Radiation spikes at WIPP nuclear facility — Hits highest levels since initial hours of radioactive release in February — Document link removed from official website — Gov’t analyzing samples for “potential impact on human health”

Published: June 27th, 2014 at 12:04 am ET
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214 comments


Station A and B Filter Readings for Public Release 6-16-14, New Mexico Environment Department Air Filter Station Sampling Data (pdf):

(Note: Measurements are taken after air passes through the filtration system. Also, the June data is shown in 4-hour intervals, while most in February are around 8 hours.)

*See the archived version of the NMED’s document list here and the current version here

NMED Presentation to the Legislative Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee on June 10, 2014 (posted 6/26) (pdf):

Environmental Monitoring at WIPP and Vicinity […] What Will the Data Tell Us?

  • Extent of contamination in the environment
  • Impact of the event on the environment
  • Potential impact on human health
  • Provide correct information to policy makers

See all documents released publicly by the NMED related to the radiation incident here

Published: June 27th, 2014 at 12:04 am ET
By

214 comments

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214 comments to Radiation spikes at WIPP nuclear facility — Hits highest levels since initial hours of radioactive release in February — Document link removed from official website — Gov’t analyzing samples for “potential impact on human health”

  • Angela_R

    The link to this presentation, (and I should correct, it is a summary of some comments made to the Blue Ribbon Commission,) can be found @ http://www.wncpsr.org/the-blue-ribbon-commission-draft-report/the-blue-ribbon-commission-bus-ride-to-augusta

    Did the 2004 Amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill also allow High Level Waste to be transported to WIPP?

    Some insight is gained to the tremendous difficulties encountered in the disposal, or entombment of nuclear waste from articles such as this.

    • Shaker1

      Great link, Angela. It's well past time for some difficult decisions from all sides, even from myself who opposes nuclear and transportation of masses of these materials. We have to face facts that stopping today would be great and a first step, but that the material already in existence is truly staggering and dangerous. I may have partaken the opposing side years ago in WIPP discussions that relied upon 'we have to do something with it' for its basic support premise, and I would still unquestionably oppose any other similar site strategy, but something does have to be done with it. And it's one thing to talk about what has been the production by government and its agencies, then another to talk of commercial production and its even poorer record and expectation as to handling it well when just this side of the threat of force. To the comercial sector, it's 'used up' in its economic potential and abandonment of the trash is generally the next step in their line of rationale.

    • Radio Radio

      I've been looking for the answer for a while ow! Thanks, AR!

  • razzz razzz

    M5.2 – 50km NW of Lordsburg, New Mexico. That's about 300 miles from WIPP.
    http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/usc000rnfe#summary

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  • dunkilo

    More WIPPY-pop??We all shall have some!!! what choice do we have??

  • jec jec

    5.0 Earthquake, Lordsburg, New Mexico..with a lot of 3.+ quakes today! This is not a fracking site, no previous fault lines..so either a new fault line..or something else. Near WIPP by about 40 miles or so. Thats nothing in geologic terms. Wonder if the containers got shaken and stirred…

    http://www.decodedscience.com/what-caused-the-m5-2-arizona-earthquake-of-29-june-2014/47161

    DOE and WIPP better do more research…shake rattle and roll is not good for the liquid and Plutonium high level waste stuffed in the metal drums. UH..is shaking allowed? Guess so..since liquid and high level waste was supposed to be banned from WIPP. Whats a little rumbling underground to worry DOE/WIPP or EPA…??? EPA, of course, has new design for office space–their REVOLUTONARY port-a-potty halls. I would laugh if I could stop crying…

  • jec jec

    Radiation monitors off at Carlsbad NM after about 9:30 AM. Same as Tuson..did the 5.0 quake do that? Or does EPA/DOE not want the public to see what the shake up did..??? If bad enough to stop a radnet station..its bad at WIPP too…

    • jec jec

      The private NETC monitors run by volunteers..show data past 9:30 AM. Now either the EPA RADNET sites were shutdown by accident..several around WIPP!!! How unusual?? Or EPA got their porta-pottys full and could not get thru the hallways due to their personal "SH_T" on the carpets. Gives a total new "view" of environmental protection..doesn't it?

      • jec jec

        Most NETC show background changes, usually BETA. Hence they show lower values in the double digits, correct Harlan if this is wrong. However, EPAs RADNET is showing GAMMA radiation. RADNET can show AM, or can, which can be the daughter of Plutonium..as AM gives off gamma radiation.

        Now this is my own interpretation..not scientific..just my look at the situation. Feel free to comment and modify if you have a better explaination, you all.

        • razzz razzz

          The guy disqualifies himself before he starts his diatribe but some of the included facts are interesting. Notice how plutonium does not travel alone even from weapons grade amounts. We never get the complete breakdown of isotopes released then, now or later at WIPP just bits and pieces.

          "…Plutonium is a heavy metal and as such is toxic. There are many heavy metals that are more toxic however. Since I'm a Radiological Engineer and not an Industrial Hygienist I'll leave the heavy metal toxicity discussion at this point.
          For the purposes of this discussion we'll assume that the plutonium in question is weapons grade. In this grade of plutonium the desired isotope is Pu-239. Several other isotopes are present however. In addition to the Pu-239 are Pu-238, Pu-240, Pu-241, Pu-242 and Am-241 (americium). The Am-241 is the result of the beta minus decay of Pu-241. Am-241 is primarily an external dose hazard since it's predominant decay mode is to emit a 59.5 keV photon. The plutonium isotopes, with the exception of the Pu-241, are alpha particle emitters…"
          http://www.physics.isu.edu/radinf/pluto.htm

    • bf9 bf9

      Several of my friends felt the EQ all the way in Phoenix last night, I got a few texts joking- "There goes WIPP…"

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Bolts falling .. chunks falling ..etc..future gas build ups…more plutonium reaching critical mass..
    Not good..

  • rogerthat

    http://eurekamag.com/research/019/556/019556215.php

    Nuclear waste handling technology for underground storage at WIPP

    Stachon Z.; Brunnenmeyer R. L., 1983: Nuclear waste handling technology for underground storage at WIPP. Pages 25-31 1983

  • rogerthat

    http://eurekamag.com/research/030/071/030071201.php

    Analyzing a nuclear repository with a chemically reactive backfill; WIPP with MGO

    Bredehoeft John; Hall Philip, 1996: Analyzing a nuclear repository with a chemically reactive backfill; WIPP with MGO. Abstracts with Programs – Geological Society of America 28(7): 169

  • rogerthat

    http://www.topix.com/forum/us/doe/TVM0J3A8M9SL0OAGO

    Workplace secrecy agreements appear to violate federal whistleblower laws
    14 hrs ago | Posted by: roboblogger | Full story: The Washington Post
    In November 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy asked contract employees at the Hanford plutonium processing plant in Washington state to take an unusual oath.

  • rogerthat

    http://www.environmentguru.com/pages/elements/element.aspx?id=1626179

    URS Corporation is seeking a Senior Operations Engineer to be based at our Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, NM…

  • rogerthat

    http://news.yahoo.com/evacuation-plans-stir-fresh-doubts-over-japan-nuclear-113337938–finance.html
    Evacuation plans stir fresh doubts over Japan nuclear restarts
    By By Kentaro Hamada
    3 hours ago
    … Any town within a 30-km radius of a nuclear plant must create an evacuation plan, while schools, hospitals and elderly care facilities are asked to set their own emergency plans.
    Kiyoko Kojima, 75, who works at a day-care center 13 km from the plant, said the facility, with 60 children in its charge, had no evacuation plan.
    "I haven't heard anything about an emergency plan. I'm not even sure whether we wait for the parents to come pick up the children or we evacuate right away," she said.
    In the event of an accident at Sendai, more than 210,000 residents would have to be moved.
    In Ibusuki, a town 80 km south of Ichikikushikino, one reception center is a run-down, two-storey building for 90 evacuees, providing only 2 sq meters per person.
    Researchers say local governments lack expertise and resources to make preparations.
    "There aren't enough people at the state and local level doing simulations of evacuation plans," said Hirotada Hirose of Tokyo Woman's Christian University.
    "This plan is based on a set of highly unrealistic assumptions and I have to question whether this is a true simulation."
    National regulators are unlikely to step into the breach.
    The newly established Nuclear Regulation Authority is bogged down in regulatory hearings since laying…

  • rogerthat

    … stringent guidelines for plant restarts a year ago. Officials reject any notion of a more active role in emergency planning.
    Even supporters of restarts have doubts about the plans.
    Toyoji Fukuzono, 61, a retired fisherman, questioned a route requiring 1,600 residents to travel down a narrow road that routinely floods at high tide.
    "We just want you to consider actual road conditions," he told a town hall meeting. "You know there's regular flooding and landslides."

    – all this to boil an egg. looney tunes. to boil an egg, we risk the emergency evacuation of hundreds of thousands, conceivably of tens of millions, of people who instantly become impoverished permanent refugees. we risk the permanent contamination of tens of thousands of square kilometres of the earth's surface surrounding the nuclear plant. there are 450 commercial nuclear reactors, many past their initial design life, in the world, and 70 more are planned or under construction. we must like boiled eggs A LOT.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    Quote:
    “potential impact on human health”

    Did I just read the word "potential"…
    REALLY??!!..Potential

    Come On!!..Potential??!!!
    REALLY ..

    WIPP officials admit new release of Plutonium and Americium — More expected in future…
    I think the word "potential" can be eliminated

    We can't coexist in a World of Radiation

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  • We Not They Finally

    The very fact that they are even looking at "potential impact on human health," rather than the usual "no threat to human health"…. means they know that it can only be bad.

  • rogerthat

    http://energy.gov/em/articles/wipp-takes-second-mine-rescue-competition

    this:
    http://www.flutrackers.com/forum/showthread.php?p=538581
    has this:
    https://nmgs.nmt.edu/publications/gu…0233_p0242.pdf
    INTRASTRATAL KARST AT THE WIPP SITE, SOUTHEASTERN NEW MEXICO*
    CAROL A. HILL
    Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, [email in linked article]
    ABSTRACT. — The possibility of intrastratal karst at the WIPP site has been evaluated with respect to karst principles and processes and to dissolution/hydrological studies. While little direct evidence exists for intrastratal karst at the WIPP site, many indirect lines of evidence suggest the possible presence of karst: surface topographic depressions, negative gravity anomalies, lack of surface runoff, collapse breccias, insoluble residue horizons, WIPP-33 sinkholes and caves, anomalous drawdowns, and salinity variations within boreholes. Intrastratal karst, if it exists, would bypass slow matrix flow in the Culebra Dolomite aquifer and be subject to fast flow in cave conduits.
    SUMMARY
    Karst aquifers pose more problems to the hydrologist than any
    other because their characteristics are poorly defined and water
    flow within them is of a very particular type. With direct observations
    limited to caves, boreholes, and recharge and discharge, the
    rest of the aquifer characteristics must necessarily be deduced from
    indirect evidence…

  • rogerthat

    … indirect evidence. indirect evidence. One cannot treat the system as a “black box”
    – such treatment can be far removed from physical reality and tell
    one little about the structure of the aquifer and how it really operates.
    This is especially true for intrastratal (covered) karst.
    In the case of the WIPP site, documenting intrastratal karst by
    direct evidence is very difficult. The method of recharge is diffuse,
    so that dye cannot be easily put into the system in order to
    trace water from input to output. The discharge point is unknown,
    and possible discharge springs (e.g., Malaga Bend) have not yet
    been monitored hydrographically to correlate with rainfall on and
    around the WIPP site. And, without the parameters of recharge
    and discharge, water balance studies are hypothetical at best.
    With deep, phreatic, intrastratal karst such as may possibly exist
    at the WIPP site, caves cannot be explored and geophysical techniques
    cannot detect caves that deep. Many boreholes have been
    drilled at the WIPP site, but even their lack of intersection with
    caves is not a guarantee that instrastratal karst is not present.
    It should be kept in mind that while well and drawdown tests
    have characterized fracture and matrix flow in the Culebra dolomite
    aquifer, they have not characterized possible channel network
    flow that may be occurring between wells. To quote Palmer
    (1995, p. 61): “The laminar flow so commonly detected by well
    tests is tributary to conduits that…

  • rogerthat

    … to conduits that convey water and contaminants
    at high velocities to spring outlets. Unless monitor wells happen
    to intercept these conduits, contaminants can pass right between
    them without the slightest chance of detection.”
    ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
    This project was funded by DOE/Sandia Labs under Contract
    #BF-4551. Derek Ford and Ken Johnson reviewed the manuscript.

    I find this interesting because there is a lot of radioactive material at WIPP, much of it already effectively in the environment because the containers in which it was delivered decay fairly quickly – within about five years???. so if the WIPP salt mine 2000 feet underground has running through it ''conduits that convey water and contaminants
    at high velocities to spring outlets'', wouldn't be a good idea to test – and keep on testing – spring water within a wide radius of the WIPP site? It seems to me ''at high velocities'' suggests something a little short of 10,000 years.

  • rogerthat

    http://www.postregister.com/articles/opinions/2014/07/01/guest-column-lessons-new-mexico

    New Mexico Environment Department Home Web Site …
    http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/
    -server is not responding

    http://newmexicomercury.com/blog/comments/provincial_matters_6_30_2014
    contains this:
    Apparently the “kitty litter” solution was dreamed up by a man in Carlsbad who has been an ardent WIPP supporter and who, in fact, would like to see all of the nation’s nuclear waste – high level military and commercial – stored there. What better way to deflect attention from WIPP than to implicate Los Alamos in a hare-brained scheme. – See more at: http://newmexicomercury.com/blog/comments/provincial_matters_6_30_2014#sthash.QxeHeOko.dpuf

  • rogerthat

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/01/business/international/toshiba-and-gdf-suez-push-ahead-on-british-nuclear-plant.html?_r=0

    LONDON — Toshiba, the Japanese industrial giant, and the French utility GDF Suez have announced plans for moving ahead with a new British nuclear power station, adding momentum to the country’s atomic energy program.
    The facility, called Moorside, would be located in northwest England near the Irish Sea and would eventually have three Westinghouse reactors, supplying close to 7 percent of Britain’s power, the companies said on Monday…

  • We Not They Finally

    were very glad to return to the east from NM.feb 4th we were probably blasted by whiip..useless scum of human beings caused this diseaster.I relly hope they burn in hell for this…

  • General User General User

    @ rogerthat, I am happy to find all these nuggets of info, and do not mind if they are on 'old threads'.
    I have been researching the width/breadth of the great salt plane that wipp is lodged in. Very frightening that along with miSPelling errors the aquifer 'waters' serve thousands of people.

    google this subject;
    Krypton-‐81 in Groundwater of the Culebra Dolomite Aquifer
    near the Waste IsolaXon Pilot Plant, New Mexico.
    kris.kuhlmans.net/papers/Sturchio-H13I-1490-poster-final.pdf

    • rogerthat

      Hi GU, yes i don't understand why people can't see what's obvious. If you bury nuclear waste in containers designed to disintegrate in a few years in the middle of salt through which water courses, sooner or later that radiation is going to contaminate the aquifers and spread far and wide. So before you decide where to live, check which way the water flows and check which way the wind blows.

  • General User General User

    @ WNTH Glad to have you here on the East side. So far minimal FUKU impact here in Pennsylvania. Although I did see a few Cs137 clouds last week. Closer and closer it comes

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