CARLSBAD, N.M. (AP) - The man appointed to lead the company that oversees the federal government's troubled nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico previously ran a facility in Idaho where a radiation release contaminated workers in 2011.
Philip Breidenbach was named president and project manager of the Nuclear Waste Partnership last week. The company manages the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, which has been closed since last year due to a radiation release.
The Albuquerque Journal reports Breidenbach used to run a plutonium facility at Idaho National Laboratory, where a radiation accident contaminated 16 workers.
The incident was blamed on a lack of safety precautions and worker training, much like the WIPP mishap.
Despite the criticisms of watchdogs, Nuclear Waste Partnership says Breidenbach has a track record of turning around a troubled operation.