The New Mexico Environment Department has approved the startup of a new radioactive waste panel at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in the state. "We're very pleased by the NMED documentation review and its timely approval of Panel 7 for use," said Joe Franco, manager of the Department of Energy's Carlsbad field office. The panel -- 13 feet high, 33 feet wide and 300 feet long -- may come on line this month. It will close over deposited waste at 3 to 6 inches per year.

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