New Mexico OKs reopening troubled nuclear dump

WIPP

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – New Mexico regulators have approved restarting normal operations at the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository, a major step for U.S. officials aiming to reopen the facility nearly three years after a radiation leak.

Two letters obtained Thursday by The Associated Press outline the state Environment Department’s findings from a recent inspection of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

Regulators found two minor permit violations but say those have been addressed.

The facility has been closed since a radiation release in February 2014 contaminated much of the underground disposal area. Shipments of waste at national laboratories and other defense sites nationwide have been piling up during the shutdown.

The U.S. Energy Department has been pushing to resume limited operations before year’s end, but it still needs to address numerous issues identified in a separate readiness review.