13 were exposed to radiation at New Mexico plant

Associated Press
FILE - The first load of nuclear waste arrives in this March 26, 1999 file photo, at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) site in Carlsbad, N.M., from Los Alamos National Labs. Officials monitoring the presence of airborne radiation at the underground site in southeastern New Mexico where the federal government seals away its low-grade nuclear waste said late Saturday Feb. 15, 2014 that surface tests have shown no danger to people or the environment. Samples were taken at several sites around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant after an air monitor detected radiation on the underground levels of the facility around 11:30 p.m. Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy said in a news release. (AP Photo/Thomas Herbert)
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The first load of nuclear waste arrives in this March 26, 1999 file photo, at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) site in Carlsbad, N.M., from Los Alamos National Labs. Officials monitoring the presence of airborne radiation at the underground site in southeastern New Mexico where the federal government seals away its low-grade nuclear waste said late Saturday Feb. 15, 2014 that surface tests have shown no danger to people or the environment. Samples were taken at several sites around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant after an air monitor detected radiation on the underground levels of the facility around 11:30 p.m. Friday, the U.S. Department of Energy said in a news release. (AP Photo/Thomas Herbert)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Officials say it is too soon to speculate about the health effects a radiation leak at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump might have on workers.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project Wednesday confirmed that 13 workers who were above ground the night of the leak have tested positive for radiation exposure. And they say more workers are being tested.

They say more tests are needed to determine the levels of exposure, and they emphasized that all readings at the site have been at very low levels.

Bu watchdog Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center says the fact the workers were exposed at all raises questions about whether the site's filtration system worked as well as officials have said.

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