DOE puts out request for WIPP management contract

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CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The Department of Energy is taking bids for management of the federal government's nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico.

Contractor Washington TRU Solutions LLC currently oversees the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, where plutonium-contaminated waste from defense projects is buried in rooms excavated in vast underground salt beds. It's contract was extended last year through 2012.

DOE says it anticipates awarding a five-year contract with an annual value of $135 million a year and an option for a five-year extension.

WIPP is the final disposal destination for more than 6 million cubic feet of stored and newly generated transuranic waste from sites around the country. The waste includes such things as clothing, tools and other debris.