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December 21, 2014

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13 were exposed to radiation at New Mexico plant

Image

Jeri Clausing / AP

This Feb. 24, 2014, photo shows the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Officials say it is too soon to speculate about the health effects a radiation leak at the nation's underground nuclear waste dump might have on workers.

The U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Project Wednesday confirmed that 13 workers who were above ground the night of the leak have tested positive for radiation exposure. And they say more workers are being tested.

They say more tests are needed to determine the levels of exposure, and they emphasized that all readings at the site have been at very low levels.

But watchdog Don Hancock of the Southwest Research and Information Center says the fact the workers were exposed at all raises questions about whether the site's filtration system worked as well as officials have said.

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