US energy boss lauds opening of nuke repository

US energy boss lauds opening of nuke repository

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The head of the U.S. Energy Department says it was the determination of workers and pure ingenuity that allowed the nation's only underground repository for nuclear waste to recover from a radiation release.
    
Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz tells The Associated Press that resuming work at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico means the nation's multibillion-dollar cleanup of waste from decades of bomb-making and nuclear research can get back on track.
    
Moniz and others are gathering Monday to mark the reopening.
    
The repository was shuttered in February 2014 after a chemical reaction inside a drum of inappropriately packed waste caused the lid to burst, contaminating parts of the underground disposal area.
    
Moniz acknowledged that the closure caused a backlog of radioactive waste to build up at national laboratories and other sites around the country. While some work has resumed at the repository, he's hopeful shipments can start later this year.

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