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NMED approves WIPP modification

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The New Mexico Environment Department took final administrative action on a Class 2 permit modification request to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Hazardous Waste Facility Permit by approving the modification with changes Thursday.
 The Department of Energy Carlsbad Field Office and Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC formerly Washington TRU Solutions LLC (the permittees) submitted the PMR to the NMED Hazardous Waste Bureau July 5 seeking to add the shielded container as a shipping package, add descriptions of how the volume of remote-handled transuranic mixed waste which is disposed of in shielded containers will be tracked and related changes to waste handling descriptions.
NMED did what officials termed was an extensive review of the comments submitted during the 60 day public comment period, which began July 12, and ended Sept.10 and ultimately determined the majority of concerns expressed in these comments are outside of NMED’s regulatory authority.
 The waste that is emplaced at WIPP contains both radioactive and hazardous components and is therefore referred to as mixed waste. As a result, mixed wastes are regulated by both the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act and the Atomic Energy Act. NMED has regulatory authority over the chemical components of the waste at WIPP through RCRA.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency regulates the radioactive components. EPA approved the use of shielded containers on Aug. 8, 2011 and found that DOE had fulfilled all documentation requirements set forth by the Agency and had demonstrated that use of shielded containers in the repository would not affect facility compliance with either 40 CFR 191 or 40 CFR 194.