Expert: ‘Cracked’ nuclear container “blew top off” at WIPP — Hundreds more drums at dump risk ‘energetic reaction’ and radiation release — Insider: Get forklift and remove them before another accident — Official: No ‘imminent’ public threat ‘at this time’ (VIDEO)

Published: May 19th, 2014 at 1:56 pm ET
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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”

Reuters, May 16, 2014: An official with the New Mexico city near [WIPP] urged managers of the facility to remove improperly packaged drums of toxic debris to prevent another accident like a leak in February that released high levels of radiation. John Heaton […] pressed officials […] to remove potentially hazardous drums of refuse stored there. “Are we going to play footsie for another three months?” Heaton asked […] “How much longer before you make a decision to go get a forklift and go get those drums?” […] More containers of improperly packaged waste from Los Alamos pose potential hazards that should be addressed, Heaton said.

Southwest Research and Information Center, May 8, 2014 (emphasis added): On May 1, an internal DOE report stated that an “energetic chemical reaction” might have caused the radiation release. Although that report did not identify either the site or the waste stream, the suspected containers were from LANL, which DOE did confirm on May 2. Further shipments of that waste stream from LANL to [Waste Control Specialists in Texas] were halted. […] From that waste stream, there are 116 containers at WCS. From that waste stream, there are 54 containers in room 7, Panel 7 and 238 containers in Panel 6.

KOB, May 13, 2014: Dr. Jim Conca […] who monitored WIPP for years, said […] “Until we actually get that drum, the one that blew the top off, we really won’t know exactly what happened […] WIPP performed brilliantly; it performed exactly as it was supposed to […] It doesn’t matter that the drums are intact after the room is closed. The drums are assumed to corrode and break and everything else … That’s what it’s supposed to do,” he said.

KRQE, May 12, 2014: No one knows at this time when WIPP will be safe to reopen.

Watch video footage of the breached containers

Published: May 19th, 2014 at 1:56 pm ET
By

142 comments

Related Posts

  1. AP: Ticking time bombs of nuclear waste at multiple U.S. sites? Lab checking for smoking drums — CNN: “Imminent threat from radiation” — Gundersen: Serious public health effects if one blows; “Very, very volatile… like nitroglycerin” (VIDEO) May 23, 2014
  2. CBS News: “Potential ‘imminent’ threat from New Mexico nuclear waste” — Official: Risk of “substantial endangerment” to public health — 57 barrels of nuclear waste could rupture, came from multiple gov’t labs — ‘Unclear’ how many are now at WIPP — Being monitored for rise in temperature (VIDEO) May 20, 2014
  3. 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 May 21, 2014
  4. “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) November 17, 2014
  5. Video: WIPP nuclear site may close for several years — Explosion in multiple drums suspected — “Very much a cause for concern” — Top official gives ‘fiery speech’ calling for public to be told what has happened — DOE refuses to name source of nuclear waste May 9, 2014

142 comments to Expert: ‘Cracked’ nuclear container “blew top off” at WIPP — Hundreds more drums at dump risk ‘energetic reaction’ and radiation release — Insider: Get forklift and remove them before another accident — Official: No ‘imminent’ public threat ‘at this time’ (VIDEO)

  • We Not They Finally

    There should be a competency review for those who are endangering the Worlds ecology because they are to crazy to perform their duties….Of course if their bosses are even more incompetent what can we do?

  • 52Rockwell

    In this AP article they state that only 57 Containers are an Imminent threat. Very comforting.http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NUKE_REPOSITORY_RADIATION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-05-19-22-00-32

    Thats still enough that it is going to make New Mexico and Texas a nuclear wasteland.

  • jec jec

    And all points EAST of those locations–the jet stream will carry the poison.

  • mt1000

    Nuke Pro – The Radiation Still to go into WIPP can Contaminate the Entire Planet
    http://nukeprofessional.blogspot.com/2014/05/the-radiation-still-to-go-into-wipp-can.html

  • jec jec

    http://wipp.energy.gov/library/rhwaste/rhsec3.htm
    Have to laugh at the comments and what was definitely NOT followed:
    "The Agreement for Consultation and Cooperation (C&C Agreement) with the State of New Mexico [DOE and State of New Mexico, 1981] restricts RH canisters to less than or equal to 23 curies/liter maximum activity..limitation is also a statutory limitation in the LWA….In the Final Environmental Impact Statement, Waste Isolation Pilot Plant [DOE, 1980], the DOE specified a maximum dose rate of 100 rem/hr, which included both CH-TRU and RH-TRU waste forms. " and limits "TRU waste to 6.2 million cubic feet (~176,000 cubic meter(s)) [Public Law 102-579, 1992] and total RH curies to 5.1 million curies [DOE and State of New Mexico, 1981]. "
    Sounds like the Environmental Impact Statement was not followed..jail time for us regular folks!

    • jec jec

      And
      "The Department of Energy Waste Isolation Pilot Plant: Notice of Final No-Migration Determination (NMD) [EPA, 1990] requires that no container be placed in WIPP "if it contains flammable mixtures of gases in any layer of confinement, or mixtures of gases that could become flammable when mixed with air." Only 1% of volume allowed, and all containers to be vented/filters. The actual number of filters are CALLED OUT. Didnt see vents or filters on the containers. And since the contractor has to manually VENT the containers every month or so to prevent explosive gas buildup, think its safe to say they did not follow the RULEs.

      Still looking for (could have a prefix)P-196 container/inventory. If anyone finds the panel 7 inventory..give a shout out.

      • Sickputer

        There is no kitty litter problem. Just a smoke screen from the feds. It is a venting issue with corrosive and reactive chemicals in the barrels.

        They don't vent as required because:

        It is costly and slows down the mad dash to stack millions of pounds of nuclear waste inside their rathole salt cavern.

        They would need moonsuited workers to vent the barrels regularly (and replace the barrels with new ones every seven years as is recommended). Does it look like with 4,000 pounds of blowout bag filler weight on top of the stacks that they ever intended to do this job correctly? No!

        They would also need room HEPA filters while venting. Did they design for that? No!

        Do they give a damn about the pollution risks to New Mexico citizens or the neighbors in Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, and other surrounding states?

        Answer: Not until they got caught doing a very poor job of designing a million year safe toxic waste dump mine.

        I don't blame the onsite workers. The heads higher up knew the methods were faulty for years. They just hoped they could fill the mine and close it before tragedy struck. Even if they close it now there is no guarantee the waste will not move over centuries into underground water fissures leading to drinking water. They have always dismissed that as a low risk.

        Just like they thought the barrels would stay sealed until they had filled and closed the mine. Now who wants to forklift those barrels? When one might blow up in their face?

      • jec jec

        Report warns about use of cellulose and such due to fire hazard and combustion, however DOE mitigates this because no HEAT creating products should be in WIPP. HUM….fire…in containers = HEAT.

        Other articles mention cutting down on Magnesium Oxide for various reasons–again HUM….

        Still looking for panel 7 inventory…

  • jec jec

    One more jewel from EPA, their cancer calculations for radioactive Isotopes and cancer. They include LUNGS specifically(or hot particles).
    http://www.epa.gov/radiation/heast/docs/heast2_table_4-d2_0401.pdf

  • GQR2

    Zack Ponce is one A++ journalist. Yipes!! These crazy Nukist maniacs were doing dark matter experiments down there with xenon. good lord. In the article it also says they count on zero background radiation. So what was all that Tammy Reynolds was saying about all the Radon down there. hmmm WIPP needs to be closed,decommissioned as safely as possible. Its contaminated and they lie lie lie. and lie some more.
    http://www.currentargus.com/ci_25795012/

    • jec jec

      "The underground salt mines at WIPP are the perfect setting for the testing of physics because the Permian-aged rocks have about as close to zero levels of background radiation as you can find"..Statement was BEFORE they had the WIPP explosion(s), fire and radiation contamination. They talk of 'vacuming' up the soot…gads.

      • Sickputer

        Ok…who gets the short straw to vacuum up the soot in Room 7?

        Anybody? Anybody? C'mon guys there is only 1 chance in 200,000 another barrel will blow up while you run your Sears wet/dry vac.

        On second thought…bring in Robbie the Robot. He's game for anything. We got lots of yellow duct tape to stick that vacuum hose in his claws.

  • fishwharf

    I assume that's salt piled on top of those steel barrels. Yikes!

  • Nick

    I can just hear the Panels in WIPP as the drums go pffft boom puff!

    Every single barrel is suspect.

    But then is every single decaying atom EVER played with or created by man.

    Got it?

    Not one single decaying atom is okay…..ever. We don't need x-rays anymore, other technologies can see inside a body.

    Bet dentists are rethinking their zapping!

  • jec jec

    DOE broke a few more rules, by reading thru the 2013 inventory. Follow me on this, as its a bit confusing as one reads reports..lots of them.
    http://www.wipp.energy.gov/library/TRUwaste/ATWIR_2013_Rev_1.pdf
    In the Annual Transuranic Waste Inventory, page 388, found 'deleted shipped to WIPP 'and traced ONE shipment, SR-ARNS-HET. The report was made from 2012, published 2013. The 2012 generated document specified, DELETED SHIPPED TO WIPP. HOWEVER, the justification report is dated 2014.
    http://www.wipp.energy.gov/library/Information_Repository_A/Class_2_Permit_Modifications/13-0727_ENCL.pdf

    Guess this is why the report and inventory work got shifted to a new contract..hide and obscure.

    And in the 'Permit Mods'
    "waste incompatible
    with backfill, seal and panel
    closures materials, container and packaging materials, shipping container materials, or other
    waste are not acceptable at WIPP"

    Organic Kitty Litter is one item that comes to mind…

    Still looking for panel 7 inventory. Gads there are a lot of papers all pointing in circles. However, my past was writing engineering proprosals, and tracing old documents to find dirt on other contractors..who would have thunk…???

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I want to talk venting..
    What is the current level of …carbon tetrachloride.

    http://www.nuclearactive.org/news/012210.html

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I want to know how these and a whole bunch of other gases are removed before reaching the surface air?

    Just the materials used in shielding..is enough to kill a person several times over.

    Techniques and compositions for shielding radioactive energy

    http://www.freshpatents.com/-dt20090212ptan20090039318.php

  • Sickputer

    BTW.. If you haven't seen video of the smoke pouring from the WIPP mine February 5… Here is a good look:

    http://www.ruidosonews.com/ci_25066853/breaking-emergency-reported-at-waste-isolation-pilot-plant

    SP: So they closed operations after the truck fire and nine days later on Valentines Day the radiation monitors went off late that night and nobody was in the mine. The damaged drum/drums are in Panel 7, a room they got permission to build in 2013.

    My thoughts…did heat build up in Room 7 because of actions or inactions of the WIPP management? The world wonders…

    "The report states that it took 10 hours to respond to the initial emergency alarm, then a bypass in the filtration system allowed the radiation to escape above ground. “They failed to believe initial indications of the release,” said board chairman Ted Wyka. It also found that much of the operation failed to meet standards for a nuclear facility; a lack of proper safety training and emergency planning; lagging maintenance; and a lack of strategy for things like the placement of air monitors. Problems with oversight by the Department of Energy also were cited up the chain of command."

    Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/05/09/wipp-radiation-leak-study-released-doe-finds-probable-cause-154809

    • jec jec

      Ah sickputer wonderful comment, since Panel 7 was BUILT in 2013 the only inventory report is for 2012 containers. NO wonder no sign of the p-196 container that burned up. But there should be a transportation list or document for those containers.

  • razzz razzz

    From AP:

    'New Mexico says 57 nuke containers could be threat'

    "…Initial investigations into both accidents have blamed them on a slow erosion of the safety culture at the 15-year-old, multibillion-dollar site."

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Potential "imminent" threat from New Mexico nuclear waste, officials say
    May 20 2014

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/potential-imminent-threat-from-new-mexico-nuclear-waste-officials-say/

  • Nick

    Nuclear anything is a strange beast. You can't tell with your senses what is wrong with the picture. Only your instinct can pinpoint the evils.

    That is why we are where we are today.

    God damn us all.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    "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."

    500 WIPP barrels of questionable nuclear waste packed with kitty litter

    http://www.koat.com/news/500-wipp-barrels-of-questionable-nuclear-waste-packed-with-kitty-litter/26085874#ixzz32JAowWyx

    May 20 2014

    http://www.koat.com/news/500-wipp-barrels-of-questionable-nuclear-waste-packed-with-kitty-litter/26085874#ixzz32JAgVnJw

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    State: WIPP must permanently close underground panels
    5/20/2015

    http://www.currentargus.com/carlsbad-news/ci_25801473/state-wipp-must-permanently-close-underground-panels

    "The DOE must submit a plan to close Panel 6 and part of Panel 7 at WIPP within 10 days, according to the order."

    Yes..but how?

  • marq

    Not sure if it is related…but sometimes Hindsight is 20/20. I was curious about what was going on at LANL. I stumbled across this article http://www.defensenews.com/article/20140206/DEFREG02/302060033/Pentagon-Completes-Nuclear-Weapon-Upgrade-Test . Just a week before this WIPP thing started, they announced the completion of a Next Generation nuclear weapon. This B61-12 model reportedly recombines several different older nuclear weapons(?) and testing of the weapon occurred at LANL, and I assume some research and development. Is a "change in the kitty-litter", a euphemism — 'cause they were boasting about changing the kitty-litter in a bomb.

  • documen

    REMOVED

  • container65

    That's way nuclear loads and waste mush be inside a special container known as open top container like this one: http://www.metallourgia.gr/EN-open-top-containers.html
    These are made to be corrosion resistant with special build floor