New Mexico Republican Rep. Steve Pearce has introduced legislation to expand the mission of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.
Pearce says that because the plant is only tasked with handling radioactive waste generated by the Department of Energy as part of a defense mission, it is running out of material to process. And that will mean a loss of jobs.
Pearce says that under his bill, there would be no change in what type of waste WIPP handles. The site currently processes exposed materials like gloves, clothing and tool, from federal facilities like Los Alamos National Laboratory. But it would be allowed to accept transuranic waste from the federal government as a whole.
Pearce says WIPP has demonstrated great success, safely removing more than 85,000 cubic meters of waste from Department of Energy sites around the country.