Alibi V.13 No.39 • Sept 23-29, 2004 
Courtesy Sandia Labs


Coming of Age

Some Albuquerque residents say the Mixed Waste Landfill is a threat to our very existence. But officials at Sandia National Labs contend it's better to leave bad enough alone.

Suppose there were a rattlesnake in your driveway. What would you do?

You'd probably want to keep an eye on it. You might even want to call someone to take it away, although that would cost you. Or you might decide the snake looks pretty old and has probably lost its fangs; accordingly, maybe the safest—and cheapest—thing would be to just leave it alone.

In this case the snake is the Sandia National Laboratories' Mixed Waste Landfill and the metaphor belongs to Dr. Eric Nuttall, one of several authors of a 2001 scientific peer review of the 2.6-acre, unlined landfill, where radioactive and hazardous wastes from Sandia's nuclear weapons research program were dumped from March 1959 until December 1988.

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