US, New Mexico ink settlements over nuclear radiation leak

New Mexico and the U.S. Department of Energy have inked $74 million in settlements over dozens of permit violations stemming from a radiation leak that forced the closure of the nation’s only underground nuclear waste repository.

The settlements are the largest ever negotiated between a state and the Energy Department and come after months of negotiations.

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been closed since February 2014, when a container of waste burst and released radiation that contaminated parts of the underground facility. The container came from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The settlements call for the Energy Department to funnel millions of dollars toward road improvements and environmental projects in New Mexico.

The state initially proposed more than $54 million in penalties against the federal agency and its contractors for numerous violations at the lab and waste dump.

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