A new federal probe may lead to steep penalties for the operator of a nuclear-waste dump where contaminants escaped, the Santa Fe New Mexican reports.
One issue expert said the Energy Department Enforcement Office inquiry into potential procedural breaches at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant “could have implications for the entire contract” held by Nuclear Waste Partnership, the newspaper reported on Tuesday. The firm — a limited liability company formed by Areva, Babcock & Wilcox and URS — manages the site for roughly $130 million each year.
“The penalty can be from zero up to some dollar penalties up to ultimately losing the contract,” said Don Hancock, head of the Southwest Research and Information Center in Albuquerque. “This investigation is not going to make that determination, but it can play into some of that determination.”
The federal agency informed the firm about the planned probe last week, roughly four months after a vehicle at the site caught fire and a radiation release forced ordinary work at the repository to cease.
“It could be a very big deal, because in my view the investigation should be asking some really hard questions,” Hancock added.
New Mexico’s state government cannot issue fines larger than $10,000 for each day of an environmental breach, but federal authorities have no such limit, according to the New Mexican.
According to Energy Department spokesman Ben Williams, “WIPP’s federal and contractor workforce will continue the highest level of cooperation and openness to help the Office of Enforcement collect all of the information necessary to complete its investigation.”
What We're Following See More »
"Like Donald Trump himself, the Trump campaign’s new national finance chairman has a long history of contributing to Democrats—including Hillary Clinton. Private investor Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s new campaign fundraising guru, has contributed more than $120,000" to candidates since 1995, about half of which has gone to Democrats.
Paul Ryan told CNN today he's "not ready" to back Donald Trump at this time. "I'm not there right now," he said. Ryan said Trump needs to unify "all wings of the Republican Party and the conservative movement" and then run a campaign that will allow Americans to "have something that they're proud to support and proud to be a part of. And we've got a ways to go from here to there."
The Daily Beast has unearthed a piece that Donald Trump wrote for Gear magazine in 2000, which anticipates his 2016 sales pitch quite well. "Perhaps it's time for a dealmaker who can get the leaders of Congress to the table, forge consensus, and strike compromise," he writes. Oddly, he opens by defending his reputation as a womanizer: "The hypocrites argue that a man who loves and appreciates beautiful women (and does so legally and openly) shouldn't become a national leader? Is there something wrong with appreciating beautiful women? Don't we want people in public office who show signs of life?"