Report cites ‘lack of rigor’ in WIPP safety protocols

March 15, 2014 • Local News

Specially-trained workers make unmanned tests inside a nuclear waste dump in Carlsbad on March 7. (AP Photo)

A report released Friday by the U.S. Department of Energy states a “lack of rigor” in safety training, emergency response and a lack of oversight contributed to the Feb. 5 truck fire at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad — the first of two back-to-back accidents that included a Feb. 14 radiation leak that affected 17 employees and shut the facility down.

New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich called the report “deeply concerning.”

“Fortunately, no one was hurt,” the Democrats said in a joint statement. “The community of Carlsbad and the nation expect WIPP to operate with the highest level of safety. The board has identified a number of serious safety concerns that will need to be fully addressed. We believe all levels of management at the Department of Energy and at WIPP must take the recommendations from the board very seriously and fully implement them. “

The truck blaze apparently was ignited by a buildup of oil and other combustible materials that should have been regularly cleaned off the vehicle, Login to read more

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