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Nuclear Weapons Waste Headed for Andrews

Radioactive waste that’s unable to be stored underground in New Mexico could be coming to West Texas.

That’s the latest word from Department of Energy that oversees operations at the SE New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), which has been closed since last month due to a fire and leak of radiation.

Fifteen workers at the site were exposed to low levels of radiation in the incident, which has prompted federal and state investigations. WIPP is 190 miles SE of Lubbock, and the Andrews County site is about 88 miles from the Hub City.

The nuclear waste will come straight from the Los Alamos National Laboratory, a byproduct of nuclear weapons research. Los Alamos officials say the lab’s target date to resume shipments is April 1.

Los Alamos anticipates about 140 shipments will be made to the site in Andrews.

Federal officials are working with regulators at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to make sure that storing the Los Alamos waste at Andrew’s Waste Control Specialists location is allowable under its permits.

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