- Associated Press - Wednesday, August 22, 2012

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) - Nuclear watchdogs are questioning a proposal to ship tons of plutonium to New Mexico, including the cores of nuclear warheads that would be dismantled at an aging and structurally questionable lab atop a major earthquake fault zone.

Opponents are voicing their opposition at a series of public hearings that opened this week on how best to dispose of the plutonium.

One plan being studied by the Department of Energy calls for the shipment of 7 metric tons from the Pantex plant in West Texas to Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and a Savannah River site in South Carolina for disassembly and processing into fuel for commercial nuclear reactors.

The plan also calls for another 6 tons of surplus plutonium to be buried at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M.