Container problem spurs evacuation at nuclear waste site via Kristv

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – Workers had to evacuate the U.S. government’s only underground nuclear waste repository after finding a container of waste misaligned inside its packaging, but officials confirmed Friday that no radiation was released.
It marked another problem for the New Mexico facility where a drum of radioactive waste leaked in 2014 and shut down operations for nearly three years. The leak highlighted safety concerns and resulted in a costly recovery and sweeping changes in the way low-level nuclear waste destined for the dump is treated and handled.


In disposing the waste, seven 55-gallon drums are wrapped together in a tight formation to go deep inside the ancient salt formation where the repository is located. The idea is that the shifting salt will eventually entomb the waste.
Workers found one drum wasn’t aligned with the six others that made up the waste package. Work was immediately halted.


Shipments to the repository resumed in 2017 following the lengthy closure stemming from the container of waste that was improperly treated at Los Alamos National Laboratory, also in New Mexico.
The repository has been receiving several shipments a week of waste that includes gloves, clothing, tools and other debris contaminated by plutonium and other radioactive elements. The Cold War-era waste was generated over years of bomb-making and nuclear weapons research.
The shipments are coming from Los Alamos lab and installations in Idaho, Tennessee, South Carolina and Texas.

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