A February radiation leak will force tighter precautions at a nuclear-waste burial ground in New Mexico, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
Employees at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will be expected “to wear protective equipment — coveralls, shoe covers and gloves — to make sure contamination doesn’t get on us and respirators so it doesn’t get in us,” Bob McQuinn, the head of the facility’s managing contractor, told the Journal for a Tuesday report.
Workers stopped entering the plant’s subterranean section after warning systems identified escaped contaminants on Feb. 14. Since the incident, signs of radiation exposure have turned up in at least 21 employees.
The exact source of the leak still remains unclear. The Obama administration, though, has indicated that the facility would ultimately begin receiving new waste from U.S. atomic laboratories, according to the Journal.
“The place that really has had no radiation protection issues now has, not more than the rest of the sites, but similar radiation protection hazards,” said McQuinn, president and project manager of Nuclear Waste Partnership.
“The formality of what we do is going to have to be strengthened,” McQuinn added. “Although there was training, we weren’t as good at formality of operations as we need to be.”
Facility workers this week received training to potentially use robotic equipment during restoration efforts at the storage site, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported on Tuesday. The equipment came from Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, which are both also located in New Mexico.
The Energy Department since Sunday has sent specialists to Carlsbad, N.M., to prepare employees to install new filtration gear at the waste storage facility. The visiting crews came from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
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President Trump today said he'll be releasing his tax reformpacakge next week around the 100-day mark of his presidency. He promised that "businesses and individuals will receive a 'massive tax cut ... bigger I believe than any tax cut ever."
Despite President Trump's announcement that his tax reform proposal would be released this week, Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney now says it will be ready in June. This week's announcement will be limited to "specific governing principles."
Donald Trump is expected Monday to sign an executive order which will mark his administration's first action on offshore oil and gas drilling. The order is expected to call for a "review of the locations available for offshore oil and gas exploration and of certain regulations governing offshore oil and gas exploration."
Vice President Mike Pence has cut his Asia trip short "to race back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, an aide said on Sunday." Pence will return to Washington on Tuesday morning instead of Wednesday. Trump has a busy week ahead, as he plans to roll out a tax reform on framework, sign a number of executive orders, and works to keep the government open past Friday.