Alarm after ‘unusually high’ radiation levels at U.S. nuclear site — Gov’t: “We’ve never seen a level like we are seeing… I can’t tell you the amount” — Could be Plutonium — ‘Unclear’ how much radiation released — Unprecedented event (VIDEO)

Published: February 16th, 2014 at 5:45 pm ET
By

103 comments


Reuters, Feb. 16, 2014 (emphasis added): Unusually high levels of radioactive particles were found at an underground nuclear waste site in New Mexico on Saturday in what a spokesman said looked like the first real alarm since the plant opened in 1999. […] radioactive waste, such as plutonium used in defense research and nuclear weapon making, is dumped half a mile below ground […] But I believe it’s safe to say we’ve never seen a level like we are seeing. We just don’t know if it’s a real event, but it looks like one,” [Energy spokesman Roger Nelson] said. It was not yet clear what caused the air-monitoring system to indicate that radioactive particles were present at unsafe levels, Nelson said. […]

AP, Feb. 16, 2014: WIPP […] takes plutonium-contaminated waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory and other federal nuclear projects. [….] Nelson says the cause of the leak is not known […] He couldn’t quantify the level it takes to trigger the monitors […] We are going to take measurements and make sure we understand it” before sending in a team, he said.

Carlsbad Current Argus, Feb. 16, 2014: “These are radionuclides that are of a hazard if inhaled […] the primary concern for the release of this nature is (through) the ventilation passageway […] I can’t tell you the amount or level but they were elevated and above normal, above background,” Nelson said of the radiation that was detected airborne near Panel 7, Room 7, in the south salt mine. According to Nelson this is the first time in WIPP’s 15-year history that the facility has had a CAM alarm detect this level of radiation underground […] WIPP entered emergency status less than two weeks ago, when an underground fire was reported […] underground operations have been suspended since the incident […]

UPI, Feb. 16, 2014: […] it was unclear exactly how much radiation has been released from the WIPP. “Additional sampling is going on. We have employees sequestered in place so that we minimize any potential for airborne inhalation,” [said Nelson.]

Watch the KREQ broadcast here

Published: February 16th, 2014 at 5:45 pm ET
By

103 comments

Related Posts

  1. US Official: Large amounts of radioactive particles were released during initial ‘puff’ event at leaking nuclear site — Expert: Plutonium can travel ‘a long way’ in wind — TV: “They’re saying we shouldn’t worry… yet; Yet is the key word” (VIDEOS) February 25, 2014
  2. Mexicans concerned, anxious about WIPP radiation release — City of 2.5 million nearly 200 miles away “within transnational evacuation zone in event of a nuclear disaster” — Local officials meeting with U.S. gov’t — Whistleblower: If plutonium released “surrounding population should take precautions” March 26, 2014
  3. Airborne plutonium detected outside troubled U.S. nuclear facility — Expert: ‘Radiation event’ appears to have occurred, leading to a release; “Levels are highest ever detected” around site February 19, 2014
  4. 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) March 25, 2014
  5. 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) April 24, 2014

103 comments to Alarm after ‘unusually high’ radiation levels at U.S. nuclear site — Gov’t: “We’ve never seen a level like we are seeing… I can’t tell you the amount” — Could be Plutonium — ‘Unclear’ how much radiation released — Unprecedented event (VIDEO)

  • High radiation readings may be locally sourced and not from Fukushima. Especially in USA and Europe.

    • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar VanneV

      RAdiation from Fukushima circles the globe every 40 days. And sea spray reaches inland at least 1000 miles from the coast.

      One can look at PEA graphs before Fukushima and after Fukushima. Even when there is local radiation, Fukushima has raised these levels even more. Death rates have increased. Cancer rates have undoubted increased and hypothyroidism and diabetes have also increased.

    • Arizonan Arizonan

      This radiation is not from Fukushima, not when the WIPP facility is so far underground. This is from something underground that is leaking out of the containers there in Room 7. Exactly WHY can't they tell us how much was released I wonder? Are the employees sheltering underground as well? Do we know anything? Has any radioactivity come to the surface?

      • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar VanneV

        No matter the huge amount of local radiation, there is always now added radiation from Fukushima. The spike is local, but all radiation around the world is continually increasing because there are still reactors operating, uranium mining is continuing, etc.7

        • Not discounting Fukushima radiation. But now authorities are forced to admit a plutonium spill in what should be a controlled facility. Nuclear mistakes happen wherever nuclear industry activities take place be it civilian or military. Authorities worldwide are slow to report radioactive releases. High radiation readings from average civilian detection equipment tells you nothing about source just high readings. Unless you have equipment that can measure energy levels to identify specific isotopes you cannot say with any certainty what the source is. Blaming Fukushima for possible release from a military source is fruitless. However this is an example of the subterfuge the public is exposed to. No nuclear military needs to report anything. Just saying how hard it is for the public to understand the complete radioactive situation with most governments pandering to the civilian and military nuke industry. US and Japan have good examples of this.

          • FallOut FallOut

            MAX ALERT! Nuclear Alert In New Mexico, We Suspect Fukushima Radon + Fallout & Spallation Products.

            FRIDAY evening, underground sensors at DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant detected elevated Airborne radiation levels. Obviously taking 48 hours to warn the public is unacceptable. Based on JetStream patterns we believe he source of this detection MAY be Fukushima; as such we expect a report out of the DOE blaming Radon as the source. The Fukushima event in question would have occurred around 2/8/14

            Hot Fukushima corium is steaming naturally radioactive Radon laden ground water on an industrial scale. It is ground water that has been in direct contact with the melted radioactive core, as such the steam also contains manmade radioactive materials.

            Of course the obvious question is how would airborne Fukushima fallout make it into an underground cavern? The answer is that the DOE caverns are ventilated with fresh air. That ventilation was isolated when the alarm system went off.

            One would hope that IF the source radiation was from the plant itself that situation would have been confirmed already and appropriate actions taken. It's possible that DOE is confused by the readings of Radon, Fukushima Fallout products, and possibly even short half life nuclear spallation products resulting from the interaction of Fukushima fallout and Solar flares.

            http://pissinontheroses.blogspot.com/2014/02/max-alert-nuclear-alert-in-new-mexico.html

    • 2014 – Radioactive Plutonium Plume Coming Out of New Mexico's WIPP – Geological Nuclear Radioactive Waste Isolation Pilot Plant; via @AGreenRoad
      http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2014/02/radioactive-plutonium-plume-coming-out.html

  • Alaskan Ice Alaskan Ice

    Seems a bit odd for the MSM to jump all over this while continuing to downplay Fukushima. I guess that's probably the point.

    • SykeWar(DELETED) SykeWar

      One has a happy ending and the other doesn't.

    • GQR2

      But look at the quality of information from the guy from the DOE. He sounds like a salesman. The not knowing is laughable. They know.
      Its big its an alert. He doesn't know if its real ??
      WTH really ?
      It like he gets called out to smooth things over. And the readings on the EPA stay low.
      The plutonium release must be beyond huge. and of course it doesn't take much. The winds are blowing here and its dry and dusty. gaaah
      I am a few hundreds miles N. of this site. Lets see fire last week reading setting off alarms this week…what could this be. No worries nothing to see here move along. Its insult to injury, non info.

    • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

      I have been watching every TV news available to me here in NM, and have seen nothing.

  • Ontological Ontological

    Yeah but the only forever after in this tale, is the half lives of certain ELEments.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar VanneV

    I can't see a happy ending for either event.

    The US and the world need to stop mining uranium and creating new nuclear waste. Anything else is insanity.

    Shut them all down.

  • Cdog Cdog

    Remember they just and the fire at WIPP a couple of weeks and claimed it was a vehicle that was not carrying waste. Seems to coincidental to me.

    • WWJD WWJD

      Cdog – I agree! Sounds like a coverup gone bad to me. They will likely use the TEPCO playbook of lies and just say the vehicle fire was the best information they had at the time, no coverup… go back to sleep.

  • ss.minnow

    http://www.cbc.ca/…/point-lepreau-leaks-toxic-...
    Nov 4, 2013 – … New Brunswick's Point Lepreau nuclear power plant into the Bay of Fundy, according to NB Power.
    "Everything's fine" No need for concern folks! Carry on now

  • MINI Carrington hits Australia today

    From the Article linked below. WHAT A JOKE. We just had the most Earth direct CME in years, hit yesterday, with readings flying off the charts.

    And the bonehead scientists, feeding bullshit to the no gum shoe reporters, blame the fires on "light rain". And the reporters don't question them on this?

    Weeks of dry weather combined with dust and light rain sparked a series of power pole fires last night.

    Up to 50,000 customers had been affected by the initial power outages.

    Uh, had anyone been paying attention to lousy electrical grids being likely to be taken down by Carrington like events? When small transformers blow out and start the poles on fire and disconnect the wires….that is actually a good thing. Because the small (and easy to obtain) transformers are sacrificed instead of the very large transformers that control power to say 200,000 people. The large transformers are not "in stock", and takes about 2 years to build after an order.

    http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2014/02/the-2014-mini-carrington-event-hits.html

  • RememberThis RememberThis

    Are these people trapped underground??

    I swear this event has never mentioned 139 people "sequestered" since the beginning….. or else I'm going insane.

    This story is changing fast and weird.

    If they have people trapped- GET THEM THE HELL OUTTA THERE!

  • Proton

    I don't see mention of any threat to public health… Any particles released?

  • Uranium_Mountain Uranium_Mountain

    Energy Department spokesman Roger Nelson was quoted as saying that he couldn't quantify the levels of radiation or that he can't tell us the levels. Why is that? Is he not informed or refusing to release the information? He also said, "I just can't think of a scenario where there would be a relationship." [AP 5:19 a.m. EST February 16, 2014] between the fire and the radiation now detected.
    If Mr. Nelson can't think of a scenario, I can and its a scary one. WIPP stores Plutonium waste in "particulate form so the risk is of inhalation not penetration." [AP 5:19 a.m. EST February 16, 2014] The scary scenario: A truck is set on fire causing smoke as a diversion blacking out cameras [if there are any] and causing the whole mine to clear of personnel while someone tampers with a holding vessel containing particulate waste, stealing some or moving it temporarily to a different location in the mine for eventual convenient removal and later the makings of a dirty bomb. Disturbing or moving the waste triggered an air monitor alarm. I'm certainly no expert on Nuclear waste but if one or more compromised employee's were paid enough and could get away with it, is it possible to steal nuclear waste in that facility without detection? Perhaps I'm thinking way over the top.
    What was the cause of the truck fire? What exactly is stored near Panel 7, Room 7, in the south salt mine? Will the contents of that room or other rooms be thoroughly checked for tampering or…

    • SykeWar(DELETED) SykeWar

      Very logical analysis of events. I don't believe in coincidence when gov't/corp/bank is involved.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Uranium Mountain, I've got another one for you. This kind of thing (FUBAR's?) happens all too often for my comfort!

      http://www.nytimes.com/2004/07/16/national/16lab.html

      July 16, 2004

      "After the disappearance last week of two removable data storage devices, officials at Los Alamos National Laboratory yesterday announced a halt to classified research while they conduct an inventory of sensitive data.

      The halt affects the majority of work at Los Alamos, one of the nation's two nuclear weapons research laboratories.

      The loss of the storage devices was discovered July 7 during preparations to run an experiment in the laboratory's weapons physics division. The devices have not been found.

      The security lapse comes as the contract for managing Los Alamos goes out to bid…. At the time, Mr. Abraham criticized the laboratory for "systematic management failure" in its business procedures."

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar VanneV

    Catastrophic Nuclear “Event” Prompts New Mexico Evacuation Fears
    By: Sorcha Faal, and as reported to her Western Subscribers
    February 17, 2014
    “A grim ‘Of Special Importance’ [highest classification level] report prepared by the State Atomic Energy Corporation (ROSATOM) circulating in the Kremlin today is warning that the ‘potentially catastrophic nuclear event’ currently unfolding at the United States atomic Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico has prompted the Obama regime to begin pre-staging government forces and equipment in the event a large-scale evacuation is needed.
    “According to this report, the United States Department of Energy WIPP is the world's third deep geological repository (after closure of Germany's Repository for radioactive waste Morsleben and the Schacht Asse II Salt Mine) licensed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste for 10,000 years that is left from the research and production of nuclear weapons.
    “A ‘highly significant’ portion of the nuclear waste being stored at the WIPP, this report continues, was the result of the recently completed 1993 HEU Purchase Agreement between the United States and Russia that saw 500 metric tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) from nuclear weapons downblended into low-enriched uranium and then sent to America where it was made into fuel for nuclear power plants, and of which US Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz stated, “For two decades, one in 10 light bulbs in America has…

  • timemachine2020 timemachine2020

    Guess that truck fire 2 weeks ago was worse than they told us. Say it ain't so! The nuke industry lying to the public? Never…

    Watch this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DPeaAmaoy9c

  • I made a partial list of "lies of nuke" and got this comment on my blog, HILARIOUS!

    AnonymousFebruary 16, 2014 at 2:09 PM
    You are demented and delusional. The list is a sign of someone with little training in nuclear engineering and science.

    Striking to the heart of the nukers, here is the list, add to it!!!

    http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2014/02/classic-one-liner-lies-of-nuke.html?showComment=1392600980458#c3060083523224222291

  • Daisy207

    In recent weeks we are hearing more and more about leaks of radioactive waste from facilities in the US – Hanford, SONGS, New Mexico today – are they planning on finally testing our food supplies, or water supplies, our food only to conclude that all contamination detected is from our own facilities – possibly so Price-Anderson claims can be valid to some extent. If they tested and concluded that what they will find is from Fukushima everyone affected – and their property values – are screwed. So is the mortgage backed security market. Gotta keep the economy going with fantasy values backing fantasy securities sold on the markets for real money. Gotto go and invest in more of those real estate investment trust accounts. They likely contain mortgage backed securities for real estate on the toxic west coast. Oh well Price Anderson claims will pay the bill – will that be funny money too.

    • James Tekton James Tekton

      "In recent weeks we are hearing more and more about leaks of radioactive waste from facilities in the US."

      Hi, Daisy.

      More and more from Farmington, NM also. There appears to be a place there that is leaking radiation into the northern and eastern areas of the states around them. There is a lot of blow off in the night from the Salt River Project in Page Arizona that goes off all over Colorado. This added to the uranium mining in Arizona up by utah in the Navaho Mining District is horrendous pollution. Lots of spillages there that combined with these other two, are slamming all of New Mexico, Arizona, utah, and Colorado going up to all points north. They are getting hit on the east coast with the fallout from many of these gassing at night nuklear power plants and no one knows, or cares.

      .

  • rockyourworld

    they covered up for the truck fire, now they're probably covering up damage to the ga nuke plant from the 4.5 earthquake in s.c. yes, 4.5 not the 4.1 they report now. I guess they'll tell us next week what if anything occurred

  • rogerthat

    There is no longer any plausible reason to fear that some ill-intentioned miscreant might create a ''dirty bomb''. Why would they bother, when the people they might wish to harm are doing such a good job of it themselves?

    • Uranium_Mountain Uranium_Mountain

      True Roger but such people that would do something like that would be creating more Chaos and Death. Seems that there is a lot of that going on these days. But true, why would they bother now when our own governments have done such a great job of doing nothing and hiding the truth?

  • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

    I had an "uneasy feeling" as I read the above and when I realized it was a follow-up to a recent report of an alleged semi-truck or dump truck,etc. that had an electrical fire or something minor that the site operators even sent the local fire dept. back home for when they responded to a report of fire or smoke(?)! So now it appears we can properly assume there HAS been a serious release if the 911 call for fire and/or smoke was in fact NUCLEAR in nature and was serious/large enough to be visible & seen on the surface??!!Is it true that plumes of burning,aerosolized Plutonium &/or similar Alpha emitters wouldn't even be seen or displayed on NETC.com or the other civilian radiation networks or via our "Cesium-Gamma" detector's in lieu of Scintillator-type devices??!! ANYONE??!! 😐

  • hoyeru

    "The Sheep looked up". Brunner predicted this will happen over 40 years ago in this little known book. Once again life imitates sci fi

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar VanneV

    152 CPM
    NETC.COM © 2014
    Station ID 5:635 Carlsbad, NM, US
    Click here for data charts
    CPM: current 152 Low 126 High 312
    Average 175, Deviation 29.9

    This doesn't seem too high.

    • Sickputer

      From anne's link:

      "Due to the late hour and the location of the incident, Sahd said there was little risk to employees. Those who were inside the above-ground area of the facility responded quickly and remained quarantined until radiological control technicians cleared them to go home.
      “No one was underground when the alarm went off,” Sahd said. “And everyone that was in the facility (at the time), we know where they are and we’ve tested them.”

      SP: I am sure that being quickly checked by a technician is not reassuring to the experienced nuclear workers. It might satisfy the majority of them, but radiation contamination via skin contact, ingestion or inhalation does not always show up during a field examination.

      So did they give them chelating supplements like sodium alginate? Vitamin C intravenous injections? Whole body scans?

      Of course not. They sent them home to excrete some of whatever they may have ingested during food breaks or breathed in. Wash it down into the public water system and recycle it for life forms and crops to experience nother day. Some particles do not excrete so easily and remain in tissue.

      Plutonium particles are like the purported pristine "miracle single bullet" theory that blew off Kennedy's head and glanced off Connally's bony wrist and just dropped from the hospital stretcher. Unscratched and unscathed and only believable to the Warren Commission. Atomic bullets never lose their firing power for thousands or millions of years.

  • Radiation in your water? This is what you need to detect and identify radionuclides

    http://www.perkinelmer.com/Catalog/Family/ID/Quantulus%20Family

    No idea the cost. 10 20 grand?

  • rogerthat

    "the solution for nuclear waste is a single permanent repository"

    ''the solution for nuclear waste is a pro-nuke suppository.''
    there, fixed it

  • WWJD WWJD

    I own the private New Mexico radiation monitoring station on NETC and I have tried in the past to convince the site host operator to setup my unit on an outside air purifier for better detections but still I have not been successful.

    It upsets me that people wait until it is too late before taking action!

    Buy an $85 geiger counter (GMC-200) and put it on an outside purifier on NETC for free.

  • Dr. Anne Lee Tomlinson Maziar VanneV

    Feb. 5:

    Minimal Damage From NM Nuclear Repository Fire
    CARLSBAD, N.M. February 5, 2014

    “…The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is the nation's first and only deep geological nuclear repository. It takes plutonium-contaminated waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory and defense projects, and buries it in rooms cut from underground salt beds.
    “Nevada's Yucca Mountain is another underground site built as a potential repository for used nuclear fuel, but it is not operational, said Rod McCullum, the director of used-fuels programs at the Nuclear Energy Institute.
    “The New Mexico facility receives 17 to 19 shipments each week from sites around the country, including Los Alamos and installations in Idaho, Illinois and South Carolina….”
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/fire-prompts-evacuation-nuclear-repository-22380709

    • Ontological Ontological

      Not operational… Nope, they are burying that like cat shit in Mercury NTS in the SAND. 400+ canisters will be trucked 100 feet from my house, as they go by to Mercury. But it's all fine when it is not YOUR back yard they throw it in huh?

  • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

    Interesting theory on the radiation detection at WIPP possibly being from Japan via the jet stream. From Potrblog…
    http://youtu.be/kAvr25WHwO8

  • Nick

    The ventilation sucked in the particles.

    Red Alert.

    Kinda sucks doesn't it?

  • rogerthat

    So what do we know? We know what we don't know. we don't know exactly what happened, we don't know exactly where it happened, we don't know why it happened. We don't know whether it will happen again tomorrow, whether it will get bigger, whether it will go away. We don't know how many workers have been ''sequestered'', or where, and we don't know what ''sequestered'' means in these circumstances.
    We don't know what ''unusually high'' radiation levels means. We don't know what radionuclides were released. We don't know how much radiation was released. We don't know whether releases are ongoing. We don't know what it takes to trigger the monitors, whatever that means.

    What we do know: ''These are radionuclides that are of a hazard if inhaled''.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    ENEnewsers who want to keep up on the developing New Mexico "nulear incident" should turn on to the Potrblog site.
    He is in St. Louis, and has two rad monitors, one inside and one outside, which you can monitor in real time on the Potrblog site.
    He is VERY concerned about the cloud of plutonium which will hit St. Louis shortly. (Me, too!). 😉
    The latest post:
    "VERY CONCERNING (Now Deleted) RADIATION REPORT OUT OF NEW MEXICO"
    Can be found here:
    http://pissinontheroses.blogspot.com/2014/02/weird-very-concerning-now-deleted.html
    Somebody (who will probably die soon) did a swipe off a car in the parking lot at the plant, and

    measured 1g of Plutonium per square meter! If so,

    They will SEAL this site, and nobody is EVER going back inside.

    But are we going to be hearing about this incident for years?

    You damn well betcha! 😉

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      "Millions of Disintegrations Per Minute per square centimeter"
      From Potrblog:
      "Last night a Twitter user https://twitter.com/PairofDeuces contacted us with information that a sample radioactive swipe taken at DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico returned a Plutonium reading in excess of Millions of Disintegrations Per Minute per square centimeter.

      "Such a reading would indicate that Plutonium was spread over the DOE site at a concentration very roughly around 1 gram per square meter. Given that the Plutonium would have had to come from an exhaust vent at the site, the airborne PLUTONIUM concentrations leading to such a surface level deposition must have been MUCH greater. Readings at that level would also imply an underground fire and/or explosion."

      PhilipUpNorth (with a bow to Sheldon's Green Lantern):
      When will the puny human race learn:
      You can MAKE plutonium,
      but you can
      NEVER GET RID OF PLUTONIUM.

      Still in love with your bad self, Nuclear Industry? 😉

    • rogerthat

      pretty scary world, where cars are plutonium-plated and no-one's allowed to tell. what do you do to keep safe, stop breathing?

  • rockyourworld

    I still believe fukushima was hit by an earthquake man made by our dirty govt so they can blame japan for the radioactive mess here at home.

You must be logged in to post a comment.