New Mexico and the U.S. Department of Energy inked $74 million in settlements over dozens of permit violations stemming from a radiation leak that forced the closure of the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository. The settlements are the largest ever negotiated between a state and the Energy Department and come after months of negotiations. The agreements were first outlined last spring, but their signing was delayed by disagreements over some of the details. The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico has been closed since February 2014, when a container of waste burst and released radiation in the underground facility. Twenty-two workers were exposed, and monitors at the surface recorded low levels of radiological contamination, but officials said nearby communities were not at risk. Investigators determined that the container had been improperly packed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and experts have said the incident could have been avoided.
Fox News 22nd Jan 2016 read more »