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America’s troubled Nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to be expanded

US nuke waste repository in New Mexico will get more space, abc news, By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, ASSOCIATED PRESS, ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Oct 17, 2017Workers are expected to begin mining operations at the U.S. nuclear waste dump in New Mexico for the first time in three years following a radiation release that contaminated part of the underground repository, the Energy Department said Tuesday.

The work to carve out more disposal space from the ancient salt formation where the repository is located will begin later this fall and should be completed by 2020, the department said in a statement.

Workers will remove more than 112,000 tons (101,605 metric tons) of salt, making way for seven disposal rooms. Each will have space for more than 10,000 drums containing up to 55 gallons (208 liters) of waste.

The repository, named the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, began accepting shipments of radioactive waste from defense sites and national laboratories earlier this year after being closed for nearly three years.

It’s working to catch up with the nation’s multibillion-dollar program for cleaning up tons of waste left behind by decades of bomb-making and nuclear research. The waste includes radioactive tools, gloves, clothing and other debris.

The pace of shipments is increasing slowly, but federal auditors recently raised concerns that the repository could run out of space. The U.S. Government Accountability Office also found that the Energy Department has no plans for securing regulatory approvals and expanding the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant before it reaches capacity in less than a decade……


October 23, 2017 - Posted by | USA, wastes

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