Could New Mexico radiation leak affect us here in Lubbock? - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Could New Mexico radiation leak affect us here in Lubbock?


After seeing an outpouring of concern about radiation from the nuclear waste facility in Carlsbad, New Mexico, KCBD sought out expert opinion from Dr. Rob Chesser, a professor at Texas Tech University, on Monday.

Chesser is the Director for Environmental Radiation Studies at the Texas Tech and has studied nuclear issues for decades.

When asked if people are in danger from this leak, Chesser said, "Absolutely not."

Department of Energy officials confirmed a leak at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad on February 14.

But the field office manager, Jose Franco, says all levels are still well below what experts deem unsafe.

Chesser says people's concerns are valid, but they need to do their research before jumping to conclusions.

"When they get the reports from the facilities and the experts that have been there, that know the situation, they need to believe them. No one is trying to fool anyone," Chesser said.

Commenters on social media have expressed a high level of concern about this leak and have been openly skeptical of media reports, but Chesser says the experts mean what they say.

"There was no evidence that any of the radiation actually escaped the facility itself," he said.

"We learned from the lessons of the Soviets after Chernobyl and the Japanese after Fukushima that you have to be very open with the public, you can't hide anything."

He said incidents like this are rare.  This is the first release from this plant since it opened 15 years ago.

Chesser wants to assure people they have nothing to worry about.

"No one is going to try and hide the truth from the public and anyone that does that would have severe repercussions in their jobs for doing so," he said.

The DOE is investigating what caused the leak, but that investigation could take weeks.

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