ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico (AP) — Workers at the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository have begun using a newly mined repository in an underground facility in southern New Mexico.
Officials at the waste sequestration pilot plant made an announcement this week, saying the first container of waste to be buried in the new area is from Tennessee’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Ships to WIPP.
known as panel 8the new area consists of seven separate rooms for placing lab coats, rubber gloves, tools, and special boxes and barrels filled with debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements.
Each room is 33 feet (10 meters) wide and 16 feet (4.9 meters) high, the length of a football field minus the end zones.
It was created by cutting out an ancient salt layer with a depth of about 0.8 km. underground landfill Outside of Carlsbad, received its first shipment in 1999. The idea is that the moving salt will eventually bury the radioactive waste left over from decades of bomb making and nuclear weapons research.
In 2014, a fire and another radiation release shut down the repository for nearly three years, prompting a costly overhaul of the policies and procedures governing WIPP and the nation’s multi-billion dollar cleanup program for Cold War-era waste. was forced to
After the disposal site reopened, operations had to be scaled back as areas of the facility became contaminated and restricted the airflow required for mining and disposal operations. A multi-million dollar project to install a new ventilation system is now underway, and state regulators are considering changing permits. some critics He said it could lead to business expansion.
State Department of Environment Hazardous Waste Office made a plan This month is intended to give the public an opportunity to comment on the changes and approve renewal applications.
Sean Dunagan, president and project manager of the Nuclear Waste Partnership, the contractor that manages the landfill, said in a statement that the new panel has already streamlined operations.
About 160,000 tons of salt will need to be mined to create the panels, and it will take about two and a half years to fill them with waste. For example, panel 7 contains 20,056 containers, most of which are 55 gallon (208 liter) drums.