A top official in U.S. Rep. Steve Pearce's office says the Republican congressman believes the federal government's nuclear waste repository in New Mexico can handle shipments of radioactive waste from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in Washington state.
Federal officials have proposed shipping as many as 3 million gallons of waste from underground tanks at Hanford to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M. The proposal would need state approval.
Tens of thousands of cubic meters of waste — including clothing, tools and other debris — are stored in WIPP's underground salt caverns.
Pearce's chief of staff, Todd Willens, says the congressman understands that the waste from Hanford would be no more risky or toxic than the waste already housed at WIPP.
Willens says the purpose of the repository is to help the nation deal with its defense-related waste.