New Mexico considers partial closure plan for nuke dump

stockimg WIPP, exterior

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico regulators are now considering a proposal by the U.S. Department of Energy to close part of the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository due to safety and contamination concerns.

The plan was first announced in October but officials with the New Mexico Environment Department confirmed this week that they recently received the federal government’s written request.

It’s unclear when a decision will be made.

State regulators must also conduct a site inspection in the coming weeks as the federal government looks to reopen the troubled facility.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been closed since February 2014. A chemical reaction inside an inappropriately packed drum of waste triggered a radiation release.

The incident resulted in an overhaul of policies and procedures, contract penalties and a multimillion-dollar settlement with the state of New Mexico.

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