Workers to Enter NM Nuclear Waste Plant for First Time Since February

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-04_d3464cd24e.jpgiStockphoto/Thinkstock (CARLSBAD, N.M.) -- Workers will enter a nuclear waste dump on Tuesday for the first time since a Feb. 14 radiation leak. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was shut down after the February radiation leak. Two weeks ago, tests showed that additional radiation had been released into the air on March 11. The plant has been in operation for 15 years and allows for the permanent disposal of nuclear waste in salt mines over 2,000 feet below the earth's surface.

In February, prior to the initial radiation leak, the plant had suffered a vehicle fire in the underground mines.

Eight workers, trained in radiological control, mine operations and mine rescue will enter the mine on Tuesday to establish a base of operations, conduct radiation testing and check for contamination. A second group of eight workers are expected to enter the underground later on if the first team does not find evidence of contamination.

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