Dec 6, 2014 10:54 AM by News Staff
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Energy faces more than $54 million in fines for violations that stem from mishaps at the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository.
The New Mexico Environment Department delivered a pair of compliance orders to Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on Saturday, marking the state's largest penalty ever imposed on the agency.
Together, the orders outline more than 30 state permit violations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico and at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
On. Feb. 5, a truck hauling salt at WIPP caught fire. Nine days later, a canister of waste from Los Alamos leaked in one of the repository's storage rooms, contaminating 22 workers and forcing the facility's indefinite closure.
Resuming full operations at WIPP could take years. The cleanup is expected to cost around a half-billion dollars.
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