AP, May 21, 2014: Los Alamos National Laboratory [LANL] on Wednesday told state government it has isolated and is closely monitoring nuclear waste [...] packed with a type of cat litter suspected in a radiation leak at [WIPP]. [LANL] said the 55-gallon barrels have been secured in special containers and moved to an isolated area with a fire protection system. They also are being monitored 24 hours a day for any change in temperature, smoking or other abnormalities. [...] More than 100 other suspect containers are being stored temporarily at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas.
AP, May 23, 2014: Has cat litter turned barrels of New Mexico nuclear waste into ticking time bombs? [...] COULD THE OTHER BARRELS BE TICKING TIME BOMBS? [LANL] said it has packed them in special containers, placed them under a dome with a fire extinguishing system and is closely monitoring them. Waste Control Specialists has taken similar precautions. As for the more than 350 containers already at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Flynn has ordered the U.S. Department of Energy to expedite plans for sealing off the underground rooms where the waste is stored. Complicating that effort is the laborious investigative process [...] they are still working to see if other containers have been breached.
CNN Interview with Arnie Gundersen, May 21, 2014: ‘Imminent’ threat from radiation leak
- At :15 in — Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Chief Engineer: Barrels are above ground and still at Los Alamos, which is a major concern because this material gets more and more unstable as it gets warmer, and of course we’re heading into the summer months on the desert. So those barrels that are above ground, if they were to blow like the one that did below ground, we’d have a serious public health effect. [...]
- At 1:30 in – Gundersen: When the corn [in the kitty litter] absorbed the moisture, the nitrogen inside got very, very volatile. Almost like in these old movies when you see somebody holding nitroglycerin — any shake will cause it to be disturbed. Well that’s what happened to these canisters that have the organic kitty litter. They’ve got to go back through and find all of those and isolate them and then figure out how to change the litter.
Published: May 23rd, 2014 at 10:12 am ET