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Repository workers trapped underground during power outage

CARLSBAD, N.M. — Thirty-six miners at a New Mexico nuclear waste repository were trapped underground in an elevator for about three hours due to a power outage.

The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports the outage Tuesday at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant facility near the Pecos River was caused by heavy winds and storms.

The facility also ceased operations Wednesday due to an ongoing threat of heavy, damaging winds.

Nuclear Waste Partnership spokesman Bobby St. John says an initial investigation showed the facility’s utility provider lost power due to the “extreme weather.”

St. John says the waste handling hoist carrying the workers lost power at about 7 p.m. and was operational by 10 p.m.

Once power was restored, workers were lowered about 600 feet back underground and brought to the surface using the salt hoist.


Information from: Carlsbad Current-Argus,