CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Department of Energy officials say radiation levels detected in and around the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository are consistent with a leak at the southeastern New Mexico facility.
Carlsbad field office manager Jose Franco said Thursday that readings from sensors above and below ground indicate the radiation is coming from waste stored at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. But officials won't know what caused the leak until they can get underground to investigate. That could be weeks.
On Saturday, the DOE announced an underground monitor detected airborne radiation. On Wednesday, an independent monitoring center said it also found evidence of an above ground escape.
Franco says it is the first such release from the plant since it opened 15 years ago. He also said the levels are still well below those deemed unsafe.