SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- Federal energy officials have named the four companies that will pursue the possibility of conducting a test to determine whether nuclear waste can be buried far underground.

The U.S. Department of Energy on Monday said the companies will explore potential sites for the test in South Dakota, Texas and New Mexico. Only one company will eventually carry out the field test.

Andy Griffith with the department's office of nuclear energy stressed during the announcement that the test won't involve nuclear waste. The agency also won't use any selected site for future actual storage or waste disposal.

Prospective sites in the Dakotas were abandoned after local opposition. Griffith says the agency is trying to overcome resistance by engaging with communities and emphasizing that nuclear waste won't be used in the project.