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Workers prepare return to New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

Updated: 03/22/2014 3:56 PM | Created: 03/22/2014 3:54 PM
By: Associated Press

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - Employees at the federal government's troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico are preparing to enter the facility's underground mine for the first time since a radiation leak contaminated workers last month.           

The U.S. Department of Energy said Saturday that 35 workers have undergone training simulations at a Potash mine before re-entry next week into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).           

Officials say employees went through a two-hour underground session using protective gear and air-breathing units.           

They say the training is preparing them for various scenarios that could occur in the mine.

The repository near Carlsbad stopped taking all waste shipments after an underground truck fire on Feb. 5. Nine days later, a radiation release shuttered the plant.

The state withdrew a preliminary permit this week for WIPP's request to expand its facility.

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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Photo: US Dept. of Energy

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