New Mexico site leaks radiation

AFP-JIJI

U.S. investigators were taking samples Sunday at a New Mexico underground nuclear waste site where airborne radiation was detected, though authorities stressed they had found no contamination.

Officials monitoring the possible radiation leak said there was no danger to people or the environment at the Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the nation’s first repository to seal away radioactive waste, mostly plutonium, used for defense research and the production of nuclear weapons.

The waste is dumped 2,150 feet (655 meters) underground in disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation.

No employees were underground when the continuous air monitor at WIPP near Carlsbad detected underground radiation at 11:30 p.m. Friday, an agency statement said.