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Thursday
Feb272014

Energy Officials, Lawmakers Probe Radioactive Leak in New Mexico

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Lawmakers are getting involved in the investigation into a radioactive leak detected two weeks ago at the country's only nuclear waste facility, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico.

Officials at the Department of Energy are now calling the leak a serious problem that has not yet been solved.

Since the leak was detected, 13 workers at the plant outside Carlsbad, N.M., have tested positive for radiation exposure. That number could rise as more workers are being tested. Officials say it's too soon to speculate on the effects the exposure could cause.

U.S. Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., in a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, asked for an assessment of the amount of radiation released in the atmosphere near the underground nuclear waste site. The senators also asked for mobile environmental monitoring units to be deployed in the area.

The Department of Energy is coordinating the response, and some independent agencies are helping to monitor the area for additional radiation.

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