Citing recent back-to-back incidents that included a radiation release that contaminated 17 workers, the New Mexico Environment Department Friday notified the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant that it has withdrawn a pending draft permit.
Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn says the state cannot move forward on WIPP's request to open additional underground storage rooms for radioactive waste from the nation's nuclear weapons program until more information is known about the recent events.
The repository near Carlsbad stopped taking all waste shipments following a Feb. 5 underground truck fire. Nine days later, a radiation release shuttered the plant. Officials have yet to get underground to figure out what caused the radiation release. Safety lapses were cited for the truck fire.