Crews find damaged material in nuke dump

CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) — Crews searching for the source of a radiation release from the government's underground nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico have found damaged bags of minerals in the mine, but officials say they have yet to identify what caused the radiation leak.

The U.S. Department of Energy said Thursday that workers at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant found several huge bags of magnesium chloride that are placed on top of waste containers to absorb moisture and carbon dioxide have been "grossly disturbed." It's not clear, however, what damaged the bags. And officials say they haven't found any structural damage in the waste-storage area of the repository near Carlsbad.

The dump has been shuttered since a Feb. 14 leak sent low levels of radiation into the air, contaminating 21 workers with radiation.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.