Mining set to resume at nuclear waste repository in NM | KOB 4
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Mining set to resume at nuclear waste repository in NM

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN
December 11, 2017 07:27 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Officials at the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository will be flipping the switch this week on an interim ventilation system, allowing for mining to resume for the first time following a 2014 radiation release that contaminated part of the facility.

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Still, they caution it will be a few years before the flow of air is enough to meet the pace of operations prior to the mishap.

Bruce Covert, president of the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, said testing was done and the U.S. Energy Department approved the startup the ventilation system.

He called it a big step for the facility, which disposes of waste from decades of bomb-making and nuclear research.

Over the long term, officials are planning for a permanent system expected to cost a quarter-billion dollars and take until 2021 to complete.

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By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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