April 30, 2015

Udall Statement on Energy Department Settlement with NM for WIPP Radiation Release

WASHINGTON - Today, U.S. Senator Tom Udall welcomed the $73 million settlement between the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the state of New Mexico. Investigations by DOE and the state have found that numerous violations at Los Alamos National Laboratory led to the radiation release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) that put at risk the health of workers and the nearby community. Udall released the following statement:

"New Mexicans are rightly disturbed by the violations at Los Alamos and WIPP, which led to the radiation release and put New Mexicans at risk, and I am relieved to see the department commit to paying a significant financial penalty to the state of New Mexico. I have strongly encouraged Secretary Moniz on several occasions to reach an agreeable resolution with the state because a lengthy court battle would waste time and money and delay compensation for New Mexicans. These funds will help improve road safety and water quality in Los Alamos and Southeastern New Mexico, and I am particularly glad to see that DOE will also fund ongoing independent review of environmental and regulatory compliance as part of this settlement. I will keep fighting for the safe reopening of WIPP on the Senate Appropriations Committee, along with continuing oversight of LANL cleanup, which is now even further behind schedule."