States Neww Service

DOE Revises Radiation Explanation

Thursday June 24 6:15 AM ET

(NEW MEXICO) -- DOE officials have revised their explanation of how a minute amount of radioactive contamination got on the outside of a nuclear waste container that was sent to WIPP. DOE officials no longer believe that a spot of radiation that showed up last Wednesday was polonium-210... a radioactive element that's a decay product of naturally occurring radon gas. But DOE officials still maintain that the source of contamination was naturally occurring radiation, and not radioactive waste. Don Hancock, the anti-WIPP activist who learned of the contamination and reported it to the state, is suspicious of the explanation. He says radon is a gas and therefore can't affix itself to a metal container. At least two Santa Fe city councilors agree. Councilor Carol Lopez (Lo-PEZ) says she plans to introduce a resolution calling for a halt to all radioactive shipments through Santa Fe until councilors receive a ``satisfactory explanation.''