Radiation leak leads to layoffs at Los Alamos


Associated Press

LOS ALAMOS – The Los Alamos contractor that packaged the radioactive waste linked to a leak at the government’s nuclear waste dump is laying off workers.

A Los Alamos spokesman Wednesday confirmed that Energy Solutions has reduced its workforce by 115 because its contract for packing the waste for shipment to the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in Carlsbad expired June 30. That is the date the lab was supposed to have thousands of barrels of contaminated waste off its northern New Mexico campus. But the final shipments were halted after the February leak that shuttered WIPP was traced to a barrel packed by Energy Solutions.

Scientists think a reaction in the waste was fueled by the inorganic cat litter that was packed in the barrel to absorb moisture. Investigators are looking at the process followed by Los Alamos and the contractor in switching from inorganic to organic litter.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press.

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