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Nuclear waste repository in New Mexico starts to fill new disposal area

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Workers at the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository have started using a newly mined disposal area at the underground facility in southern New Mexico. Officials at the

Waste Isolation Pilot Plant made the announcement this week, saying the first containers of waste to be entombed there came from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. The area called Panel 8 consists of seven separate rooms for placing special boxes and barrels packed with lab coats, rubber gloves, tools and debris contaminated with plutonium and other radioactive elements. Officials say creating a panel requires mining nearly 160,000 tons of salt deep below the surface.