WIPP radiation leak has residents concerned

Posted at: 02/25/2014 10:37 PM
Updated at: 02/26/2014 7:55 AM
By: Chris Ramirez, KOB Eyewitness News 4

The government says there wasn't enough radiation leaked last week at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to be harmful.

But some claim that's a lie, and they believe the jet stream is going to push the radiation far and wide.

People living in and around Carlsbad are especially concerned, and it's difficult to not be.

There's a lot riding on all of the safeguards at WIPP to work.

The concern in Carlsbad is everywhere. Monday night the mayor called a town meeting at the local conference center to take questions from the community.

200 people showed.

Town leaders have tried easing fears.

"My concern is: Is it safe, for me and my children, and of course the answer to that is yes," Robert Defer of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce said.

A New Mexico State University study corroborates what the Department of Energy has released.  Low levels of radiation were found half a mile from WIPP, but no further.   Carlsbad is 26 miles away.

 The Department of Energy is doing its best to try to assure people here that the radioactivity levels are not harmful.

In fact, they say that a chest x-ray that you would get with your doctor is ten times stronger than the levels they are seeing out of WIPP. Scientists have pledged to continue monitoring and look for any other abnormal activity in the area.