New Mexico nuclear radiation probe

2014-02-20 21:31


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Carlsbad - The US Department of Energy has appointed a team to investigate the detection of radiation in and near a southeastern New Mexico facility that is America's only underground nuclear waste repository.

The assessment of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will be conducted by an accident investigation board consisting of department officials and representatives of health and safety agencies, the department said in a statement released late on Wednesday.

The board will be assisted by experts in fields such as fire protection, ventilation, and mine safety, the department said.

An underground monitor at the plant near Carlsbad detected airborne radiation late on Friday night, and an independent monitor centre said on Wednesday it found radioactive isotopes in an air sensor a kilometre from the plant.

A filter from a monitor northwest of the plant had trace amounts of americium and plutonium, said Russell Hardy, director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Centre, an arm of New Mexico State University.

The detected levels are highest ever detected at or around the site but also far below those deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency, Hardy said.

The department said it is developing a plan for personnel to re-enter the plant and that shipments to the plant have been suspended. However, no shipments were scheduled from 14 February through 10 March because of annual maintenance work, the department said.

WIPP is the nation's first and only operating deep geological nuclear repository. It takes plutonium-contaminated waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory and other defence projects, and buries it in rooms cut from underground salt beds.

The plant began operations in 1999.

Read more on:    us  |  environment  |  nuclear

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.