CCNS and NMED Negotiate Settlement Agreement for the WIPP Hazardous Waste Renewal Permit

CCNS and NMED Negotiate Settlement Agreement for the WIPP Hazardous Waste Renewal Permit
CCNS and five other non-governmental organizations and one individual successfully negotiated a settlement agreement last week to revise the draft ten-year hazardous waste renewal permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).  Also at the table were the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and the co-Permittees, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and Salado Isolation Mining Contractors, LLC (SIMCO).
The NGOs are Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping (CARD) , Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety (CCNS) , Conservation Voters New Mexico (CVNM) , Nuclear Watch New Mexico (NWNM) , Southwest Alliance for a Safe Future (SAFE) , and Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC) .  The individual is Steve Zappe, a grandfather and former NMED WIPP Program Manager.  
In April, the NGOs and the individual requested a public hearing because they opposed portions of the draft renewal permit.  The four days of successful negotiations resulted in changes to the renewal permit and the withdrawal of the requests for a public hearing.     
The NGOs claimed victory that DOE is now required to provide an annual report about establishing another repository for plutonium-contaminated radioactive waste in a state other than New Mexico.  WIPP
was never supposed to be the only repository for this waste, called transuranic, or TRU, generated by the production of nuclear weapons. 
Additional protective conditions include the Environment Department exercising its power to revoke and require closing the site if the volume of waste disposed of at WIPP is increased or the types of waste are changed.  
The permit requires the Permittees to implement a new plan with a full inventory of legacy waste around the U.S. for disposal at WIPP.  This should be the first definition of legacy waste generated by the first 55 years of nuclear weapons production. 
It includes additional public notice and participation opportunities.