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New tests show elevated radiation near WIPP

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New test results indicate “slightly elevated” levels of airborne radiation near a nuclear waste repository in southeast New Mexico, the U.S. Department of Energy said Monday.
Samples taken from spots on and around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant outside Carlsbad show radiation levels below those considered a public or environmental hazard, the DOE said in a statement.
The DOE said the data show a potential dose of less than one millirem — a calculation of radioactivity exposure — at each of the sampling locations. By comparison, a single chest x-ray can deliver a dose of about 10 millirems.
The average person living in the United States gets a dose of about 620 millirems annually from exposure to naturally occurring and other sources of radiation, the DOE said.
WIPP has been collecting numerous air and soil samples since a radiation alert was sounded on Feb. 14.

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