CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — The manager of the federal government's nuclear waste repository in New Mexico has halted work because of poor air quality in parts of the underground facility.
Officials with Nuclear Waste Partnership announced the "safety pause" late Monday after monitoring instruments carried by workers detected elevated levels of carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds.
Work won't resume until a plan is developed to ensure worker safety.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been closed since February 2014 when an inappropriately packed drum of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory popped its lid and released radiation.
Parts of the facility were contaminated. Now, crews are working to install a temporary ventilation system and complete other recovery efforts in hopes of resuming operations by the end of the year.
The story was corrected to show the safety pause was announced late Monday.