The town that wants more nuclear waste
We had just arrived at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) after a 40-minute drive from Carlsbad, New Mexico in south-eastern part of the state. In a few minutes we’d get hard-hats and take a lift a half-mile down into a dark salt cavern where the US was burying nuclear waste from first created at the time of the Manhattan Project through today.
But for now we were still standing in the parking lot in the still hot desert sun waiting to be let in behind the security fence. “BBC, huh?” one of our fellow tour takers said. “I really enjoy Doctor Who episodes”
I didn’t mention I felt we were about to enter one.
WIPP is the first step in what will be a long-term problem for the US - safety storing tonnes of nuclear waste. But a recent radiation leak at the site has threatened the future of waste storage in the country.
But the leaders in the city of Carlsbad, New Mexico still want their area to be a destination for America’s radioactive history - and maybe even store another pressing nuclear problem - what to do with the tonnes of spent fuel created by commercial power plants across the US.
- Taylor Kate Brown