New Mexico weighs changes to permit for nuclear waste dump

State & Regional

FILE – This March 6, 2014 file photo shows the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository, near Carlsbad, N.M. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

CARLBAD, N.M. (AP) — U.S. officials are pushing New Mexico regulators to clear the way for a new ventilation shaft to be built at the federal government’s nuclear waste repository.

But watchdog groups say modifying the permit for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to allow for the construction could open the door to expansion.

The state Environment Department’s Hazardous Waste Bureau held a virtual hearing this week to gather comments on the proposed permit change.

A 2014 radiation release contaminated parts of the underground facility in southern New Mexico and resulted in limited ventilation.

Officials contend more air will be needed as mining and waste operations continue.

(Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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