No contamination found on 2nd trip into nuke dump

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Associated Press

Posted on April 4, 2014 at 8:02 PM

Updated Saturday, Apr 5 at 5:01 AM

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Crews investigating a radiation leak at the federal government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico have turned up no contamination during a second trip farther into the half-mile-deep repository.

The Department of Energy says Friday's trip at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant allowed crews to establish a base where they can safely remove and store their clothing and equipment if it becomes contaminated before returning to the surface.

The crews also set up more air monitors and tested communication equipment.

A third trip to find the leak's source is expected next week.

The repository has been closed since mid-February, when the leak sent low levels of radiation into the air and contaminated 21 workers.

Samples from the repository's salt deposits are being sent to a federal lab in Idaho to begin testing decontamination techniques.

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