U.S. Nuclear Waste Plant Evacuated Due to Fire
On Feb. 5, 2014, a fire that started on a vehicle carrying salt at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, forced the evacuation of all plant employees. Some of the employees were rushed to nearby hospitals and treated for smoke inhalation.
Firefighters responded to "an operational emergency" at the plant. This is used to dispose of radioactive waste left from making nuclear weapons.
According to a statement released by the US Department of Energy (DoE), all underground personnel were accounted for and safely evacuated. There was no waste in the vicinity of the fire.
After the fire was controlled and all employees were released from the hospital, officials worked on a safety plan for re-entry to the WIPP underground.
The re-entry plan required the approval of the US Mine Safety and Health Administration.
Sona Herrick, a spokesman for the site, stated that no contamination escaped as a result of the fire.