ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The U.S. Department of Energy is preparing to treat dozens of containers of radioactive waste that were inappropriately packed at one of the nation’s premier nuclear weapons laboratories.
It was a similar container from Los Alamos National Laboratory that ruptured in 2014, forcing the closure of the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository.
The chemical reaction that caused the breach was spurred by organic cat litter that was meant to absorb moisture.
The treatment process will involve adding water and an inert material to the 60 containers in question to stabilize them so they can ultimately be disposed of. State and federal officials describe the work as calculated and methodical.
Officials say the work is expected to begin next spring following safety assessments and upgrades to the building where the treatment will be done.