New checks turned up no escaped radioactive particles in a U.S. waste-burial site placed off limits because of a leak last month, the Associated Press reports.
Still, site administrators left open the possibility that escaped radioactive materials were lingering elsewhere in the underground storage area of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
Workers used air- and salt-transfer tunnels to place radiation scanners in portions of the New Mexico facility on Friday and Saturday, and the detection gear was “not in the airflow path coming from the area where the radiation release originated,” according to a joint press release by the Energy Department and the Nuclear Waste Partnership, the storage site’s managing contractor.
Overseers barred personnel from entering the subterranean complex following the detection of escaped contaminants inside the facility in February. Trace amounts of radioactive particles also turned up above the surface at the site, located roughly two dozen miles from the town of Carlsbad.
A team of specialists could descend into the storage area later this week to ensure its corridors are not in danger of collapsing, and to attempt to track down the origin of the radiation leak, the officials said. Upon locating the point where contaminants were escaping, the personnel would seal it off and execute a strategy to transfer it out, according to the Sunday statement.
Separately, administrators said they had found evidence of radiation exposure in four additional personnel, raising the total number of affected workers to 17.
“The levels of exposure are extremely low, and none of the employees is expected to experience any health effects from the exposures,” the statement says.
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President Obama commuted the sentences of another 98 drug offenders on Thursday. Most of the convicts were charged with conspiracy to distribute drugs or possession with intent to distribute. Many of the sentences were commuted to expire next year, but some will run longer. Others are required to enroll in residential drug treatment as a condition of their release.
The Department of Justice announced today it's charged "61 individuals and entities for their alleged involvement in a transnational criminal organization that has victimized tens of thousands of persons in the United States through fraudulent schemes that have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. In connection with the scheme, 20 individuals were arrested today in the United States and 32 individuals and five call centers in India were charged for their alleged involvement. An additional U.S.-based defendant is currently in the custody of immigration authorities."
Evan McMullin, the independent conservative candidate who may win his home state of Utah, is quietly planning to turn his candidacy into a broader movement for principled conservatism. He tells BuzzFeed he's "skeptical" that the Republican party can reform itself "within a generation" and that the party's internal "disease" can't be cured via "the existing infrastructure.” The ex-CIA employee and Capitol Hill staffer says, “I have seen and worked with a lot of very courageous people in my time [but] I have seen a remarkable display of cowardice over the last couple of months in our leaders.” McMullin's team has assembled organizations in the 11 states where he's on the ballot, and adviser Rick Wilson says "there’s actually a very vibrant market for our message in the urban northeast and in parts of the south."