The Department of Energy says preliminary tests indicate 13 workers were exposed to radiation during a recent leak at the nation’s underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico.
The DOE said in a news release Wednesday that it has notified the workers of the positive results and will do further testing. They declined to comment further on the extent of the possible exposure until a news conference Thursday afternoon.
Officials say all employees who were working at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad the night of Feb. 14 were checked for external contamination before being allowed to leave. But biological samples were also taken to check for possible exposure from inhaling radioactive particles.
Elevated radiation levels have also been detected in the air around the plant, but officials say there is no public health threat.