Moniz to Visit New Mexico to Discuss Troubled Atomic Waste Dump

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July 25, 2014, 8:31 a.m.

En­ergy Sec­ret­ary Ern­est Mon­iz is sched­uled to travel to New Mex­ico in Au­gust to dis­cuss ef­forts to re­open a shuttered atom­ic waste dump there.

The sec­ret­ary will be in Carls­bad on Aug. 12, the Carls­bad Cur­rent-Ar­gus re­por­ted. Mon­iz is com­ing at the in­vit­a­tion of New Mex­ico’s con­gres­sion­al del­eg­a­tion. It is not clear if he will be meet­ing with the pub­lic, though he has been urged to do so by the Carls­bad Nuc­le­ar Task Force.

The Waste Isol­a­tion Pi­lot Plant has been shut down since Feb­ru­ary, when an atom­ic waste-filled con­tain­er mys­ter­i­ously rup­tured, send­ing small amounts of plutoni­um and amer­i­ci­um in­to the un­der­ground cham­bers and the nearby en­vir­on­ment.

Task force chair­man John Heaton in a Thursday in­ter­view said the En­ergy De­part­ment has not been forth­com­ing enough in up­dat­ing the pub­lic about ef­forts to safely clean up the rup­tured atom­ic-waste con­tain­er and re­open the fed­er­al dump site.

“This is a gov­ern­ment op­er­a­tion and you would ex­pect that everything would be com­pletely open and trans­par­ent to the pub­lic, said Heaton, a one­time Demo­crat­ic state sen­at­or. “I think that we’ve been guar­an­teed trans­par­ency by the DOE headquar­ters, but what’s so private about a re­cov­ery plan that it can’t be pub­lished at this point.”

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