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Cause of New Mexico nuclear-waste accident remains a mystery

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A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste, buried in a salt shaft 2,150 feet under the New Mexico desert, violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam.

The flowing mass, looking like whipped cream and laced with plutonium, went airborne, traveled up a ventilation duct to the surface and exposed 21 workers to low-level radiation.

The accident contaminated the nation’s only dump for nuclear-weapons waste and gave the nation’s nuclear chemists a mystery they still cannot…

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