Policy: Environment & Energy

Report: Nuke dump fire preventable

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Photo - In this March 7, 2014 photo released the U.S. Department of Energy, specially-trained workers make unmanned tests inside a nuclear waste dump in Carlsbad, N.M. They are finalizing plans to enter the nation's only underground nuclear waste dump after two separate incidents forced its closure weeks ago, including a leak that exposed more than a dozen workers to low levels of radiation. Officials with the DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant say initial testing shows there's no contamination at an air intake shaft that leads into the mine or at the bottom of the mine's salt shaft. (AP Photo/Department of Energy)
In this March 7, 2014 photo released the U.S. Department of Energy, specially-trained workers make unmanned tests inside a nuclear waste dump in Carlsbad, N.M. They are finalizing plans to enter the nation's only underground nuclear waste dump after two separate incidents forced its closure weeks ago, including a leak that exposed more than a dozen workers to low levels of radiation. Officials with the DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant say initial testing shows there's no contamination at an air intake shaft that leads into the mine or at the bottom of the mine's salt shaft. (AP Photo/Department of Energy)
News,Business,Energy and Environment,Nuclear Waste

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Federal investigators have uncovered a series of shortcomings in training, emergency response and oversight at the troubled southeastern New Mexico nuclear waste dump where a truck caught fire and 17 workers were recently contaminated by a radiation leak.

A report released Friday on the investigation into the first of back-to-back accidents at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant says a Feb. 5 truck blaze apparently was ignited by a buildup of oil and other combustible materials that should have been regularly cleaned off the vehicle.

The report also identified problems with safety culture at the plant near Carlsbad, and said a series of repeat deficiencies that have been identified by an independent oversight board had gone unresolved.

New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich called the report "deeply disturbing."

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