GAO - Government Accountability Office

11/19/2020 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 11/20/2020 09:54

Nuclear Waste Disposal: Better Planning Needed to Avoid Potential Disruptions at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico is the nation's only repository for certain waste from nuclear weapons research and production.

The facility is expected to run out of disposal space by 2025. The Department of Energy plans to expand it, but work may not be completed before existing space is full.

Accidents in 2014 reduced the plant's operations, and Energy is constructing a new ventilation system so that full operations can resume. This work has been delayed and the office managing it has many vacancies.

We recommended that Energy improve its planning for adding space and analyze what additional incentives could help fill vacancies.

Above-ground portion of the ventilation system at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico