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A nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico and the Los Alamos National Laboratory could be burying an additional type of low-level radioactive waste in the future.
The U.S. Department of Energy is eyeing Los Alamos and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant east of Carlsbad and other sites around the country for waste known as greater-than-Class C low-level radioactive waste and greater-than-Class C-like waste.
Such material consists of low-level radioactive waste generated by various activities, including electricity production by nuclear power plants, producing and using radioisotopes to diagnose and treat disease, oil and gas exploration, and other industrial uses, the DOE said.
It does not include spent nuclear fuel or high-level waste.
The Energy Department has issued a draft environmental impact statement on the possible disposal sites — WIPP, LANL, the Hanford Site in Washington state, the Idaho National Laboratory, the Nevada National Security Site and the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. The impact statement does not list a preferred site.
WIPP, which opened in 1999, buries defense-related radioactive waste in rooms mined from an ancient salt formation 2,150 feet below the desert floor.
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