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The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Aerial view of the Department of Energy's underground nuclear storage facility, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, as it appears today.

WIPP, is the world's first underground repository licensed to safely and permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste that is left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. WIPP began operations on March 26, 1999, after more than 20 years of scientific study, public input, and regulatory struggles.

It is located near Carlsbad, New Mexico. Waste is placed in rooms 2,150 feet (655 m) underground.Because drilling or excavation in the area will be hazardous long after the area is being actively used, there are plans to construct markers to deter inadvertent human intrusion for the next ten thousand years.

Song Lihua. Jekaterina Novitskova.2006.All rights reserved.