WASHINGTON (CN) – The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, in the Chihuahuan Desert, outside Carlsbad, New Mexico, is facing recertification by the Environmental Protection Agency as meeting agency standards for internment of radioactive waste, and the EPA requests public comment.
This year marks the second time the WIPP will face EPA certification since it began disposal operations in March 1999.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant uses a continuous miner to carve disposal rooms out of the Permian Salt Formation, nearly a half mile below the surface where the rags, uniforms, tools and other radioactive waste generated by the nation’s defense-related nuclear program are to be stored, forever. The Salt Formation acts as a natural barrier to the plutonium contaminated waste, and the area is free of underground rivers and significant seismic activity. The WIPP is operated by the Department of Energy through Washington TRU Solutions, a waste disposal contractor.