The state of New Mexico slammed the U.S. Department of Energy with penalties totaling more than $54 million for a number of violations that resulted in the indefinite closure of the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository, according to an Associated Press report Saturday. The penalties stem from an investigation into an accident involving a rupture of a canister from Los Alamos National Laboratory in one of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant's storage rooms in February. The state Environment Department outlined more than 30 state permit violations at the WIPP and at Los Alamos. The state accused Los Alamos of mixing incompatible waste, treating hazardous waste without a permit and failing to notify regulators about changes in the way waste was being handled.
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