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Fire sparks evacuation at US nuclear waste plant

Published on Feb 6, 2014 10:01 AM

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - An underground fire forced the evacuation of a United States nuclear waste plant on Wednesday, although the blaze was nowhere near radioactive material, officials said.

The fire erupted on a vehicle carrying salt at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, the US Department of Energy (DoE) said in a statement.

Emergency response teams scrambled to "an operational emergency" at the plant, which is used to dispose of radioactive waste left from making nuclear weapons.

"All underground personnel are accounted for and have been safely evacuated to the surface," it said, adding: "There is no waste in the vicinity of the fire."

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