Today through Sunday night. Whiteout conditions and snowdrifts 3 to 5 feet deep. Power outages likely.
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM 226 DEC 2015
Today through Sunday night. Whiteout conditions and snowdrifts 3 to 5 feet deep. Power outages likely.
National Weather Service Albuquerque NM 226 DEC 2015
– “Patented explosives” reported inside plutonium waste drums at US nuclear facility — TV: So volatile, experts comparing it to ‘bomb’ — Official: I’m appalled we weren’t told about real and present danger — Over 5,000 drums a threat — Invisible reactions may have already occurred (VIDEO) (ENENews, Nov 17, 2014):
Sante Fe New Mexican, Nov. 15, 2014 (emphasis added): The combination [of neutralizer and wheat-based organic litter] turned the waste into a potential bomb that one lab chemist later characterized as akin to plastic explosives, according to a six-month investigation by The New Mexican. [Los Alamos National Lab] then shipped [the waste] to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant… Feb. 14… the drum’s lid cracked open… Temperatures in the underground chamber soared to 1,600 degrees, threatening dozens of nearby drums… Documents and internal emails show… officials downplayed the dangers… and withheld critical information.
- LANL chemist Steve Clemmons [found] the drum’s contents match the makeup of patented plastic, water-gel and slurry explosives… “All of the required components included in the patent claims would be present,” Clemmons wrote… “I am appalled that LANL didn’t provide us this information!” [wrote DOE official Dana Bryson]… On May 27, when they learned of the memo about patented explosives… WIPP abandoned plans for the next day to sample the area where the breach occurred, fearing it was too dangerous. “In a phone call with LANL, they indicated that there is a possibility that any sampling of the kitty litter/drum contents could cause another event,” [wrote] David Freeman, Nuclear Waste Partnership’s chief nuclear engineer… “We have a formal letter on LANL letterhead implying there is a real and present danger in the WIPP underground,” Bryson wrote.
Up to 55 more drums of waste ‘destabilized ‘ Continue reading »
– Reuters: Investigation suggests another drum with plutonium ruptured at US nuclear site — TV: “There are new concerns at WIPP that there could be another radiation leak” (VIDEO) (ENENews, Sep 19, 2014):
Joe Franco, DOE official, Sept. 18, 2014 (at 41:00 in): “As you probably heard… there’s been some items about a 2nd drum in Panel 6… We’ve taken into consideration, that what if we had that event again while our folks are in the underground… What’s come out insinuates that we have another potential drum… We’re taking things seriously.” >> Watch video here
Reuters, Sept. 19, 2014 (emphasis added): Second container possibly leaked at New Mexico nuclear dump — A second container of plutonium-contaminated debris may have contributed to a radiation leak [at New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant] a U.S. Energy Department official said on Thursday…. “What has come out insinuates we have another potential drum,” Joe Franco, manager of the Energy Department field office in Carlsbad that oversees the plant, told a public meeting. Franco said further investigation of the underground suggests the rupture of an additional barrel of nuclear waste… Continue reading »
– Top Official: “Really concerned” over radiation release at US nuclear site; Feds “have put a noose around scientific personnel”… they refuse to reveal crucial information about WIPP disaster — Investigators becoming suspicious — Nuclear Expert: “It sure seems like there’s a cover-up” (AUDIO) (ENENews, Sep 6, 2014):
The Santa Fe New Mexican, Sept 6, 2014: Flynn accuses feds of blocking WIPP probe — New Mexico’s top environmental regulator lashed out at the U.S. Department of Energy this week, accusing it of impeding the state’s investigation into [the WIPP] radiation leak… Secretary Ryan Flynn warned [about] Energy Department roadblocks that have protracted the probe… Increasingly in recent weeks, the federal Energy Department has thwarted attempts by the state… Flynn accused the Energy Department of muzzling scientists with crucial information about the waste…. [They] asked for documentation supporting the scientists’ observations [but] the Energy Department has repeatedly refused… his frustration with the Energy Department grew as its denials… became more frequent… The Energy Department’s refusal to provide information raised suspicions among Flynn’s investigators… Continue reading »
– LA Times: ‘Horrific Comedy’ at US Nuclear Site — “Mounds of radioactive white foam laced with plutonium” spewed out — Gov’t failed to do any radiation tests when releases peaked after ‘major’ leak — Experts: “Risk of additional eruptions is real” (VIDEO) (ENENews, Aug 24, 2014):
KRQE, Aug 14, 2014 (emphasis added): [In February the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant] experienced a major radiation leak, shutting down the plant.
Los Angeles Times, Aug 23, 2014:
- Nuclear waste accident in New Mexico was a ‘horrific comedy of errors’
- A 55-gallon drum of nuclear waste… violently erupted late on Feb. 14 and spewed mounds of radioactive white foam
- The flowing mass, looking like whipped cream but laced with plutonium, went airborne, traveled up a ventilation duct to the surface
- Filters [were] to prevent any radioactivity from reaching the surface, but the dampers leaked and thousands of cubic feet of air bypassed filters Continue reading »
– Lab Director: Expect radiation spikes coming from US nuclear facility — Gov’t pays for more air monitors to see impact on populated areas — DOE warns of ‘ignitability’ of 368 containers at site; “Significant fire risk” — Top Official: Material at WIPP “just disintegrated… got very hot, very quickly” (VIDEO) (ENENews, Aug 2, 2014)
– ‘Green burst’ and ‘criticality event’ under investigation by gov’t in connection with plutonium release at U.S. nuclear site #WIPP — Official: Underground fire may have initiated reaction in ruptured radioactive waste drum — Concern over possible arson/sabotage? (VIDEO) (ENENews, July 23, 2014):
Sante Fe Reporter, July 23, 2014 (emphasis added): Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are still trying to determine exactly what caused a barrel buried at the Waste Isolation Pilot Project to burst open in February, said LANL chemist Nan Sauer. […] investigators now believe the metals in [a] glove might have reacted with nitrate salts after temperatures rose in the barrel at WIPP. […] Just how the temps increased to initiate the reaction, however, is still up for debate. Theories about what initiated the reaction include warmth generated by decomposition of the litter (a commercially
available substance called Swheat that Sauer says won’t be used anymore ). Another hypothesis would put the blame on heat from a truck fire that occurred inside WIPP a half mile from the barrel location about nine days before an air monitor detected the radiation leak. Smoke from the fire might have also affected ventilation systems and led to hotter air, she said. […] Continue reading »
– 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]. Continue reading »
More important information down below.
– 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”; Gov’t should investigate if truck fire & electrical surge led to the radiation release (ENENews, July 5, 2014):
AP, July 4, 2014 (emphasis added): Teams of scientists and engineers are still trying to determine exactly what caused a barrel [at New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)] from Los Alamos to burst […] Despite hundreds of experiments to date, investigators have been unable to create any reaction that would have caused the container to leak like it did […] The accident has […] indefinitely shuttered the mine […] According to the memo obtained by The Associated Press, [Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Principal Associate Lab Director Terry Wallace] told employees at a meeting Monday that the probe is focused on 16 barrels of highly acidic, nitrate-salt-bearing waste, including the drum that leaked at [WIPP]. Ten of the other barrels [11 total, including the one that ruptured] are also underground at the [WIPP] mine […] Wallace is quoted in the memo as saying that a technical review “identified certain conditions that might potentially cause an exothermic reaction inside a drum. Among them are neutralized liquids, a low pH and the presence of metals.” Continue reading »
– New Mexico WIPP nuclear storage facility essentially ‘a huge dirty bomb’ waiting to explode (Natural News, July 5, 2014):
Very few Americans who don’t live near it have ever heard of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), a federal nuclear waste repository approximately 26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico, but some experts are saying that something very serious happened there recently — something that could affect tens of millions of Americans. However, you’re not likely to read much about it in the institutional media.
According to the Carlsbad Current-Argus, a local newspaper, “traces of radiation” were found in February northwest of the WIPP following tests by the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center, a division of the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University. The tests showed “evidence of trace amounts of americium and plutonium on an air filter” at a nearby sampling station off the WIPP access road. Continue reading »
– Radiation spikes at WIPP nuclear facility — Hits highest levels since initial hours of radioactive release in February — Document link removed from official website — Gov’t analyzing samples for “potential impact on human health” (ENENews, June 27, 2014):
(Note: Measurements are taken after air passes through the filtration system. Also, the June data is shown in 4-hour intervals, while most in February are around 8 hours.)
– 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” (VIDEO) (ENENews, June 24, 2014):
Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer, June 19, 2014 (at 33:45 in): I do believe the part about it being a hydrogen explosion [at WIPP]– due to the decomposition of the green kitty litter — that causes a whole bunch of problems, and one of them is that this is a huge dirty bomb. >> Full interview here
Insight New Mexico interviews Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety program and administrator at Southwest Research and Information Center, June 12, 2014 (at 4:00 in): They haven’t been able to physically get to the one or more containers that… exploded, or had some kind of a deflagration. They had pictures of one container that’s clearly breached, has holes, the lid is off, there are signs that there’s melting around, small amounts of fire, etc… So clearly something major happened. We still don’t know how many containers are involved, I think it’s very likely that its more than the one… the reason I think there’s probably more than is while this particular container has 16 or 17 curies of plutonium and americium [592 billion to 629 billion becquerels] in it, which is a much larger amount than what the average container is, there are containers including ones sitting right beside it that have more radioactivity. We don’t know how much came out, but from what we do know, it looks to me that it was more than what could have come out of a single container. >> Watch the fwull interview here Continue reading »
– 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) (ENENews, June 13, 2014):
AP, June 11, 2014 (emphasis added): Scientists investigating a mysterious radiation leak at the federal government’s underground nuclear waste dump have identified five other potentially explosive containers of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory that are being stored at a site in West Texas, New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn told a legislative panel Tuesday. […] Asked if the public should be worried, Flynn said: “Every member of the community should be concerned. … But I don’t think they should be worried. I don’t think people should be panicked about another drum exploding because we required (the U.S. Department of Energy) to plan for that and have a system in place to protect the public.” […] The Department of Energy has dozens of the world’s finest scientists trying to identifying what type of reaction could have caused the leak, Flynn said after the hearing. But he estimated it would be months before a definitive cause is determined. Until then, Flynn said, it is hard to speculate on what if any action can be taken to finish getting the last of thousands of barrels of decades-old waste off the Los Alamos campus in northern New Mexico. […] given the uncertainty of what caused the radiation leak, transporting the waste now is seen as too risky. Flynn said it also remains unclear how long the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will be closed or how long it will take the [WIPP] plant to seal off the rooms where more than 350 other barrels of suspect waste from Los Alamos are currently stored. Continue reading »
– 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” (ENENews, June 8, 2014):
Sante Fe New Mexican, June 9, 2014: On the night of Feb. 14, waste in an underground salt cavern in Southern New Mexico created so much heat the drum’s lid cracked. Radiation leaked out. Heavy bags of magnesium oxide stacked on top of the containers to prevent leaks shifted and disintegrated from the force of the reaction. […] The parent waste drum came from a waste stream including liquids such as hydrochloric and nitric acids, kerosene, methanol, silicone oil, nitrate salts, heavy metals and two main radioactive isotopes — plutonium-239 [the primary fissile isotope used for the production of nuclear weapons] and uranium-238. Ascarite, diatomaceous earth, vermiculite and kitty litter were added to soak up any liquids. […] “A lot of the drums we opened up had a lot of liquid,” said one former employee familiar with the process, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with the media. […] EnergySolutions also switched from a clay-based kitty litter to Swheat, an organic kitty litter, for absorbing fluids. It is unclear why the contractor made the switch or whether LANL approved the switch, and lab officials wouldn’t comment. The former employee familiar with the repackaging process said EnergySolutions staff tried to warn the company’s administrators that the switch in kitty litter was a bad idea. The nitrate salts and the wheat-based kitty litter created a combustible mix, according to chemists. The warnings were ignored, the employee said. “They put us in danger, too,” he said. EnergySolutions did not respond to multiple requests for comment […] Continue reading »
– 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’ (VIDEO) (ENENews, May 31, 2014):
Nature, May 28, 2014: Nuclear-waste facility on high alert over risk of new explosions — US repository scrambles to seal off barrels […] Time bombs may be ticking at the United States’ only deep geological repository for nuclear waste. US authorities concluded last week that at least 368 drums of waste at the site could be susceptible to the chemical reaction suspected to have caused a drum to rupture there in February. That accident caused radioactive material to spill into the repository and leak into the environment above ground. […] To mitigate the threat of further exploding drums, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) in Santa Fe issued an order on 20 May giving the US Department of Energy […] until 30 May to come up with a plan to “expedite” the sealing of panel 6 and part of panel 7. [A reaction] blew the lid off of the container [an official cautioned,] “It is not yet known how, or if, the reaction created the rupture in the drum(s)” […] The DOE added that current assumptions and precautions about the hazards of operating the WIPP are being “evaluated and revised”. Continue reading »
– Cat litter thought behind New Mexico nuclear waste accident (RT, May 24, 2014):
For months state and federal government has been looking into an incident involving radioactive waste at a disposal site in New Mexico. Now, Investigators believe the culprit may have been the wrong kind of cat litter.
In February the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsband, New Mexico was placed on lockdown prompted by the detection of radiation. The underground nuclear waste dump is the only such facility in the entire country.
An accident investigation report put out by the Department of Energy in April delved into both the immediate causes, as well as a lack of safety culture leading up to the accident. Continue reading »
– Officials now admit over 500 barrels of nuclear waste at risk of bursting open — AP: 368 already at WIPP dump — “New Mexico sees ‘imminent’ danger” — State orders WIPP to prevent “health or environmental threat”; Must ‘permanently seal’ underground storage areas (ENENews, May 21, 2014):
KOAT, May 20, 2014: 500 WIPP barrels of questionable nuclear waste packed with kitty litter — New Mexico environment officials said more than 500 barrels of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory were packed with the kitty litter suspected of causing a chemical reaction and radiation release […] In addition to 369 containers at the dump, environment officials said 57 more are still at Los Alamos and more than 100 are in storage in West Texas.
AP, May 20, 2014: New Mexico: 500 barrels of questionable nuke waste […] packed with the kitty litter suspected of causing a chemical reaction and radiation release at the nation’s underground nuclear waste dump. Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn Tuesday gave the U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs [WIPP] until Friday to detail plans for permanently sealing the underground rooms where more than 300 barrels of the potentially dangerous containers of waste are stored. Continue reading »
– 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) (ENENews, May 19, 2014):
Dept. of Energy, May 16, 2014: Visual evidence that shows a damaged waste container […] “In the new pictures, the [ Los Alamos National Laboratory] container has a cracked lid and shows evidence of heat damage. Workers will continue investigating […] if any other containers were involved or damaged,” said a DOE spokesperson.
LANL director Charles McMillan message to lab personnel, May 16, 2014: “similar waste drums here at the Lab and those sent to Waste Control Specialists in Texas are in a safe and controlled configuration […] we do not believe there is any imminent threat to the safety of our employees, the public, or the environment at this time. […] While many details remain unknown, additional investigative work is being planned to pinpoint the cause of the breached drum, the radiological release, and whether other containers were involved” Continue reading »
– Rebellion in the USA – Protesters Take Over Albuquerque City Council and Attempt to Arrest Police Chief (Liberty Blitzkrieg, May 13, 2014):
There is something very, very wrong with the Albuquerque, New Mexico police department, and the citizens have just about had enough. Before I get into the heart of this story, I need to provide you with a little background. The Albuquerque Police Department (APD) is well known for its outrageous and inappropriate use of violence. So much so that it has been under investigation by the Department of Justice, which wrote a letter to the Mayor of Albuquerque on April 10, 2014 condemning the police force. Here’s an excerpt from the letter: Continue reading »
– ‘Kitty litter’ blamed for explosive nuclear leak at WIPP — “Incredibly important to act quickly” — ‘All these drums’ are at risk, including at other sites — Must be gathered ‘right away’ before they also burst — Summer heat will increase instability — Storage rooms must be sealed off to contain future ‘events’ (ENENews, May 10, 2014):
Santa Fe New Mexican, May 9, 2014: Nuke expert believes ‘kitty litter’ switch led to WIPP leak — An absorbent material similar to kitty litter is the likely cause of a radiation leak […] according to a longtime nuclear expert. […] Los Alamos National Laboratory […] switched from using a clay- based absorbent in the drums [sent to WIPP] to a wheat-based absorbent — both made of the same materials used in different types of kitty litter, according to Jim Conca, a geochemist who worked for years at the lab and in environmental monitoring for WIPP. […] The kitty litter switch could have created dried-out nitrate salts and led to a “mild” explosion in one or more of the waste containers, Conca said. […] LANL, Department of Energy and WIPP did not specifically comment on the theory. […] Conca is a nuclear power advocate and a WIPP believer, so he’s hoping his kitty litter theory proves correct. […] The organic absorbents made of wheat or corn […] “It absorbs like a sponge. If you let the salts dry out completely, they can ignite.” Continue reading »
– Wall St. Journal: Report reveals WIPP containment system leaked radiation — ‘Unfiltered’ plutonium released into environment for 20 days after accident — Something like this “wasn’t supposed to happen for 10,000 years” (VIDEO) (ENENews, April 24, 2014):
AP, Apr. 23, 2014: Board chairman Ted Wyka previewed the [Department of Energy’s Accident Investigation Board report] findings at a community meeting Wednesday […] Shortcomings were found at almost every step, from a more than 10-hour response to the initial emergency alarm to a bypass in the filtration system that allowed the radiation to escape above ground. “The bottom line is they failed to believe initial indications of the release,” Wyka said. […] Crews are still working to identify the source of the leak, which sent low levels of radiation into the air around the plant, but officials believe it occurred in the area where toxic waste was last being handled. Officials Wednesday night said there were people working in that area at the time of the fire, but did not say what they were doing.
– Paper: WIPP workers “not permitted to speak” — “Their jobs won’t ever be the same… will face new paradigm” — Concerns plutonium contaminated surrounding salt — Preparing for radiation levels so high, only robots can be used (VIDEO) (ENENews, April 22, 2014):
Albuquerque Journal News, Apr. 22, 2014: WIPP workers face big changes, Their jobs won’t ever be the same — Now that contamination has been discovered underground – although the extent is still unknown – the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant says workers will face a new paradigm when they return to the site: more formality, tougher rules and more protective gear. […] those working underground will likely be doing their jobs in a more hazardous environment – or one where the risks have been made more evident – with new rules of engagement to protect them from exposure to radiation. […] plutonium and americium may have contaminated rock salt walls, mixed into dust on the floor, and clung to machinery and other equipment underground. If stirred or scuffed up, the radiation can become airborne and inhaled. […] NWP workers are not permitted to speak to the press, according to a spokesman. Continue reading »
Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, published Apr. 9, 2014 (at 3:00 in):
- Sen. Tom Udall, New Mexico: I appreciate that many in your agency have made it clear that the radioactive releases from WIPP have been at levels that are a public health danger and I’m hopeful that you’re monitoring and verification will continue to support their unfortunately the facts are the two accidents have happened to WIPP that we’re not supposed to happen — a fire in a mine and a radiological release. DOE oversight has already been found to be lacking and that’s why it’s important to the community that an independent public health agency like EPA be on the ground overseeing the recovery phase to ensure public health is protected. […]
- Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator: EPA’s main job in this is to ensure that we’re looking at any level that could have been exceeded in terms of protectiveness to the outside, so that the surrounding communities are aware of any concerns […] So far, it looks like any release has been far below any levels that are necessary for protection […] We know people have concerns, this is a big deal. Continue reading »
– Expert: No one in world has ever dealt with something like WIPP disaster — Continuous release of radioactive material ’24/7′ to environment — Nobody knows when leaking will end — It’s a ‘major failure’ for so many people to be exposed — Gov’t yet to say if dump will open again (AUDIO) (ENENNews, April 5, 2014):
AP, Apr 4, 2014: Workers are prepared to encounter contamination [&] will try to figure out what caused [WIPP’s] mysterious leak [of radiation that] contaminated 21 workers […] [No one’s been] underground […] to find the source of the leak and determine if [the fire & radiation] are related.
Nuclear Hotseat #145, with host Libbe HaLevy, M.A., Apr. 1, 2014:
- 5:15 in — Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety program and administrator at Southwest Research and Information Center: Data from what’s being captured […] and what comes out of the filters, is that there have been continuing releases 24/7 […] There still is contamination coming out of the underground […] Numbers move around, but there’s always some amount of radioactivity in the underground air and lesser amounts being vented to the environment. Why it happened, why it was released, how much was really released, how much contamination there is in the underground, how long the releases continue, whether there could be further releases given that we don’t know what the situation is […] All of those of things are unknowns. Continue reading »
– Radiation Expert: 5 types of plutonium were released from WIPP; Officials not informing public — Caldicott: “I predict that facility will never be able to be used again”; Inhaling a millionth of a gram of plutonium will induce lung cancer (AUDIO) (ENENews, March 25, 2014):
KUNM, Mar. 24, 2014: The director of an organization that evaluated the WIPP site for over 25 years said officials aren’t doing enough to inform New Mexicans. […] “I just can’t stress the importance of DOE being available to respond to detailed questions that people have,” [Dr. Bob Neill] said. “There’s no substitute for direct communication.” Immediately after the leak was discovered, the public should have been given a detailed explanation of what was released, said Dr. Neill, who received his degree in radiological medicine. Americium 241 and plutonium 239 were mentioned. “But there are four other radio-isotopes of plutonium, namely the 238, 240, the beta and 241,” he said. “They’re all bone-seekers. So you want to be able to report all the values—how each one may have contributed. It’s just essential.” […] “It’s so important to answer people’s questions—and not just people in Carlsbad, but throughout the state and elsewhere,” he said. As for the leak itself, he said all of the possible causes of the failure at WIPP must be considered, and a response system should be designed accordingly.
Interview with Dr. Helen Caldicott, March 2014 (at 37:30 in): One of the repositories for very, very dangerous radioactive waste plutonium, americium, etc. has just leaked radiation all around the area in Carlsbad, New Mexico. One microgram of plutonium, a millionth of a gram of plutonium, if inhaled will induce lung cancer. It’s extraordinarily radioactive. So they thought this would be safe storing radiation in salt mines, but something happened, one of the casks blew up or part of the ceiling fell on the casks, we do not know. But I predict that that facility will never be able to be used again, it will be so contaminated. Continue reading »
– Radiation leaks force transfer of nuclear waste from New Mexico to Texas (RT, March 21, 2014):
The cause of the radiation leaks at the United States’ first nuclear waste repository are still under investigation, but in the meantime government officials have decided to move a stalled shipment of waste to a private dump in Texas.
According to Reuters, the shipment of approximately 1,000 barrels of radioactive leftovers to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, New Mexico, was put on hold when the facility began leaking radioactive material in February. On Thursday, the Department of Energy announced it would temporarily relocate those barrels to a rural site in western Texas.
– WIPP officials admit new release of Plutonium and Americium — More expected in future — Nearly double levels seen after February leak — 61 DPM on March 11 vs. 36 DPM in February (ENENews, March 19, 2014):
AP, Mar. 19, 2014: New air sampling data from southeastern New Mexico’s troubled nuclear waste dump indicates there has been another small radiation release. […] they believe the contamination is from previous deposits on the inner surface of exhaust ductwork. […] Officials say occasional low-level releases are anticipated, but they should be well within safe limits.
Las Cruces Sun, Mar. 18, 2014 (emphasis added): DOE: Another radiation release reported at WIPP […] Samples collected from the ventilation exhaust recorded 61 disintegrations per minute of americium. DPM measures the amount of radioactive contamination from alpha and beta rays in an area. […] The DOE believes the most recent contamination was residual radioactive particles that were trapped in the ventilation system from the initial radiation leak. […] The DOE said it anticipates additional low-level releases on occasion, but officials expect radiation in the environment will remain at safe levels. New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn said the state was briefed of the news Tuesday morning and thinks there is nothing to worry about at this time. “The level they detected is low and we don’t believe there was any risk to public health or the environment but we need to investigate more,” he said. […] Department of Energy officials were not available for comment. Continue reading »
– Official: Radioactive material escaping everyday from WIPP and dispersing — Top officials “not made available for comment” — Expert: Leaks from ‘unfiltered’ ducts went on for weeks (ENENews, March 20, 2014):
Carlsbad Current Argus, Mar. 19, 2014: [Last week’s radiation release] incident is believed to have been caused from a buildup of radioactive particles that eventually escaped the duct much like smoke from a chimney, and officials anticipate more residual releases until the original source of last month’s radiation leak can be fixed. “Small amounts (of radioactive particles) are escaping everyday and we’re going to see those spikes every once in a while,” said Donavan Mager, spokesman for the Nuclear Waste Partnership. “It’s so small that it’s going to disperse quickly. Everything is working the way we expect it to and as it was designed, otherwise you wouldn’t see any (particles escaping) if the leak was contained.” […] WIPP officials said Wednesday they plan to test the mine’s HEPA filters to ensure they’re working as expected. […] DOE and NWP officials will provide another public update at the weekly Carlsbad town hall meeting on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in the city council chambers on 101 N. Halagueno Street. DOE Carlsbad Field Office Manager Jose Franco and newly-appointed NWP president Bob McQuinn were not made available for comment on the situation.
– TV: Over 30 times more radiation got by WIPP filters than gov’t claims? Radiation also released from ‘unfiltered’ vents — Foam used to plug openings is degrading — Filters too radioactive for lab techs to check — No ‘immediate’ danger to public — Rumors of dump getting shut down (VIDEO) (ENENews, March 13, 2014):
KRQE, Mar. 11, 2014: Department of Energy says there is no basis to some of the rumors floating around the area here that WIPP might get shut down.
And the most deadlieast substance on the planet (plutonium) poses no threat to health ???, …
“… would result in no health potential to a child, or a fetus,…”
New York Times: Plutonium and americium […] lodged in the body bombards internal organs with subatomic particles for the rest of the person’s lifetime.
Sounds perfectly safe, doesn’t it? (More info on the dangers of internal emitters down below.)
Carlsbad Current-Argus, Mar. 10, 2014: Four more employees at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant have tested positive for elevated levels of radiation over the weekend. The Department of Energy announced that fecal samples taken from employees at the nuclear waste facility found 17 workers tested positive for low levels of radiation. After initial testing more than a week ago, the DOE reported 13 workers tested positive for trace amounts americium and plutonium. […]