NM Nuclear Waste Dump Seeks Recertification

Staff Report

The Associated Press

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Energy has applied to the Environmental Protection Agency to recertify its nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, which turns 10 on Thursday, must seek recertification every five years to demonstrate that it complies with EPA regulations for disposing of radioactive waste.

WIPP, excavated in salt beds 2,150 feet below the surface of the southern New Mexico desert, is designed for waste generated by the nation's defense work - largely such things as plutonium-contaminated rags, tools or clothing.

The EPA first certified WIPP in May 1998, with the first 5-year certification period dating from March 26, 1999, when WIPP received its first shipment of waste.