Another radiation release at N.M. nuclear waste dump?

Empty nuclear waste shipping containers sit in front of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., March 6, 2014. AP Photo

CARLSBAD, N.M. -- New air sampling data from southeastern New Mexico's troubled nuclear waste dump indicates there has been another small radiation release.

Department of Energy officials say a monitoring station picked up elevated radiation readings around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad on March 11. That's nearly a month after a Valentine's Day leak contaminated 17 workers and shut the only repository for toxic waste from the nation's nuclear bomb-building program.

Engineers say they believe the contamination is from previous deposits on the inner surface of exhaust ductwork.

Officials say occasional low-level releases are anticipated, but they should be well within safe limits.

The plant has been shuttered since early February. Shipments were halted after a truck hauling salt through the repository's tunnels caught fire. Nine days later, the plant's alarms were triggered by the radiation release.

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.