- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Energy has started the search for contractors that can provide transportation services for the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste repository.

The agency released its draft request for proposal on Wednesday.

It’s also planning a tour of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for those companies that are interested along with one-on-one sessions in the coming weeks.

The current contracts held by CAST Specialty Transportation Inc. and Visionary Solutions LLC will expire next year.

The contracts cover the operation of a local terminal and carrier services for hazardous and radioactive wastes from federal sites across the country to the repository in southeastern New Mexico.

A radiation leak forced the repository’s closure in 2014, but federal officials plan to resume some operations by the end of the year.

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