Water Utility Authority Resolution: Excavation of the MWL
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What follows is the proposed Citizen Action written resolution to be considered by the Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority Board (WUA). A vote on this resolution is, as yet, unscheduled. We will post notification when scheduled in this space. Please consider planning to attend this WUA meeting when a vote is scheduled and advocating for the resolution's passage. This is absolutely critical to the future safety of Albuquerque's drinking water supply.
Resolution No. _____________
Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority Resolution
For Excavation of the Sandia National Laboratories’ Mixed Waste Landfill (MWL)
Whereas, the MWL is unique and will remain extremely dangerous to Albuquerque residents for millennia to come if the wastes are not excavated, properly stored and disposed of in a deep geologic repository. The MWL is in the center of an urban population that includes Mesa del Sol, Pueblo Isleta, I-25 and I-40 highways
Whereas, Sandia’s records show that the dump contains high-level mixed nuclear wastes from nuclear reactor meltdown experiments; nuclear weapons testing at the Nevada Test Site and the Marshall Islands; the nuclear meltdown in 1979 at the Three Mile Island reactors in Pennsylvania; and the burial of 119 barrels of plutonium and americium contaminated waste, along with tons of depleted uranium.
Whereas, Sandia did not inform the public and regulators that high-level radioactive mixed waste was disposed as described by numerous Sandia publications that describe nuclear fuel meltdown tests conducted during the 1970s and 80s in a Sandia reactor.
Whereas, Sandia management memoranda from 1997 to 2001, along with thousands of radioactive and hazardous waste disposal sheets describe that canisters containing metallic Sodium and high-level nuclear waste were disposed of in shallow pits and trenches at the MWL;
Whereas, because metallic Sodium is explosive in the presence of water, there is the potential that over time the canisters will corrode and the sodium, in contact with moisture, will explode, breach the MWL’s dirt cover, and spread radiation from the canisters and other wastes into Albuquerque’s air and groundwater.
Whereas, Sandia’s own records show that the MWL 2.6 acre dump is leaking radioactive waste, solvents and heavy metals from shallow, unlined pits and trenches into Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer;
Whereas, High-level nuclear waste requires deep geological disposal in an engineered facility, not shallow disposal in unlined pits and trenches;
Whereas, the wastes lie above Albuquerque’s drinking water aquifer stored in plastic bags, cardboard boxes, steel drums, canisters that will decay and corrode.
Whereas, groundwater monitoring for the MWL dump has been defective for all time to the present and did not support the decision to leave the wastes under a dirt cover;
Whereas, no complete inventory of the MWL wastes was made;
Whereas, Sandia possesses the technology to safely excavate and store the MWL wastes;
Whereas, the Water Protection Advisory Board has listed the MWL as one of its top ten pollution sites;
Therefore, the ABCWUA hereby resolves that Sandia National Laboratories excavate the MWL, safely store the wastes and remove the High-level mixed waste to a repository.