Fire Prompts Evacuation of Nuclear Repository

Feb 6, 2014

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Authorities say six people have been released from the hospital after being treated for smoke inhalation after a truck caught fire in the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico.

Officials say a truck hauling salt caught fire in the north mine about 11 a.m. yesterday at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M.

Emergency officials say they are unsure what sparked the blaze, but all employees were evacuated and none of the radioactive waste has been impacted. All operations at the site have been suspended indefinitely.

Authorities say six people were treated for smoke inhalation, but all have been released.

WIPP is the nation's first and only deep geological nuclear repository. It takes plutonium-contaminated waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory and defense projects and buries it in rooms cut from underground salt beds.