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WIPP cleanup costs another $113 million

Congress has been asked to add funds to help clean up the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad.

Senator Tom Udall and Senator Martin Heinrich sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate panel in charge of finalizing federal energy spending bills requesting an additional $113 million for cleaning up the WIPP.

The WIPP has been closed since February due to a fire and a radiation leak.

In a replying letter, the Senators stated their position on the additional funding:

WIPP is the nation’s only deep geologic repository for transuranic nuclear weapons waste and an integral part of the environmental clean-up of Cold War programs at Department of Energy defense sites around the country … We believe it is essential that WIPP have additional funding in FY15 to continue implementing the recovery plan, including all of the recommendations of the Accident Investigation Boards. Though the president’s original FY15 budget request for WIPP did not reflect the additional funding required to respond to the accidents, we very much appreciate your including additional funding in your subcommittee’s draft bill for FY15 to support of WIPP’s recovery.

The bill drafted in June by the Senate Energy and Water Appropriation provided $323 million for the WIPP, which included $102 million for WIPP cleanup.

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