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. [...]
- “Truly an operational nightmare” at WIPP — Radiation level doubles at location far from leak; Carlsbad monitor jumps around 40% — Residents plead for more info, concerns over safety (MAP) (ENENews, March 9, 2014):
KRQE, Mar. 6, 2014: Many left Thursday night’s meeting with the Department of Energy uneasy. They pleaded for more information about the underground radiation leak last month that seeped outside, but many remain frustrated and concerned for their safety. The DOE tried to reassure people they are safe even though the underground storage areas remained sealed off.
U.S. Congressman Steve Pearce, Mar. 8, 2014: I Will Ask Tough Questions About Radiation Leak — “I will hold their feet to the fire. In my meetings with Secretary Moniz, and in my conversations with top officials at the Department of Energy, I have strongly voiced New Mexicans’ concerns about the lack of information about WIPP.”
- US Gov’t: Never faced challenge like this, but “not giving up hope” at WIPP; Salt from contaminated mine to be sold as feed to dairy farms — TV: “Residents flat out concerned for their safety”; “I want to believe them… but I don’t” — Reuters: ‘Falling slabs’ may have breached waste drums (VIDEO) (ENENews, March 7, 2014):
Reuters, Mar. 5: The leak may have been caused by falling slabs of salt that created a breach of a drum or drums containing waste, officials have said.
Joe Franco, US DOE, Mar. 5: “We have not faced this kind of challenge in our 15-year history”
KRQE, Mar. 5: Damage control is in full swing.
Located near Carlsbad, New Mexico this Department of Energy (DOE) experimental nuclear waste dump is attempting to store leftover radioactive plutonium and americium from the US weapons program. On February 14, 2014 there was a nuclear safety failure at the site and the Department of Energy is not being honest about it. In this film Fairewinds Energy Education’s Arnie Gundersen pieces together what happened and points out Fairewinds’ major concerns about the facility, the accident and the lack of transparency at the DOE.
- ‘Imminent Situation’ At U.S. Nuclear Site – Emergency Operations Center Evacuated Due To Fire Deep Underground – ‘One Of Most Serious Incidents’ On Record – Anonymous Footage Of Thick Black Smoke Coming From Ground
- South Central US Poisoned by New Mexico Nuke Garbage Dump (Veterans Today, Feb 28, 2014):
Enough to Kill 35,500 People Released so Far
(San Francisco) – Feb 28, 2014 – Carlsbad, New Mexico is the site of the nation’s only nuclear weapons program garbage dump. Plutonium is used in making The Bomb, it melts at 640 Deg C or 1,184 Deg F, and is made in reactors. It is not mined anywhere on Earth. Reactors exist to make Bombs.
The Carlsbad Bomb making garbage dump is on fire. The burning radioactive metal does not go away, it turns to dense black radioactive smoke. The black smoke is very obvious in the daytime and it streamed from several ventilator shafts during a fire at the dump two weeks ago.
The shafts were then closed and the visible smoke kept underground. Plutonium does not need oxygen to burn and escaped anyway. The HEPA filters are not good enough to contain the very small Plutonium particles; that’s because nothing is. The fire very well could still be burning Plutonium and Uranium in the salt mine.
Based on new information obtained during a Carlsbad, New Mexico town-hall meeting, the Plutonium cloud size at Time Zero, Ground Zero can be estimated at 330,000,000 Becquerels, contained in approximately 10,000 cubic meters of contaminated air, released over a 30 second time frame.…
On Feb 20th, Kirtland Air Force base in Albuquerque New Mexico awarded a sole source contract to MRI corp of El Paso, Texas for 1,200 Particulate Radiation suits. A obvious purpose for this order is to prepare for another massive Plutonium release from DOE’s WIPP plant outside Carlsbad New Mexico.
- CNN: Alarm due to radiation spike brings ’1st-of-its-kind’ response at US nuclear site — Inspections cancelled, no one able to enter facility due to ‘high radiation’ levels — Reuters: Plans got called off over ‘safety thing’ — Gov’t: ‘Pretty sure’ we know where leak is — Local TV calls it ‘emergency’ (VIDEO) (ENENews, Feb 17, 2014):
CNN, Feb. 17, 2014: Radiation alarm at New Mexico nuclear disposal plant [...] a first-of-its-kind response at a nuclear disposal facility outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico, an Energy Department spokesman told CNN. An air monitor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant detected the spike in an isolated area half a mile below the ground. The incident prompted an immediate shutoff of filtered air from the facility into the environment [...] “This is the first time we had to close off air filtered by the facility to the outside,” Energy Department spokesman Gregory Sahd told CNN. Investigators from the Department of Energy expect test results this week [...] Officials believe there is no danger to the community [...] the area officials believe was affected has been closed off. “We’re pretty sure we know where it’s at.”
- TV: “Imminent situation” at U.S. nuclear site — Emergency operations center evacuated due to fire deep underground — “One of most serious incidents” on record — Anonymous footage of thick black smoke coming from ground (VIDEO) (ENENews, Feb 6, 2014):
KOAT, Feb. 5, 2014: An imminent situation going on right now in Southern New Mexico at Carlsbad. Emergency response crews have activated an emergency plan at WIPP. Here’s what we know right now — shortly after 11am, WIPP’s emergency operations center was evacuated. They tell us an underground vehicle […] was on fire in the underground. […] KOAT Action News is working on getting every detail of this scary situation from Southern New Mexico. We’ll see you tonight. >> Watch the broadcast here
KOAT, Feb. 5, 2014: It’s the nation’s first repository for radioactive waste left behind from research and production of nuclear weapons […] Access to the site is being restricted. The cause of that fire remains under investigation. >> Watch the broadcast here
YouTube Added: 23.10.2013
Congress held discussions to sell the National Parks during the government shutdown through the Disposal of Excess Federal Lands Act, spearheaded by Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).
The sale would cover national parks in Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, & Wyoming as a measure to “reduce the federal deficit.” We discuss the proposal on this Buzzsaw news clip with Tyrel Ventura and Tabetha Wallace.
Watch the full episode here:
More pics here:
- EXCLUSIVE: Pictured up close for the first time, Scientology’s ‘alien space cathedral and spaceship landing pad’ built in the New Mexico desert for the ‘return of followers after Armageddon on Earth’ (Daily Mail Aug 16, 2013):
Tunnels stretch for hundreds of feet into cliff behind unassuming facade and reportedly hold sacred texts
Mysterious pair of overlapping circles with a diamond inside believed to be navigation markers for space craft
Compound is 20 miles from nearest town and has a landing strip and its own water supply
MailOnline can today reveal the first close-up pictures of the Church of Scientology’s ‘alien space cathedral’ built in a remote part of the New Mexico desert.
The mysterious building which leads to an underground vault sits next to two giant symbols carved into the ground – believed to be markers for the religion’s followers to find their way back from the ends of the universe after humanity is destroyed in the future.
While no one knows the definite meaning of the pair of overlapping circles, each with a diamond in them, it is believed to have been trademarked by the Church of Technology, a branch of Scientology.
- Federal Framework Being Set Up To Arrest Sheriffs (Modern Survival Blog, March 30, 2013):
Colorado, and apparently Texas (next) are being targeted with an attempt to set up a federal authority framework that will enable Secret Service agents (not just those guarding the president), and others of the U.S. Secret Service including uniformed division officers, physical security technicians and specialists, and other ‘special officers’, to arrest and remove an elected sheriff for refusing to enforce the law (or anyone breaking the law).The bills being introduced defines law as including any rule, regulation, executive order, court order, statute or constitutional provision.
Why are they doing this? Here’s why…
It would establish federal authority police powers in a State, enabling an enforcement arm reporting directly to the president (the Secret Service).
It would potentially lead to enabling the president / executive branch to theoretically override the actions and preventative measures that are now being taken by many States throughout the country who are trying to preserve 2nd Amendment gun rights and who are prohibiting the enforcement of unconstitutional law passed by Congress or pushed by executive order.
As some of you may know, a growing list of sheriffs (more than 340 so far) across the country have expressed that they will not enforce a Washington mandate that clearly violates the Second Amendment.
Many State laws to preserve gun rights are gaining momentum. States include Montana, Ohio, Kentucky, Idaho, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Michigan, Utah, and New Mexico.
Tags: Arizona, Barack Obama, Constitution, Dictatorship, Fascism, Global News, Government, Guns, Idaho, Kentucky, Law, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, New World Order, Obama administration, Ohio, Oklahoma, Politics, Second Amendment, Secret Service, Texas, U.S., Utah
Stephen Slevin, who spent more than 22 months in solitary confinement despite not being convicted of a crime, is seen here in Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Department photos, before and after his time in solitary.
- County Will Pay $15.5 Million To Man Who Spent 22 Months In Solitary Confinement (NPR, March 7, 2013):
When he was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol and other charges in 2005, Stephen Slevin had no way of knowing that an opinion about his mental state would put him on a path to spend more than 22 months of solitary confinement in a New Mexico county jail, despite never having his day in court. This week, he reached a $15.5 million settlement with Dona Ana County.
Soon after his arrest, it was determined that Slevin suffered from depression. An official also said he was a suicide risk. Those concerns evidently led to his being put in solitary confinement, where he was forgotten and neglected. Slevin’s efforts to get help while in jail were consistently ignored. His attorney says a doctor routinely wrote prescriptions for Slevin without seeing him in person.
During his confinement, Slevin’s mental and physical health deteriorated. He told local KOB-4TV that he resorted to pulling his own tooth after he was denied access to a dentist. He lost weight and developed a fungal infection on his skin; his hair and toe nails grew long and unkempt.
- ‘Horrific’ New Mexico shooting leaves 5 dead; investigators arrest 15-year-old (CNN, Jan 21, 2013):
Sheriff’s investigators combed through what one called a “horrific” crime scene Sunday after the shooting deaths of five people, three of them children, at a home outside Albuquerque, New Mexico.A well-known local pastor and four of his relatives were among the victims, according to those who knew him.
Each victim was shot multiple times, said Lt. Sid Covington of the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department, and one of the weapons used was what he described as an assault rifle. Sheriff Dan Houston said a 15-year-old boy, who “may be a family member,” was charged with two counts of murder and three counts of child abuse resulting in death.
- What Does It Mean that Residents in All 50 States Have Filed Petitions to Secede? (ZeroHedge, Nov 16, 2012):
A lot of attention is being given to the fact that residents in all 50 states have filed petitions to secede from the United States.
Daily Caller reports:
By 6:00 a.m. EST Wednesday, more than 675,000 digital signatures appeared on 69 separate secession petitions covering all 50 states, according to a Daily Caller analysis of requests lodged with the White House’s “We the People” online petition system.
Petitions from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Texas residents have accrued at least 25,000 signatures, the number the Obama administration says it will reward with a staff review of online proposals. (RELATED: Will Texas secede? Petition triggers White House review)
The Texas petition leads all others by a wide margin.
States whose active petitions have not yet reached the 25,000 signature threshold include Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming.
Fourteen states are represented by at least two competing petitions. The extra efforts from two states — Missouri and South Carolina — would add enough petitions to warrant reviews by the Obama administration if they were combined into petitions launched earlier.
Tags: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Barack Obama, California, Collapse, Colorado, Connecticut, Debt, Delaware, Dollar, Economy, Global News, Government, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Obama administration, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Politics, Rhode Island, Ron Paul, Society, South Carolina, South Dakota, U.S., Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
- Head of NM resource protection office resigns (AP, Jul 20, 2011):
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – The head of the resource protection division at the New Mexico Environment Department has resigned, but the agency isn’t offering any details.
Department spokesman Jim Winchester confirmed Jim Davis’ resignation was effective Tuesday morning.
Winchester also confirmed that the department restructured some operations Monday and that included removing the state’s hazardous waste bureau from Davis’ division.
The bureau is responsible for oversight and technical guidance related to the generation of hazardous waste as well as its storage and disposal.
This includes work at Sandia and Los Alamos laboratories and the federal government’s nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico.
To see the actual results visit the link.
- New Las Conchas Fire Air Sample Monitoring Information (New Mexico Environment Department (Radiation Control Bureau), July 11, 2011):
The air sample monitoring units were set in various locations and managed by the DOE Radiological Assistance Program as requested by the New Mexico Environment Department. The air sample monitoring and locations were validated for accuracy by the New Mexico Environment Department, Radiation Control Bureau.
- Concerns rising over US plans to build massive plutonium bomb factory in Los Alamos (PressTV, July 4, 2011):
Experts are warning about the U.S. plans to build a massive plutonium bomb factory in the Los Alamos nuclear plant in New Mexico.
“They are proposing to build this new facility to make the plutonium production for weapons production four times (than) their current capacity of 20 pits per year,” said Subhankar Banerjee, Founder of ClimateStoryTellers.org.
“This is a very bad plan to build a massive nuclear bomb facility within a fire zone and the fires are only getting worse with climate change and it is also sitting on a very active seismic zone that (the) scientists have underestimated seriously but those results are coming out now and it’s also sitting in between Valles Caldera which is a super volcano and on the west and then on the east is [the] Rio Grand river which is our main water source. So we are working on … we are getting the public engaged to oppose this nuclear facility right now so it’s both fire, nuclear and Native American devastation all happening right now in New Mexico,” said Banerjee.
- Fukushima Spews, Los Alamos Burns, Vermont Rages & We Almost Lost Nebraska (Hawaii Daily News, June, 29, 2011):
Humankind is now threatened by the simultaneous implosion, explosion, incineration, courtroom contempt and drowning of its most lethal industry.
We know only two things for certain: worse is yet to come, and those in charge are lying about it—at least to the extent of what they actually know, which is nowhere near enough.
Indeed, the assurances from the nuke power industry continue to flow like the floodwaters now swamping the Missouri Valley heartland.
But major breakthroughs have come from a Pennsylvania Senator and New York’s Governor on issues of evacuation and shut-down. And a public campaign for an end to loan guarantees could put an end to the US industry once and for all.
FUKUSHIMA: The bad news continues to bleed from Japan with no end in sight. The “light at the end of the tunnel” is an out-of-control radioactive freight train, headed to the core of an endangered planet.
Widespread internal radioactive contamination among Japanese citizens around Fukushima has now been confirmed.
Two whales caught some 650 kilometers from the melting reactors have shown intense radiation.
Plutonium, the deadliest substance known to our species, has been found dangerously far from the site.
- Q&A: Is New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory Really Safe? (TIME, June 29, 2011):
Los Alamos, N.M. is feeling the heat this week as it battles the Las Conchas wildfire that has been raging since Sunday.
Caused by a fallen power line, the blaze — which spans more than 108 miles — has destroyed about 61,000 acres of the Santa Fe National Forest and forced the evacuation of the town of Los Alamos (population 11,000). Worse, the fire is creeping dangerously close to the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), one of the country’s biggest nuclear research facilities. At risk are 20-30,000 drums of Cold War-era plutonium-contaminated waste that are sitting above ground in fabric tents in Technical Area 54 within the Area G section.
- ‘Hoping for the best’: Firefighters battle blaze at edge of Los Alamos nuclear complex (MSNBC, June 28, 2011):
Flames licked at the boundary of the laboratory site, home to the nation’s largest supply of nuclear weapons.
The laboratory was shut down, and the town of Los Alamos, home to about 12,000 people, was placed under a mandatory evacuation Monday afternoon.
However, the facility called in special teams to track readings from a network of 60 monitoring stations that measure levels of substances such as plutonium and uranium in the air “as a precaution,” said lab director Charles McMillan.
U.S. Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico, who was visiting evacuees at the Santa Claran Hotel Casino in Espanola, said “there’s no doubt” the lab stores a variety of hazardous and radioactive materials that “you don’t want to escape in the atmosphere.” But he said he was confident lab and state environmental officials had monitoring systems in place to “evaluate exactly what we’re seeing here.”
Fires have burned as close as one mile from the government lab – threatening buildings, power lines and gas lines, officials said.
- Los Alamos lab still under threat from blaze (CBS NEWS, June 28, 2011):
The anti-nuclear watchdog group Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety said the fire appeared to be about 3.5 miles from a dumpsite where as many as 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste were stored in fabric tents above ground. The group said the drums were awaiting transport to a dump site in southern New Mexico.
Lab officials at first declined to confirm that such drums were on the property, but in a statement early Tuesday, lab spokeswoman Lisa Rosendorf said such drums are stored in a section of the complex known as Area G. She said the drums contain cleanup from Cold War-era waste that the lab sends away in weekly shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.
- Los Alamos Evacuated; Fire Crews Concentrate on Nuclear Lab (Israel National News, June 28, 2011):
Los Alamos National Laboratory is indelibly etched in historical memory as the hatching site of the Manhattan Project, the effort which created the first atomic bomb. The world’s largest nuclear weapons arsenal is still located there. Now a raging wildfire has forced the evacuation of the surrounding town of Los Alamos (population 12,000)..
Given the recent Japanese disaster at Fukushima, the fear of course is that a natural disaster can morph into a nuclear one. Firefighters are therefore concentrating on keeping the blaze out of the laboratory. “If it spots on the lab, we’ll get really aggressive about putting it out,” Los Alamos Fire Chief Doug Tucker said.