Feds withhold most performance pay to New Mexico nuke dump's operator due to radiation leak

MarketsAssociated Press

The contractor that runs the federal government's underground nuclear waste repository is being denied millions of dollars in performance bonuses and fees in financial fallout from a radiation leak.

Federal officials have said it could take years and a half-billion dollars to restart operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project Plant near Carlsbad because of the February leak.

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The Energy Department said in documents released Tuesday it is paying Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC just $21,576 of the $8 million of potential performance incentives for the past fiscal year.

The partnership manages the plant under a contract that pays more than $140 million annually.

The leak occurred when a container packed with radioactive waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory ruptured in an underground storage area and forced the plant's indefinite closure.