Report: Nuke dump fire in New Mexico was preventable; safety deficiencies identified

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Federal investigators have uncovered a series of shortcomings in training, emergency response and oversight at the troubled southeastern New Mexico nuclear waste dump where a truck caught fire and 17 workers were recently contaminated by a radiation leak.

A report released Friday on the investigation into the first of back-to-back accidents at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant says a Feb. 5 truck blaze apparently was ignited by a buildup of oil and other combustible materials that should have been regularly cleaned off the vehicle.

The report also identified problems with safety culture at the plant near Carlsbad, and said a series of repeat deficiencies that have been identified by an independent oversight board had gone unresolved.

New Mexico Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich called the report “deeply concerning.”

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