April 24, 2014

Udall, Heinrich Statement on Department of Energy WIPP Radiological Release Investigation Report

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich today issued the following statement on the release of the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management initial accident investigation report related to the February 14 radiological release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico. The senators urge WIPP and DOE officials to fully implement all necessary corrective actions before restarting operations.

"The report on the response to the radiation release at WIPP includes many of the same deeply troubling findings as the report after the fire, including concerns about a lack of oversight and an erosion of the safety culture. WIPP is our nation's only deep geological repository for transuranic waste and must be held to the highest standards. The workers and the surrounding community demand that level of attention, and anything less is unacceptable. As we move forward to clean up and reopen WIPP, we -- and the community of Carlsbad -- expect that all levels of management at the Department of Energy and at WIPP will take all necessary corrective action to ensure key safety management programs are in place and reinstate a culture in which safety is the top priority."