New Mexico sets deadlines for handling waste at nuke dump

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - The New Mexico Environment Department is giving the federal government a deadline for dealing with radioactive waste that's sitting above ground at a nuclear dump near Carlsbad.

Dozens of drums and other special containers of waste are being stored in a parking area at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and inside the facility's waste handling building.

From there, the waste is usually taken to its final resting place deep in underground salt beds. But the repository has been closed since early February due to back-to-back accidents, including a radiation release that exposed at least 13 workers.

The Environment Department outlined the deadlines and other requirements for the dump in an administrative order made public Monday.

State officials say the order lets them keep close watch on what's happening.

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