Watchdog agency: US nuclear dump running out of room

September 7, 2017 by Susan Montoya Bryan

A government watchdog agency says the only underground nuclear waste repository in the United States doesn't have enough space for radioactive debris left over from decades of bomb-making and research, much less tons of surplus weapons-grade plutonium.

A Senate committee requested the review from the U.S. Government Accountability Office amid concerns about ballooning costs and significant delays related to a 20-year-old pledge the U.S. made with Russia to dispose of extra plutonium from its stockpiles.

The agency found that officials with the U.S. Energy Department haven't analyzed or planned for expanding the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico and that regulatory approval for doing so would take years.

The findings and recommendations from the Government Accountability Office were released this week following a lengthy review of documents and interviews.

Explore further: Nuke waste debate: Turn it into glass or encase in cement?

Related Stories

Nuke waste debate: Turn it into glass or encase in cement?

May 4, 2017

Congress should consider authorizing the U.S. Department of Energy to study encasing much of the nuclear waste at the nation's largest waste repository in a cement-like mixture instead of turning it into glass logs, according ...

Feds to unveil cleanup plan for nuke waste dump

September 30, 2014

After nearly eight months, the U.S. Department of Energy has formalized a plan for cleaning up the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.

US investigates after lab improperly ships nuclear material

June 24, 2017

U.S. regulators said Friday they are launching an investigation into the improper shipment of nuclear material from the laboratory that created the atomic bomb to other federal facilities this week, marking the latest safety ...

Recommended for you

New method analyzes corn kernel characteristics

November 17, 2017

An ear of corn averages about 800 kernels. A traditional field method to estimate the number of kernels on the ear is to manually count the number of rows and multiply by the number of kernels in one length of the ear. With ...

Optically tunable microwave antennas for 5G applications

November 16, 2017

Multiband tunable antennas are a critical part of many communication and radar systems. New research by engineers at the University of Bristol has shown significant advances in antennas by using optically induced plasmas ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.