As reported by Ralph Vartabedian in the Los Angeles Times, regarding the Valentine's Day, 2014 radioactivity release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP):
The early federal statements gave no hint that the blast had caused massive long-term damage to the dump, a facility crucial to the nuclear weapons cleanup program that spans the nation, or that it would jeopardize the Energy Department’s credibility in dealing with the tricky problem of radioactive waste.
But the explosion ranks among the costliest nuclear accidents in U.S. history, according to a Times analysis. The long-term cost of the mishap could top $2 billion, an amount roughly in the range of the cleanup after the 1979 partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant in Pennsylvania.
Many months ago, the L.A. Times reported that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) had estimated the recovery costs for the WIPP barrel burst would be $500 million. The paper editorialized that the price tag could easily surpass a billion dollars, which it now reports has been clearly established.
The article quotes Don Hancock of Southwest Research and Information Center (SRIC):
“There is no question the Energy Department has downplayed the significance of the accident,” said Don Hancock, who monitors the dump for the watchdog group Southwest Research and Information Center.
...Hancock suggested that the dump might never resume full operations.
“The facility was never designed to operate in a contaminated state,” he said. “It was supposed to open clean and stay clean, but now it will have to operate dirty. Nobody at the Energy Department wants to consider the potential that it isn't fixable.”