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WEST VALLEY -- The West Valley Demonstration Project broke ground Tuesday on a $31 million building that will prepare and package nuclear waste for off-site disposal.

The new building, which will employ new technology that is expected to be used at other nuclear waste sites, represents the largest building project at the former nuclear fuel-reprocessing center since 1995.

Inside the new building, containers and other radioactive equipment used in both the original reprocessing operation and the subsequent cleanup will be cut up for easier packaging and shipping.

"This initiative will allow the project to move into its next phase," said Alice Williams, director of the operation for the U.S. Department of Energy. "It's the cornerstone of future cleanup objectives here at the site."

Officials said it would create or retain 200 jobs. Butler Construction of Springville is the general contractor.

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