Waste Management

No Longer the Emptiest Dump in America

The first tractor-trailer load of nuclear garbage finally rumbled up to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in the New Mexico desert last week. Protests, lawsuits and bureaucratic snafus had delayed for 11 years the opening of the nation's first permanent deep-rock nuclear repository and turned the project into a black hole of costs: the $1 billion price tag eventually got to $19 billion. Even so, the plant will operate at barely 40% of capacity until state regulators grant certification. "Radioactive wastes will be a lot safer here than sitting around at old bomb plants," said ROBERT NEILL, director of the Environmental...

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