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Idaho resumes radioactive waste shipments to New Mexico

Nuclear Waste Cleanup Idaho
Posted at 2:18 PM, Oct 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-15 16:18:50-04

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Shipments of nuclear waste from the U.S. Department of Energy’s site in eastern Idaho to a nuclear waste repository in New Mexico have resumed following three episodes that caused New Mexico officials to suspend them.

An Energy Department official told Idaho officials Tuesday that the New Mexico Environment Department last week gave the OK for shipments from the 890-square-mile (2,300-square-kilometer) site that includes the Idaho National Laboratory to resume to the department’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

The New Mexico agency suspended the shipments Sept. 14 following problems with three shipments. Officials said a drum leaking liquid in April caused a partial evacuation at the plant, but no contamination was reported. That was followed in July by another drum with a corrosion-like substance that escaped from the bottom, and in August by a shipment that appeared to have droplets on top.

Connie Flohr, manager of the Idaho Cleanup Project for the Energy Department’s Office of Environmental Management, told Idaho officials during a Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission meeting that additional steps are being taken to make sure the shipments don’t leak or rupture.