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Residents near nuclear waste site say they were lied to about fire

UPDATE: Town hall about radioactive waste site fire to be held today


LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) -- A fire at a low-level radioactive waste site near Beatty is now out, but some residents are still concerned because of what was burning, and because they say they were "flat out lied to" about what was going on.

The fire started at a U.S. Ecology plant about ten miles out of Beatty Sunday afternoon.

The biggest concern was what was burning. for three decades that site had been used as a dumping ground for low level radioactive waste -- and back in the 60's to the early 90's, that meant simply digging a trench and dumping the waste in it, then covering it with dirt.

As the fire burned, the US 95 was closed for a 140 mile stretch for nearly 24 hours. . People waiting in their cars say they were told a much different reason for the traffic jam.

"They told us it was debris in the road," one resident told News 3. "We found out it was a nuclear waste fire."

The fire was allowed to burn itself out because crews couldn't use water on the potentially toxic material.

Government helicopters flew overhead to test for radioactivity. No radiation was found.

A contractor, U.S. Ecology, operates a hazardous waste facility at the site about 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas. Heavy rains swept through the area on Sunday, and a U.S. Ecology spokesman says a site manager noticed the fire at about 1:00 p.m.

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