By Zack Ponce, Current Angus, POSTED: 05/08/2014
CARLSBAD >> Sen. Tom Udall says recent investigation reports into accidents at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant are "very troubling."
A Department of Energy Accident Investigation Board blamed the Feb. 5 underground vehicle fire and subsequent Feb. 14 radiation leak on a lack of oversight and erosion of safety culture by all parties involved with the nuclear waste disposal facility.
Udall said he was concerned about the culture at WIPP while responding to a question about the facility on Tuesday during his weekly teleconference with media.
"As our nation’s only deep geologic repository for transuranic waste, it must be held to the highest standards," he said. "Anything less is unacceptable. The workers and the surrounding community demand that."
Nuclear Waste Partnership, the private contractor responsible for WIPP, has already taken several actions intended to change the culture for the better, making multiple high-level management changes since the accidents. NWP’s parent company, URS, hired Bob McQuinn in March to replace Farok Sharif as the NWP president and project manager, as well as made several changes to its leadership board.
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