CNN, Feb. 17, 2014: Radiation alarm at New Mexico nuclear disposal plant [...] a first-of-its-kind response at a nuclear disposal facility outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico, an Energy Department spokesman told CNN. An air monitor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant detected the spike in an isolated area half a mile below the ground. The incident prompted an immediate shutoff of filtered air from the facility into the environment [...] “This is the first time we had to close off air filtered by the facility to the outside,” Energy Department spokesman Gregory Sahd told CNN. Investigators from the Department of Energy expect test results this week [...] Officials believe there is no danger to the community [...] the area officials believe was affected has been closed off. “We’re pretty sure we know where it’s at.”
Reuters, Feb. 16, 2014: [The alarm indicated] unsafe concentrations of radiation [...] DOE officials said appeared to be the first such mishap since the facility opened in 1999. [...] the source of the high radiation readings had yet to be determined, and a plan to send inspection teams below ground to investigate was put on hold as a precaution. [...] “They will not go in today. It’s a safety thing more than anything. We’re waiting until we get other assessments done before we authorize re-entry,” DOE spokesman Bill Mackie said. [...] Just a few dozen essential personnel, including security officers, remained at the site over the weekend. [...] “We’re in shutdown mode,” Mackie said.
AFP, Feb. 17, 2014: Investigators have not yet identified the source of the radiation [...] Earlier this month, an underground blaze prompted the evacuation of a different part of the site [...]
The Mirror, Feb. 16, 2014: Worrying: A possible radiation leak has taken place at a underground military nuclear waste site — Officials in the US say unusually high levels of radioactive particles were found at the site in New Mexico [...] It was not yet clear what caused the air-monitoring system to indicate that radioactive particles were present at unsafe levels. [...]
Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 17, 2014: [Energy Department spokesman Roger] Nelson said the cause of the leak was not yet known. [...] No one has been underground, and Nelson said he didn’t know when that would happen. [...] WIPP, the nation’s first and only deep geological nuclear waste repository, takes plutonium-contaminated waste [...]
Published: February 17th, 2014 at 2:13 pm ET