High potential for “major calamity” at Los Alamos if fire reaches 20,000 barrels of nuclear waste in fabric-type building, says former top security official

Published: June 29th, 2011 at 7:47 am ET


Los Alamos Fire: EPA Testing for Radiation, ABC news. June 28, 2011:

[…] “It contains approximately 20,000 barrels of nuclear waste,” former top security official Glen Walp said. “It’s not contained within a concrete, brick and mortar-type building, but rather in a sort of fabric-type building that a fire could easily consume.

“Potential is high for a major calamity if the fire would reach these areas,” he added. […]

Published: June 29th, 2011 at 7:47 am ET


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24 comments to High potential for “major calamity” at Los Alamos if fire reaches 20,000 barrels of nuclear waste in fabric-type building, says former top security official

  • does anyone actually know what really will happen… I mean they really have the hardest time providing even the littlest of details…

    • SiGhKoTiK

      This is what I want to know.. Is the fire hot enough to melt the drums and let the stuff escape? Otherwise I dont really see the fear.. So what if it burns the tent as long as it’s sealed up??

      • radegan

        You’re assuming that they’re nice, new drums. Not aged and rusty. Lots of low level waste is fabric and paper, quite flammable. The best news is that they have foam onsite to apply but I’d bet they don’t have enough to cover all the bases.

    • Yes, the details are certainly variable at best.

      Only a day or so ago it was being reported that “30,000 barrels” (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/06/28/national/main20074950.shtml) are stored at the site (this 30,000 number was, however, from the Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety – the ones whose site got hacked the day after they said it).

      Now today it is only “20,000 barrels” according to the “former top security official”. Whether 20,000 or 30,000 it doesn’t really change this fact that the guy also stated:

      “Potential is high for a major calamity if the fire would reach these areas”

      • SteveMT

        Yes, Savvy. The devil is in those details, like is this “nuclear waste” PLUTONIUM? They seem to have reverted back to generalities.

    • milk and cheese milk and cheese

      well, the only ‘fabric-type building’ I can think of is a tent. It suits the clowns who planned the ‘safety features’ of these plants.

  • cossack55

    Well, I don’t know for certain but if the fire consumes the “tents”, I would think property values in the area could be problematic for about 12,000 years. Just sayin’.

  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Los Alamos Nuclear Lab And Thousands Of Plutonium-Waste Filled Drums Surrounded By Flames As Close As 50 Ft

  • sickputer2 sickputer2

    Doesn’t really matter if the drums blow or not… The real danger is the residual particles in the soil from 65 years of testing at and around the lab. The fire is spreading those fumes already and they don’t have any way of telling what is being vaporized. Watch the wind currents and downwind plumes and track the leukemia deaths for the next 30 years. Assuming anyone is left alive from Japanese fallout. Or Nebraska fallout. Or… Fill-in-the-blank next meltdown.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      SP2, you’re right, i didn’t think about the stuff in the soil to be brought up and billowing over the country…damn. in nuclear timeline, the testing in the 60s and 70s is not even a blink of an eye ago…

    • SteveMT

      Death will be determined by which way the wind is blowing, just like Fukushima.

  • milk and cheese milk and cheese

    Yes. It was a crime to begin this project, and now it is ending.

  • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

    One of the older headlines said that the nuclear waste in the drums is located at “Area G” on the site. Does anybody know where exactly that is? I couldn’t find a detailed map.

    • SteveMT

      B&B, More info about Area G: think plutonium.

      “And just where is all this nuclear waste coming from? Almost all of it is coming from nuclear weapons programs. Most people do not know that these programs have grown tremendously in recent years, and are now much larger than they were on average during the Cold War, even after correcting for inflation.”


  • dark_horizon

    God hates America.

  • alasanon

    I’m praying for *beautiful* New Mexico. It’s a really, really nice place!! Whatever happens, I’ll always remember it as one of my favorite trips ever, in large part due to such warm, kindly people!!! Culture, local cuisine, national parks, hiking, world-class galleries, scenery to die for, peaceful starry nights…I read the comments in the local news blogs–NM citizens are really mourning the destruction of their special landscape! 🙁

    • alasanon

      They also have a strong burgeoning solar power industry not far from Los Alamos Labs… We need that badly and a safe conclusion here!

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Humans are evolutionary failures….sigh…..

  • SteveMT

    Los Alamos Area G: Buried waste equivalent of 1.4 MILLION 55 gal. barrels!!!


    Did you know?

    Enough buried radioactive and chemical wastes to fill 1.4 million 55 gallon drums — plus 60,000 drums’ worth of temporarily-stored waste

    There is a nuclear dump just 19 miles from the Santa Fe Plaza. It’s called “Area G”.

    Expected to recieve 54,000 drums’ worth more waste each year, mostly from nuclear weapons production and testing

    Almost all of it is coming from nuclear weapons programs.


  • Net

    Hey, I don’t understand why in the world the government couldn’t immediately have the drums moved???!! They had time, the fire started several days ago. They said they were in a holding area to be picked up and be moved to Carlsbad. Nothing makes sense. How come someone in charge didn’t do that? Stupid …grrrr