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World & Nation

EPA orders barrier for nuclear waste at Missouri landfill

Underground Fire Landfill

In this May 22, 2013, file photo crews works to contain odors from a slow-burning underground fire smoldering near a cache of nuclear waste at the Bridgeton Landfill in Bridgeton, Mo.

(Roland Klose / AP)

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is ordering installation of an isolation barrier to make sure an underground fire does not reach buried nuclear waste at a suburban St. Louis landfill site.

The EPA announced the decision Thursday to help mitigate concerns at West Lake Landfill in Bridgeton, Missouri.

EPA spokeswoman Angela Brees says the isolation barrier will consist of an underground wall. The material has yet to be determined.

Nuclear waste dating to the Manhattan Project was dumped at West Lake in 1973. Meanwhile, an underground fire smolders no more than 1,200 feet away at the adjoining Bridgeton Landfill. Both are owned by Republic Services.

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The work will be paid for by subsidiaries of Republic Services and Cotter Corp. A contractor working for Cotter illegally dumped the nuclear material.


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