Radiation-Leak Investigators Shift Sights to Los Alamos Lab

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
June 27, 2014, 9:29 a.m.

Los Alam­os Na­tion­al Labor­at­ory is now at the cen­ter of a fed­er­al in­quiry in­to a leak at a New Mex­ico nuc­le­ar-waste fa­cil­ity, the As­so­ci­ated Press re­ports.

En­ergy De­part­ment ac­ci­dent in­vest­ig­at­ors have been work­ing at Los Alam­os for roughly three weeks in con­nec­tion with the Feb­ru­ary ra­di­ation leak at the Waste Isol­a­tion Pi­lot Plant, a state en­vir­on­ment of­fi­cial said in com­ments quoted by AP on Thursday. A con­tain­er from the nuc­le­ar-weapons labor­at­ory rup­tured in the un­der­ground re­pos­it­ory in Feb­ru­ary, spread­ing con­tam­in­ants to 22 work­ers and for­cing per­son­nel out of much of the site.

The En­ergy De­part­ment probe was one of nine look­ing in­to the ra­di­ation re­lease, said Jeff Kend­all, gen­er­al coun­sel for the New Mex­ico En­vir­on­ment De­part­ment.

He said the waste fa­cil­ity near Carls­bad and the Los Alam­os labor­at­ory each face a high like­li­hood of re­ceiv­ing pen­al­ties tied to the in­cid­ent as new de­tails be­come avail­able. Los Alam­os may have sent more than 350 rup­ture-prone waste drums to the waste com­plex, and over 100 ad­di­tion­al prob­lem­at­ic con­tain­ers to a com­mer­cial stor­age site in An­drews, Texas.

Kend­all ad­ded that the En­ergy De­part­ment would in­form New Mex­ico next month of “how the re­cov­ery plan is work­ing,” as well as “dead­lines, dates and timelines” for scrub­bing the site of er­rant ra­dio­act­ive particles and re­sum­ing op­er­a­tions there.

It re­mains un­clear when the waste fa­cil­ity may re­open. One Justice De­part­ment of­fi­cial, though, down­played the pos­sib­il­ity of the site re­main­ing per­man­ently closed.

“I don’t fore­see that. Nobody is con­tem­plat­ing a clos­ure of WIPP,” said Eileen Mc­Donough, a fed­er­al at­tor­ney rep­res­ent­ing the En­ergy De­part­ment.

What We're Following See More »
TIME TO SPLIT
House Passes CR, Sends Bill to President’s Desk
3 hours ago
THE LATEST
CAN’T NAME ONE WORLD LEADER
Gary Johnson Stumbles Again
4 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
GOES TO PRESIDENT
Senate Approves Bill to Preserve Rape Kits
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

"The Senate on Wednesday approved legislation ensuring sexual assault survivors in federal criminal cases have access to forensic evidence collection kits, sending the bill to President Obama's desk. The legislation, known as the Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act, was passed by unanimous consent as lawmakers prepare to leave Washington until after the election. The House passed the measure earlier this month."

Source:
2-MONTH GIG OR 8-YEAR GIG?
Alec Baldwin to Play Trump on ‘SNL’
6 hours ago
THE DETAILS
STRIKES DOWN NEW HAMPSHIRE BAN
Court: Selfies in Voting Booth Now OK
8 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
×