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

SRIC's Nuclear Waste Documents
WIPP Environmental Impact Statements


Please check back for updates (Latest update: 01/19/2020)

Even though federal laws limit the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) to be used only for defense transuranic (plutonium-contaminated) waste from nuclear weapons, the Department of Energy (DOE) proposed actions to expand WIPP to three additional missions in 2012-2013. Two of those proposals had additional action in 2016.

On December 15, 2017, DOE released a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for a Surface Storage Facility at WIPP. SRIC and many other organizations strongly oppose such a facility because of its dangers and that it is not legally authorized by Congress. On January 2, 2018, SRIC requested at least a two-week extension on the public comment period until two reference documents are released.

On January 4, DOE extended the comment period until January 29, 2018.

Comments can be submitted to: WIPP.EA@WIPP.ws

Also, in December 2016, as part of re-opening WIPP for limited operations, DOE released a Supplement Analysis (SA) (http://www.wipp.energy.gov/Special/Supplemental_Analysis.pdf), which said more extensive analysis was not necessary, despite the November 21 NRDC-SRIC letter. Under the Freedom of Information Act, DOE also provided the Data Call reference for the SA.

It is important for federal and state decision-makers to know what people in New Mexico (and elsewhere) think about the expansions. SRIC strongly encourages interested people to be involved. We will provide updated information, as DOE moves forward with its actions.

The three additional missions:

  1. Storage of up to 10,000 tons of elemental mercury for 40 years or more. DOE issued a supplemental Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to include WIPP and a nearby site in September 2013. http://energy.gov/nepa/downloads/eis-0423-s1-final-supplemental-environmental-impact-statement No further action has been taken as Congress must approve funding for the storage facility.
  2. Disposal of commercial Greater-Than-Class C waste. DOE planned to issue a Final EIS for WIPP to be the disposal site for 160,000,000 curies of commercial waste in 2012, after having issued in 2011 a Draft EIS for public comment and hearings. No further action has been taken, although DOE officials have stated that the Final EIS might be issued by the end of 2015. The Final EIS was issued on February 24, 2016.
  3. Disposal of surplus plutonium from the Savannah River Site. In July 2012, DOE issued a Draft Supplemental EIS for up to 6 metric tons of plutonium to be added to WIPP’s inventory. See a Chronology and SRIC’s written comments in early 2012 and in October 2012. The Final Supplemental EIS was issued in April 2015. http://energy.gov/nepa/downloads/eis-0283-s2-final-supplemental-environmental-impact-statement.
    The Record of Decision was signed on March 29, 2016.


Letter from Sen. Jeff Bingaman to DOE re: Opposing Waste from the West Valley Demonstration Project being shipped to WIPP (2/6/2004)

SRIC Objects to DOE's Plans to Ship Prohibited Waste from the West Valley Demonstration Project to WIPP (1/23/04)

For further information contact us at sricdon@earthlink.net or call (505) 262-1862, fax: (505) 262-1864.


Holtec & WCS


Nuclear Waste Policy

Evaluation Group

Facing Reality Series

Other Nuclear Waste Groups

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