Workers switched out equipment regulating air currents in a facility where radioactive particles escaped in February, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reports.
The Energy Department said the move affected filtration gear in one of two systems intended to help ensure safety at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico, the newspaper reported on Saturday. A February radiation release spread contaminants to 22 workers and forced personnel to vacate underground portions of the complex. The cause remains under investigation.
“No one is more eager than we are to determine what happened and return to normal operations,” said Joe Franco, who heads the Energy Department’s office in the nearby town of Carlsbad.
“However, investigations by their very nature are difficult to place on a schedule. We are committed to sharing our findings, but we always want to verify that the information is complete and scientifically accurate before posting it on the website,” he added in a public statement.