natural resources, ensure citizen participation, and secure environmental and social justice now and for future generations

Nuclear Waste Program

When it looked like the federal government was about to open an underground repository for the military's radiation-contaminated garbage in the early 1980s, SRIC staff met the calls of community leaders, local emergency planners, healthcare providers, and prominent scientists to "make WIPP safe." As a result of SRIC's scientific analysis and legal actions, federal health and safety requirements were imposed on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), delaying its opening until 1999. Today, SRIC is still watching to ensure that WIPP complies with those requirements and its mission is not expanded.

The Nuclear Waste Program provides technical assistance to community groups and information to the public and policymakers regarding nuclear weapons production facilities, including Los Alamos National Lab and Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico, and nuclear waste facilities, especially WIPP in New Mexico and sites that ship to WIPP. The program ensures effective citizen involvement in decisions about the future of the nuclear weapons complex relative to stopping approval of new production facilities and promoting disarmament and safer waste management and disposal at Department of Energy (DOE) sites.

In response to the Obama Administration's "Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future," SRIC submitted various reports, participated in three meetings, and has provided information about WIPP and nuclear waste storage and disposal policies to the public, policymakers, and the media. SRIC is working with numerous community groups in the southwest and nationally to oppose efforts to bring much or all of the nation's commercial spent fuel waste to New Mexico (Holtec) and west Texas (Waste Control Specialists (WCS)). SRIC also is an active member of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, a national network of organizations working to address issues of nuclear weapons production and waste cleanup.

Program Objective and Goals

Program Goal:

  1. Provide technical assistance to community groups and detailed, accurate information to the public regarding nuclear weapons production facilities, especially Los Alamos National Laboratory and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico and on WIPP;
  2. ensure strong citizen involvement in decisions about the future of nuclear waste storage and disposal and the nuclear weapons complex, both to prevent new production facilities and to promote safer waste management and disposal, including disposal of dismantled warheads; and
  3. assist affected citizens to increase their effective participation in the long-term process of disarmament and cleanup of DOE facilities.

Program Objectives:

  • Support the health and safety requirements of the WIPP operating permit and prevent WIPP’s expansion for high-level and commercial waste.
  • Support independent investigations of the 2014 WIPP radiation release to ensure that the cause(s) are known and a future release would not occur.
  • Work nationally with citizen groups, states, and tribes to bring about a new nuclear waste policy to replace the defunct Yucca Mountain dump.
  • Stop the new plutonium bomb plant at Los Alamos and support nuclear weapons reduction treaties.
  • Support effective cleanup of Area G, the nuclear waste dump at Los Alamos, and address water contamination at Sandia National Lab in Albuquerque.

WIPP Radiation Leak

We have received numerous inquiries about the recent serious accidents at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), specifically the underground fire and the radiation leak. We would like to update concerned citizens about the on-going issues at WIPP, and discuss the expansion proposals for transporting more nuclear waste through New Mexico to the WIPP dumpsite. SRIC, CARD, Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, and the WIPP Committee have hosted presentation sessions, and will do others in the future, for the public to discuss these issues.


Current DOE Proposals to Expand WIPP:
High-Level Waste • Mercury • Commercial Waste •
Greater-Than-Class-C Waste • Plutonium Wastes

Learn More About the Issue (09/15/2017)

Primary staff: Don Hancock, Paul Robinson.
For further information contact sricdon@earthlink.net.


Holtec & WCS


Nuclear Waste Policy

Evaluation Group

Facing Reality Series

Other Nuclear Waste Groups

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SRIC is part of the Stop Forever WIPP Coalition.
The nuclear waste dump is permitted to operate until 2024, but the federal government want to expand the amount and types of waste allowed with NO end date.
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Southwest Research and Information Center
105 Stanford SE
PO Box 4524
Albuquerque, NM 87196
fax: 505/262-1864

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