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Safety problems at USA’s nuclear waste dump continue to worry regulators

WIPPWatchdogs concerned about readiness of New Mexico nuke dump, WP   October 13 ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A series of recent ceiling collapses at the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository has watchdogs calling on officials to ensure safety before moving ahead with a planned reopening later this year.

U.S. Energy Department officials and the contractor that manages the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico will update the public on the collapses during a meeting Thursday evening.

A radiation release forced the closure of the repository in February 2014. Since then, thousands of tons of waste left over from decades of nuclear weapon research and development have been stacking up at sites around the country, hampering the government’s multibillion-dollar cleanup program.

The waste is meant to be entombed in storage rooms carved out of a salt formation deep underground…….

There have been at least three collapses in recent weeks. In one case, chunks of salt dislodged from the ceiling and tore through chain link fencing that was meant to help stabilize the corridors. There were no injuries.

Don Hancock with the Albuquerque-based watchdog group Southwest Research and Information Center said the collapses are no surprise but they raise questions about whether the repository will be ready to reopen in December.

He suggested more collapses could stir up contamination and threaten workers…….

October 14, 2016 - Posted by | general

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