ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – The U.S. Energy Department is authorizing its contractor to resume the disposal of radioactive waste at the federal government’s underground repository in southern New Mexico.
Agency officials said Friday the approval confirms that numerous corrective actions identified during a recent review have been completed. They say the first container of waste is expected to be moved below ground in early January.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been closed since February 2014, when a radiation release contaminated a significant portion of the repository.
The incident forced shipments from around the country to be halted and hundreds of millions of dollars have been poured into recovery efforts and policy overhauls.
The corrective actions ranged from paperwork and documentation issues to procedural inadequacies regarding new requirements for accepting waste from national laboratories and other defense sites around the country.