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State withdraws permit for expansion of nuke dump

Created: 03/22/2014 10:03 AM
By: The Associated Press

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico regulators have withdrawn a preliminary permit for an expansion of the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.

Citing recent back-to-back incidents that included a radiation release that contaminated 17 workers, the New Mexico Environment Department on Friday notified the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant that it has withdrawn a pending draft permit.

The plant is the nation's only permanent underground repository for low-level radioactive waste, including things such as plutonium-contaminated gloves, tools and protective clothing, from nuclear weapons facilities.

The plant near Carlsbad stopped taking all waste shipments after a Feb. 5 underground truck fire. Nine days later, a radiation release shuttered the plant. Officials have yet to get underground to figure out what caused the radiation release.

A series of shortcomings in maintenance safety training, emergency response and oversight were cited by a team that investigated the truck fire. It is unclear, however, if the fire and leak are related.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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