Local news reports cavern filled with radioactive material may have collapsed — “Concerns swarm about what could leak out” around sinkhole (VIDEO)

Published: August 10th, 2012 at 2:23 pm ET


Title: Authorities monitor for radiation near sinkhole
Source: WBRZ Baton Rouge
Date: August 9, 2012

At 0:15 in

Anchor: Some are worried about radiation in the area now…

Reporter: That fear comes after Texas Brine was given the green light to fill its brine cavern with naturally occurring radioactive material years ago.

Now that scientist believe that cavern may have collapsed, concerns swarm about what could leak out…

See also:

  • [intlink id=”national-guard-giant-sinkhole-is-growing-in-louisiana-tests-for-radioactive-materials-in-air-and-water-underway-site-used-for-oil-and-gas-production-video” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]
  • [intlink id=”sheriff-warns-growing-sinkhole-could-be-catastrophic-near-1-5-million-barrels-of-liquid-butane-homeland-security-sinkhole-over-300-feet-wide-up-to-400-feet-deep” type=”post”]{{empty}}[/intlink]

Published: August 10th, 2012 at 2:23 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. Company Officials: Tremors have damaged salt cavern below sinkhole — 1,300 ft shallower than expected — ‘Dense material’ has fallen to bottom September 25, 2012
  2. Press Conference: Cavern below sinkhole has failed… and collapsed — Collapse may be ongoing (VIDEO) September 26, 2012
  3. TV: ‘Unidentfied’ and ‘dense’ material in cavern below sinkhole — Not like material normally found there -Officials (VIDEO) September 25, 2012
  4. Paper: Giant propane cavern also in vacinity of sinkhole — Capacity over 3 million barrels when added to butane cavern — Officials: “A lot of dynamic things” happening nearby August 15, 2012
  5. Officials: ‘Large chunks’ were knocked off salt dome when cavern collapsed — Giant sinkhole now getting deeper November 30, 2012

35 comments to Local news reports cavern filled with radioactive material may have collapsed — “Concerns swarm about what could leak out” around sinkhole (VIDEO)

  • Exactly what was the 'naturally occurring radioactive material' and why did it need to be stored in a cavern?

    Does 'naturally occurring' means 'safe'? It sort of implies that.

    Seems like fairly important reporter types of questions to me.

    Side point:
    Instead of using words like 'worried' and 'fear' why don't they say something like 'concerned' and 'aware'?

    • timebomb

      It's being stored deep undergroud in a salt cavern. Is that what people usually do with 'safe' material?

      Salt caverns are used as final disposal sites for high level nuclear waste.

    • Fred

      "Naturally Occurring" means just because we mined it and brought it to you, we can't be blamed for what it does, because it's "naturally occurring" in Siberia, or wherever we got it from.

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    Natural language is ambiguous at the best of times, but when media, "the authorities, spin artists and breaking news get together it is chaotic. Taking the story at face value (cough), one wonders:

    1. How does "Texas Brine" come to be in possession of enough "naturally occurring radioactive material" to fill a cavern?

    2. Does the "naturally occurring radioactive material" have a name? If so, what is it?

    3. How does a "filled cavern" collapse? A "filled cavern" is no longer a cavern.

    4. Who/what authorized "Texas Brine" to fill the cavern with "naturally occurring radioactive material"? Did the public have any say in the process? Who owns the land?

    On and on.

    • BreadAndButter BreadAndButter

      Thanks aigeezer. A voice of reason 🙂

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      I found the spin answer to question 2 embedded in one of the linked articles from The Advocate. In spin-world, Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material is NORM. As in "Don't worry, it's the norm".


      It says nothing about which elements or isotopes are involved, so there is no way to infer where the stuff came from, what the half-lives might be, or other risk-awareness details.

      It's the norm.

      I also found a partial answer to question 4 in one of the Adovcate pieces: "DNR’s Office of Conservation had authorized Texas Brine in 1995 to dispose of naturally occurring radioactive material in the now-possibly failed cavern." No mention of public awareness/involvement at the time.

    • Max1 Max1

      Oh, but the local public health said there was no radiation detected…
      … And that the water and soil samples will be tested and the 'results' will come back NEXT WEEK.

      So we know there is no radiological release because the soil and water samples won't be back until NEXT WEEK?

    • omniversling

      Like naturally occurring waste water from nuclear facilities? Kinda like the tank farm at FukuSteamer, only underground? That could be spun honestly. That radioactive water from nuclear facilities is kinda naturally occurring at a nuclear power plant. That's how it is when the tankers arrive there to collect it. In it's natural nukepuke contaminated state. The tanker drivers are all taught how to smile as they collect it…

  • flatsville

    There are places on the earth that have naturally high background radiation due to geological factors. There were ancient natural reactors like Okolo in Africa.


    I believe there was an ancient natural reactor in Australia?

    If anyone has a link, please post.

  • Cisco Cisco

    Louisiana, what’s a Geiger counter? Radiation, they don’t need to worry about radiation, the diesel fuel and fumes escaping from the mine will probably kill them first.

  • arclight arclight

    "..Within the past three years, similar fountains of oil and gas drilling waste have appeared in Oklahoma and Louisiana…"

    "..There are more than 680,000 underground waste and injection wells nationwide, more than 150,000 of which shoot industrial fluids thousands of feet below the surface. Scientists and federal regulators acknowledge they do not know how many of the sites are leaking…"

    ".."In 10 to 100 years we are going to find out that most of our groundwater is polluted," said Mario Salazar, an engineer who worked for 25 years as a technical expert with the EPA's underground injection program in Washington. "A lot of people are going to get sick, and a lot of people may die.".."

    ".."There is no certainty at all in any of this, and whoever tells you the opposite is not telling you the truth," said Stefan Finsterle, a leading hydrogeologist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory who specializes in understanding the properties of rock layers and modeling how fluid flows through them. "You have changed the system with pressure and temperature and fracturing, so you don't know how it will behave.".."

    "..Subterranean waste disposal, they point out, is a cornerstone of the nation's economy.."

    ".."The absence of episodes of pollution can mean that there are none, or that no one is looking," said Salazar, the EPA's former injection expert. "I would tend to believe it is the latter.".."

  • aigeezer aigeezer

    "the Texas Brine salt cavern had failed an integrity test in late 2010"

    Let the games begin:


    • aigeezer aigeezer

      "Waguespack and Boudreaux said then-DNR Secretary Scott Angelle told them in a meeting Saturday, a day after the sinkhole appeared, that the salt cavern may well have had “problems” in 2010, but Angelle did not disclose the failed integrity test….

      Angelle resigned Wednesday without giving a reason. A DNR spokeswoman said Thursday there is no connection between his departure and the Bayou Corne emergency."

      • Jebus Jebus

        This just goes to show that the industry is scared shirtless to let ANYTHING out to the public with the words Radioactive or Nuclear…

        Dome issues kept quiet

        Louisiana Department of Natural Resources and Texas Brine Co. officials knew at least since January 2011 that one of the company’s salt dome caverns may have developed problems now suspected of possibly causing a large sinkhole and unexplained natural gas venting in northern Assumption Parish swamps.

        An examination of DNR records, interviews, public statements and public meetings established the following:

        The possibly failed salt cavern may be closer to the outer wall of the Napoleonville Dome than Texas Brine officials believed.
        DNR defended the timing of its disclosures about the history surrounding the salt cavern as matching the emerging facts of the incidents in Bayou Corne.
        Sonny Cranch, Texas Brine spokesman, said company officials have been as surprised as anyone about a possible collapse of their salt cavern.
        DNR officials allowed Texas Brine to deposit naturally-occurring radioactive material arising from drilling into two company salt caverns, including the one that may have breached in the Bayou Corne area. As of Wednesday, state environmental officials had not tested the sinkhole for radioactivity.


        • aigeezer aigeezer

          Jebus, I'm impressed by the coverage in "The Advocate" at this early stage. It seems much more probing than anything out of Fukushima so far. Still a long way from knowing what's really going on, but it looks like a solid start. Thanks for the link.

          • Jebus Jebus

            Knowing the issue for a year and covering it up is expected…
            And criminal.

            The timing of the disclosure is suspect…
            Just as other news comes forward about all things nuclear…

            Never let a disaster go to waste…
            Keep the disaster news flowing towards the consumers, they won't know what to pay attention to…
            The media machine has been uprated and is operating at maximum power.

            Because of the alt news sites, cracks are beginning to show up in the media's primary containment.
            Don't let up people, never give up, never give in…

            • DUDe DisasterInterpretationDissorder

              Some tunes to ad extra psychological resonance Jebus 🙂


              Stand My Ground
              ——Within Temptation

              I can see
              When you stay low nothing happens
              Does it feel right?

              Late at night
              Things I thought I put behind me
              Haunt my mind

              I just know there's no escape
              Now once it sets it's eyes on you
              But I won't run,
              Have to stare it in the eye

              Stand my ground, I won't give in
              No more denying, I've got to face it
              Won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
              If I don't make it, someone else will
              Stand my ground

              It's all around
              Getting stronger, coming closer
              Into my world

              I can feel
              That it's time for me to face it
              Can I take it?

              Though this might just be the ending
              Of the life I held so dear
              But I won't run,
              There's no turning back from here


              All I know for sure is I'm trying
              I will always stand my ground

              Stand my ground, I won't give in (I won't give in)
              I won't deny (I won't deny)
              no more denying, I've got to face it
              won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
              if I don't make it, someone else will

              Stand my ground, I won't give in
              no more denying, I've got to face it
              won't close my eyes and hide the truth inside
              if I don't make it, someone else will
              stand my ground

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      The Advocate article (above) seems to be pointing fingers at the company (Texas Brine) and also at the State Department of Natural Resources.

      From the company website:

      "You can rely on Texas Brine to manage your storage and brine requirements with consistently high quality, reliability, expertise and innovation."

      "As a member of the American Chemistry Council the company emphasizes community involvement and awareness through the Responsible Care program."

      "Texas Brine is dedicated to excellence in all aspects of brine production, treatment and transport, and in the underground storage of gas and liquid. As a result our customers enjoy unparalleled quality, reliability and efficiency in brine and storage services."


      It will be interesting to watch whether their performance in this developing story matches their proud self-image.


      article excerpt: Sheriff Mike Waguespak (of Assumption Parish) says for next 40 days residents will see an increased presence of law enforcement. He says daily briefings will be held. "Rest assured we will do our level best to make sure your property is safe while you're evacuated," said Waguespak.

      "There are no more excuses. No more delays. We'll monitor daily and brief daily. Our eyes are open and we are fully engaged," he said.

      "Make no mistake about it, there are plenty eyes on this problem. Our biggest priority is to get you back to your homes."

      my comments: It's awesome to see real law enforcement on the job. All we ever see is ambivalence and obfuscation on the part of many who should be protecting the public. Hats off to Sheriff Waguespak. Now, if only those at the state and federal level were as aggressive in serving and protecting the public…

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    A Texas Brine letter dated Aug. 25, 1995, requesting the disposal says the radioactive “scale” had accumulated in soils around the two cavern wells. … EPA says the radioactivity of scale, a common byproduct of oil and gas exploration and production, can vary widely, from background to much higher levels. … Attorney Stuart Smith…specializes in NORM victim cases, explains: “NORM, an acronym for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material, includes all radioactive elements found in the environment. Long-lived radioactive elements such as uranium, thorium and potassium and any of their decay products, i. e radium and radon, have always been present in the earth’s crust and within tissues of all living beings. “Although the concentration of NORM in most natural substances is low, higher concentrations may arise as a result of human activities.

    • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

      Attorney Stuart Smith…specializes in NORM victim cases, explains: “NORM, an acronym for Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material, includes all radioactive elements found in the environment. Long-lived radioactive elements such as uranium, thorium and potassium and any of their decay products, i. e radium and radon, have always been present in the earth’s crust and within tissues of all living beings. “Although the concentration of NORM in most natural substances is low, higher concentrations may arise as a result of human activities. For example radium may be precipitated out in scale that forms in a natural gas processing pipe or radon decay products may concentrate on the turbine blades of a natural gas pump. … “Additionally, technologically enhanced levels of NORM or (TERM or TENORM) often build up in oilfield equipment used to collect and dispose produced water. Equipment such as downhole tubing, surface piping, separator tanks, etc. are often found to have elevated levels of radioactive scales built up which can be a hazard whenever these fixtures are removed or disassembled for maintenance.”


      • aigeezer aigeezer

        Thanks MaidenHeaven. Smith's material sounds like it is intended to reassure and it does to some extent. I wish "the authorities" wouldn't be so condescending and it would be nice to know which elements and isotopes are actually present in this case (rather than what often happens), and of course what concentrations exist where.

        I wish they had used a different acronym for their "technologically enhanced" NORM – say "altered blindly" or ABNORM.

        Hmmn… who knew there were lawyers specializing in NORM victim cases. Maybe I'm not so reassured after all.

        Watch and wait. So far, it seems like they are being more forthcoming than usual, which might mean it's all relatively innocuous. On the other hand, there's still plenty of vagueness and, um, authoritative swagger which might just be habit on their part, "they" being the various authorities cited in the media.

  • MaidenHeaven MaidenHeaven

    An evacuation of the area ordered Friday is still in place. While shelters were still open Sunday, residents are not being forced to leave, Boudreaux said.

    Assumption Parish officials also said a stretch of state highway was reopened Sunday. It was closed Saturday after state and local officials discovered that an underground natural gas pipeline had been bent and posed an explosion risk.


  • gonefission gonefission

    Kinda interesting all of the other sinkholes recently all over the place, someone may have posted a link to this video already but its pretty interesting

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      Thanks, norbu. I don't think any of those are double posts but things are developing quickly. Your third link has a nice detailed timeline, and the Google Map/Google Earth ways of looking at the site hadn't occurred to me until I saw your link.

  • norbu norbu

    You are welcome.

    • aigeezer aigeezer

      There's some eyebrow-raising eye-opening stuff on that texassharon site you linked to, norbu. Big Nuke isn't the only Bad Boy in the corporate world, but probably the biggest threat by most measures – unless you happen to get in the way of one of the other Bad Boys.


      • omniversling

        Posted on a previous thread, but related to aigeezer's ThugCorp post. Think: Fuku=Yakuza, Sicillian Waste disposal= Mafia crimes, I am fishhead…Dick Cheney/Haliburton/Iraq invasion, Shell=Ogoni people Niger Delta destruction, BP=DWH, Union Carbide=Bhopal …endless…corporation psychosis.. very very heavy dark energies and profoundly anti-life activities to maximise profit. Corruptio, kickbacks and murder included:

        "And this is something that I followed during the Deepwater Horizon Gulficide Event. It's a set of drawings by a Singapore based geo-hazards consultant B.K.Lim. He believes the Macondo well blowout has the signature of a salt dome failure. Matt Simmons went further and proposed that the Macondo well failure was deliberate. He was an industry vetran, and highly respected. He died unexpectedly during the crisis. Many speculated that he was 'shut up' because his views were disrupting the industry and corpgov 'offical line' that there was really nothing much to see and gulf seafood is AOK….Remember 'junk shot'? Any connection with TEPKILL's sawdust sand and newspaper radplugs? Same janitor running the emergency response? (Apologies in advance to all competent janitors)


        The area is pocked with salt domes that extend way down into the Gulf of Mexico. Here is a clip frpm Dutchsinse with some context: