Residents frustrated at lack of WIPP information

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By Associated Press


 CARLSBAD  (AP) — It’s been three weeks since the radiation sensors were triggered and the exhaust dampers at the federal government’s only underground nuclear waste dump slammed shut, putting the repository’s massive salt caverns off-limits and the nation’s cleanup efforts on hold.

The U.S. Department of Energy says low levels of radiation made it past the ventilation system’s air filters and exposed 13 workers. Agency officials describe the amount as minuscule, saying the workers aren’t likely to face any serious effects and there’s no public health threat.

But residents and officials voiced frustration at a town hall Thursday night, saying the DOE and managers at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant are leaving them in the dark about what’s happening at the repository.

“Nobody knows what the plans look like. Nobody knows what the agenda looks like. We just hear a lot of surmises about what might happen and what might not happen,” John Heaton, a former state representative and head of Mayor Dale Janway’s nuclear task force, told a panel of officials at the town hall.

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