– Gov’t Report: Nuclear waste was up to 1,600°F during WIPP plutonium release — Concern that heat ‘chemically or physically changed’ contents of other drums — Increased hazard of spontaneous reaction… may have already occurred — Over 50 drums at risk (VIDEO) (ENENews, July 13, 2014):
Evaluation of the Effect of Elevated Temperatures on the Waste Containers in [the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s] Room 7 of Panel 7 to Determine if an Additional Reaction Hazard Has Been Introduced, Los Alamos National Laboratory, June 18, 2014 (emphasis added): Unreacted drums of nitrate salt waste stream, LAMIN02-V.001, continue to pose a potential reaction hazard in Room 7. […] at least one nitrate salt bearing waste container from [LANL] is breached […] LANL-CO was […] to determine if the heat has chemically or physically changed the waste and introduced a reaction hazard causing the waste to spontaneously combust, self-heat, autoignite, or explode. […] Based on the photographic evidence of the color of the steel on the breached LANL drum, a small area of the drum reached a minimum temperature of 340°C [644°F]. […] The damage to container gaskets, polypropylene backfill bags, shrink wrap, and slip sheets indicate a room wide temperature sufficient to cause the polymers in these items to flow or melt […] Based solely on the photographic information it appears that some surfaces on the LANL drum may have reached temperatures of up to 700-870°C [1598°F] and the waste in a large portion of the room reached temperatures up to 170°C to 230°C [446°F].
Los Alamos National Laboratory: Waste Stream LA-MIN02-V.001 […] represents continued risk of a reaction hazard. […] fifty-five (55) containers […] in Room 7 contain nitrate salts, an oxidizer, mixed with […] kitty litter […] Because of the mixture of organics (fuel) and nitrate salts (oxidizer) in these drums they continue to pose a potential hazard. […] 170-230°C temperatures likely experienced by some of the other LA-MIN02-V.001 drums may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction. This dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures caused by the heating of the drums is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction. Reactions may have occurred within some of these drums at levels insufficient to lead to detectable visible evidence.
WIPP town hall, July 10, 2014 (at 1:00:15 in):
- Online Question: About the breached drum, are we going to go in and remove that drum out of the room?
- Tammy Reynolds, Deputy Recovery Manager: We do not currently have any plans to move the drums out of panel 7 […] It doesn’t seem feasible to have to go in and put workers in a position to have to deal with those level of hazards.
– Internal Memo: 10 times more WIPP nuclear drums risk exploding than media reported – Expert: Data shows increasing amount of radioactivity going into environment – Official: Something “caused drum to later catch fire”
– WIPP Expert: “Very likely” multiple nuclear waste drums exploded, risk of more occurring; It was clearly something major… signs of fire at container holding over 500 billion Bq of Plutonium and Americium — Nuclear Engineer: “This is a huge dirty bomb”
– Officials: Leakage seen on “many” nuclear waste drums in WIPP underground — We think the seals have degraded — Public “should be concerned” about another explosion — 1,000s of radioactive drums now seen as too risky to move (VIDEO)
– Concern for ‘FULL PLUTONIUM FLASH’ at WIPP nuclear site that affects other drums and triggers spreading disaster – Plutonium-239 is a main radioactive material in drum that exploded – Anonymous Employee: The warnings were ignored … ‘They put us in danger’
– Top Science Journal: “Time bombs” at WIPP nuclear site? “High alert over risk of new explosions” in hundreds of plutonium-contaminated drums – AP: 4 years may be needed just to seal off area where drums stored – Experts go down to check if ground ‘still stable’
– Gov’t: ‘Cracked’ nuclear container filmed at WIPP — Expert: It “blew top off” — Reuters: “Released high levels of radiation” — 100s more drums risk similar ‘energetic reaction’ — Insider: Get forklift and remove them before another accident — Official: No ‘imminent’ public threat ‘at this time’ (VIDEO)