States Neww Service

Tuesday June 22 6:26 AM ET

State Blasts DOE Over Contamination

(NEW MEXICO) -- State officials want to know why radioactive contamination was found on the outside of a waste container on a truck that arrived at the WIPP site near Carlsbad. They also want to know why it took six days... and the discovery of the incident by an anti-WIPP activist... for Department of Energy officials to inform the state about the problem. Chris Wentz, Coordinator of the state Radioactive Waste Task Force, says it's disconcerting that DOE failed to release information about the contamination ``immediately.'' DOE officials in Carlsbad said yesterday that only a ``minute amount'' of radiation that posed NO health risk was detected on the outside of a waste container that arrived at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. DOE spokesman Dennis Hurtt blames the contamination on naturally occurring radon gas, which he claims is common in the mountains of Colorado.