The Mixed Waste Landfill in Albuquerque, NM, is being illegally established as a repository for spent fuel, high level nuclear mixed waste and Transuranic (TRU) waste. The 2.6 acre MWL is located at Sandia National Laboratories on Kirtland Air Force Base The MWL is leaking radioactive and hazardous chemicals from shallow, unlined pits and trenches to Albuquerque, New Mexico’s drinking water aquifer.
Under federal law high level nuclear waste must be disposed of in a deep geologic repository. Sandia claims that a dirt cover installed in 2009 above the MLW waste will protect the public and environment. Experts say that the cover that has no liners beneath it may not last for more than 25 years – far less time than the hundreds of thousands of years that the long-lived radionuclides will remain dangerous. The MWL is already leaking and the cover cannot halt the further entry of moisture into the wastes.
More than 5,000 disposal records obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that Sandia used the Technical Area 3 radioactive waste dump for 30 years to dispose of high level mixed radioactive waste from nuclear reactor meltdown experiments, atomic bomb test experiments, a space nuclear reactor program and spent fuel. The disposal records are proof that Sandia misinformed state and federal regulators that only low level mixed waste had been disposed of in the MWL.
In 2002, Sandia provided an incomplete inventory of wastes in order to gain a permit for the MWL as a low level waste site. The inventory leaves out the types and quantities for much of what was disposed of in the MWL, including Plutonium, Americium, Uranium- 235, Depleted Uranium, Mercury, and chlorinated solvents such as Tetrachloroethylene (TCE) and Perchloroethylene (PCE). PCE and TCE are leaking to the aquifer beneath the MWL and the Environment Department is not requiring cleanup. Technology exists for cleanup of the MWL. But the Department of Energy prefers to place the health risks of the MWL onto the public rather than safely dispose of the legacy waste.
The disposal sheets are available here, and disposal sheets documenting high level nuclear waste only are here. See file _0002 listing substantial amounts of liquid mercury, never listed by Sandia in inventory lists provided to EPA or NMED.
See our Media & Video | Public Events page. Video was recorded at the Hearings TO DETERMINE CORRECTIVE ACTION COMPLETE WITH CONTROLS for the Sandia Mixed Waste Landfill.