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Buried 2,200 feet below the surface, the Department of Energy has created the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP as it's known. It is the nation's first underground nuclear waste dump, a $2.5 billion repository for old tools, equipment, clothing, and rags contaminated by plutonium at federal defense facilities.
Helping the Local Economy
What's surprising is that it's enormously popular here. Mayor Bob Forrest says the facility "enjoys a 95 percent approval rating in Carlsbad."
Jobs are the reason. WIPP employs nearly 1,000 people. When local potash fertilizer plants began going out of business, WIPP stepped in and offered high-paying jobs complete with benefits.
The study looked at all causes of death. Only the causes of death listed below were significantly above normal. The results for all other causes of death were within the normal range.