Radiation detected near New Mexico nuke site

February 19, 2014

Scientists who monitor the nation's only underground nuclear waste repository say they have detected radiation in the air a half-mile from the site.

Russell Hardy, director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center, said Wednesday a monitor near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico has detected trace amounts of the radioactive isotopes americium and plutonium.

He says the levels are the highest ever detected at or around the site but are far below those deemed unsafe by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The readings came after a alert over the weekend from an underground sensor at the site.

Hardy says readings will be completed next week on filters collected from that underground sensor and an air monitor closer to the plant.

Explore further: Radiation leak detected at New Mexico nuclear plant

Related Stories

US detects 'minuscule' radioactivity from Japan

March 18, 2011

A radiation monitor in California detected a "minuscule" amount of an isotope from Japan's crippled nuclear power plant, officials said Friday, but insisted it was of no concern.

N-test legacy in stratosphere bigger than thought

January 7, 2014

Levels of radioactive plutonium in Earth's stratosphere from nuclear tests and accidents is higher than previously thought, but probably not dangerous to humans, scientists in Switzerland said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Arctic wintertime sea ice extent is among lowest on record

March 23, 2018

Sea ice in the Arctic grew to its annual maximum extent last week, and joined 2015, 2016 and 2017 as the four lowest maximum extents on record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center ...

Germany was covered by glaciers 450,000 years ago

March 23, 2018

The timing of the Middle Pleistocene glacial-interglacial cycles and the feedback mechanisms between climatic shifts and earth-surface processes are still poorly understood. This is largely due to the fact that chronological ...

Wood pellets: Renewable, but not carbon neutral

March 22, 2018

A return to firewood is bad for forests and the climate. So reports William Schlesinger, President Emeritus of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, in an Insights article published today in the journal Science.

The tradeoffs inherent in earthquake early warning systems

March 22, 2018

A team of researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey and the California Institute of Technology has found that modern earthquake early warning (EEW) systems require those interpreting their messages to take into consideration ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.