Report: Nuke dump fire preventable

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Associated Press

Posted on March 13, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Updated Thursday, Mar 13 at 10:01 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The truck that caught fire a half mile underground at a southeastern New Mexico nuclear waste dump was 29 years old, improperly maintained and operating without an automatic fire-suppression system.

Those are some of the conclusions of a report to be released Friday into the accident last month at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) near Carlsbad.

The report also will detail a number of deficiencies in emergency training and responses to recent back-to-back incidents at WIPP.

A U.S. Department of Energy official previewed the findings Thursday evening at a community meeting, saying the fire was preventable.

An investigation of a radiation release nine days later that contaminated 17 workers is expected in a few weeks.

Also Thursday, the contractor that runs the site said Farok Sharif has been replaced by Bob McQuinn as president and project manager at WIPP.

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