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Defense Waste Management Programs provides scientific analyses and programmatic advice to the U.S. Department of Energy in support of defense waste management challenges. Defense waste encompasses radioactive and hazardous materials designated as waste by-products during the manufacture and deployment of weapons, in particular, nuclear weapons. Defense waste is unique in that all current management strategies require disposal; the waste is not considered a potential resource for future generations.
A large part of the scope for this organization is its support of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)—the world’s only licensed and operating deep geologic repository for transuranic nuclear waste disposal. The program supports activities including modifications to the repository’s operating permits, periodic recertifications of the repository, and on-going monitoring of the repository performance against regulatory requirements. Building on a thirty-five year history with WIPP Defense Waste Management Programs is now engaged in shaping technical solutions to national nuclear waste management challenges that go well beyond disposal of transuranic waste.