LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — A Texas firm is being awarded a contract worth more than $19 million to continue storing radioactive waste from a federal laboratory that was initially intended to be disposed of at an underground government site in southern New Mexico.
The U.S. Energy Department had the containers sent to Waste Control Specialists in Andrews County, Texas, after a 2014 radiation release forced a nearly three-year closure of the government's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
The repository resumed operations earlier this year, but the two-year storage order allows for the waste to remain in Texas until shipments to the repository ramp up.
Los Alamos National Laboratory initially sent 582 barrels of waste to Texas, including 113 containers similar to one that caused the radiation leak at the repository. Investigators say that container was inappropriately packed and caused a chemical reaction.