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NM, lab reach deal on radioactive waste cleanup

Thursday - 1/5/2012, 7:41pm  ET

By JERI CLAUSING
Associated Press

POJOAQUE, N.M. (AP) - State environmental officials have reached an agreement with Los Alamos National Laboratory to expedite the cleanup of thousands of barrels of radioactive waste.

Environment Secretary David Martin told a special meeting of the lab's Citizens Advisory Board that it has agreed to have all the barrels currently stored above ground removed by June 30, 2014. Any newly generated waste will have to be removed by the end of 2014.

The toxic waste made national headlines this summer when a massive wildfire raged near the premier nuclear facility for more than a week, at one point lapping at the edges of lab property.

Associate environmental programs director Michael Graham says the fire made it clear the presence of the waste posed a "significant risk to the public."


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)