CARLSBAD, NEW MEXICO
New tests reveal low-levels of radiation in the air after a leak at a southern New Mexico nuclear waste disposal facility, leaving residents on high alert.
The leak of radioactive material happened earlier this month at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, where waste from defense research and nuclear weapons is disposed of underground.
Carlsbad city leaders hosted a community meeting tonight with representatives from the U.S. Department of Energy contractors who run the facility.
More than 200 people attended tonight’s meeting expressing everything from outrage and confusion to calm understanding of the leak at the government-sponsored nuclear disposal site.
The site is located just an hour or so away from the Texas state line.
Federal officials from the U.S. Department of Energy say the newest air quality test results show low-levels of radiation in the air after a leak from underground.
They stressed that “no one that they know of” was exposed to the radiation, which was detected by air quality monitors and is smaller in amount than what you might be exposed to with an X-Ray. But some residents were still upset.
“We’re waiting on all these tests and we’re waiting on results, well how can you give us concrete answers at all if you’re not giving us anything, any samples at all for weeks and weeks,” said Leah Hunt, a concerned Carlsbad resident.
“I’d say it’s nothing to worry about, that they’re on top of it and I believe that,” said Rick Galloway, a Carlsbad resident.
“The facility is safe, we continue to monitor and our numbers are showing up that a lot of it is non-detectable,” said Project Manager for the Facility Farok Sharif, who is a Department of Energy contractor.
No soil tests have yet been taken and the air samples are still being sent for lab testing.
Those with the disposal site say an investigation is ongoing to determine how the leak happened, which will require going down into the disposal area underground.
CBS 7 News