Report released on WIPP radiation leak

Posted at: 04/24/2014 11:31 AM
Updated at: 04/24/2014 1:11 PM
By: Elizabeth Reed,

Photo: WIPP

The U.S. Department of Energy on Thursday released a 300-page report on the radiation leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.

View: WIPP Report

The report blames management failure to fully understand, characterize and control the hazard and inadequacies in the ventilation system design as causal factors in the incident.

The report also identifies ineffective maintenance and a lack of proper oversight as contributing factors.

Investigators are still trying to find the source of the leak, which was first reported on Feb. 14. They believe it came from the breach of at least one underground waste container, according to the report. 

Twenty-one workers tested positive for low-levels of radiation after the incident.

According to the DOE, WIPP has already begun implementing corrective actions to address many of the issues raised in the report. These include enhanced work planning, nuclear safety controls, deploying experienced supplemental contractor and federal staff to assist and implementing additional senior contractor and federal oversight.

A formal corrective action process will also be implemented to ensure that all of the issues raised in the report are addressed.