Mistake at Congressional Hearing? Senator: “Radioactive releases from WIPP have been at levels that are a public health danger” — EPA: “This is a big deal” (VIDEO)

Published: April 17th, 2014 at 5:59 pm ET


Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, published Apr. 9, 2014 (at 3:00 in):

  • Sen. Tom Udall, New Mexico: I appreciate that many in your agency have made it clear that the radioactive releases from WIPP have been at levels that are a public health danger and I’m hopeful that you’re monitoring and verification will continue to support their unfortunately the facts are the two accidents have happened to WIPP that we’re not supposed to happen — a fire in a mine and a radiological release. DOE oversight has already been found to be lacking and that’s why it’s important to the community that an independent public health agency like EPA be on the ground overseeing the recovery phase to ensure public health is protected. […]
  • Gina McCarthy, EPA Administrator: EPA’s main job in this is to ensure that we’re looking at any level that could have been exceeded in terms of protectiveness to the outside, so that the surrounding communities are aware of any concerns […] So far, it looks like any release has been far below any levels that are necessary for protection […] We know people have concerns, this is a big deal.

While checking if there were any other reports on this topic, a website Mining Awareness Plus was found. Here’s an excerpt from a recent post (emphasis added): Now we imagine that [Sen. Udall] didn’t mean to say that. But, he spoke the truth whether he knew it or not. The WIPP released plutonium and americium, which are long-lived alpha emitters, which can stay in the body for a lifetime. They thus bioaccumulate upon inhalation and ingestion, and even absorption. That is the hidden, dirty, secret. […] The BEIR VII report is well-known for its Linear No-Threshold Model (LNT), i.e. no safe dose: “the risk of cancer proceeds in a linear fashion at lower doses without a threshold and that the smallest dose has the potential to cause a small increase in risk to humans.” However, BEIR only “focuses on the health effects of low levels of low linear energy transfer (low-LET) ionizing radiation such as x-rays and gamma rays.” And, as pointed out “Most radiation sources have a mixture of high- and low-LET radiation. Compared to high-LET radiation [Alpha radiation is high LET; beta and gamma radiation are low LET], low-LET radiation deposits less energy in the cell along the radiation path and is considered less destructive per radiation track.”

Watch the Senate hearing here

WIPP Town Hall tonight at 7:30p ET, live stream here

Published: April 17th, 2014 at 5:59 pm ET


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160 comments to Mistake at Congressional Hearing? Senator: “Radioactive releases from WIPP have been at levels that are a public health danger” — EPA: “This is a big deal” (VIDEO)

  • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

    Vote of "NO CONFIDENCE" in Gina McCarthy. Maybe they should have asked if she knew how to turn radiation monitoring equipment ON because she certainly knows how to turn it OFF. The EPA is not independent. It is just another government agency. They all work together in the worst possible of ways.

    • Sol Man

      That is quite legacy for the ages: to have turned-off the equipment that was to have helped to protect the People that pays her salary.

      Step right up
      Step right up
      Take a bow.

      • name999 name999

        enough, sol, I wonder how decisions get made at the EPA. Are they managed by military $ or do
        they have to concede to military decisions? Who do they report to?

    • NondiPloom

      It's been pretty well-established that the EPA has become the servant of the Fascist Right-Wingers.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        I thought the facists were left wingers. What's the diff? All the same in the end, in the phoney right-left paradigm. Its purpose is to keep us distracted and divided.

        • PurpleRain PurpleRain

          It's the right-wingers who OWN these nuke agencies, chemical companies and oil/fracking companies…. they don't want the EPA to do anything except get out of their way and they purposely cripple the EPA by withholding their budget funding that would allow them to go after these greed-corporarations!!!

          • Dee Dee

            You have any proof of that. In fact, the majority of posters here seem to believe that all of this is the "right wingers" (whatever that means) fault. That is just bull. I imagine you also think that the "right wingers" are the ones with all the wealth too. You better do more research before posting such biased nonsense.

            • bo bo

              Dee, did you see my response to you about Oliver Stone?

              You seemed to be assuming he was left.

              I was actually assuming that he was neither left or right, but had hope he would stand up for the sailors – but from his seemingly deliberate silence and omission it seems he might be neither left, nor a 'neither left or right' person – he might also just be a pawn.

              It is much much deeper than left and right paradigm, as HoTaters says, that's just a distraction. I'm also cautious of those who try to cozy up to anti nukers by saying this too 'it's no longer about left or right!'
              It's a landmine of controlled opposition traps out there!

              We have to all learn to think on our own.

              • orsobubu orsobubu

                Since the revolutionary communist left was defeated (in America, since the 30s), left is synonymous with progressivism and reformism, in opposition to the reactionary right-wing conservatorism. But both positions today support the capitalist-imperialist democracy. It is not true to say that the left is the bearer of innovative instances for workers. When the crisis of capitalism is being particularly serious, then it is likely to have the right to push a fascist and authoritarian solution. But during normal democratic phases, it is left that does the dirty work, making the people digest decisions in favor of capital that could not have popular support if there were right-wing governments in power. There are hundreds of cases, but only to make some mentions, the wars of American left wing presidents, the wars of German left governments with Fischer, the votes of european left parties in favor of war credits in the First World War, President Clinton's financial deregulation, and…


                We should always shift from left-right ideologic paradigm to work vs capital concept and class struggle scientific paradigm.

          • name999 name999

            purple rain, yes, this notion that left and right in this country are all the same is BS.
            Yes, corporations homogenize US, but that is not the same thing.

        • BPCJoe BPCJoe

          Too few understand the paradigm, or its purpose.

        • name999 name999

          hotaters, what? The Fascists are the left wingers? War is peace? Doublespeak. Don't kid
          yourself, that is a thinking error.

      • name999 name999

        nomdiploom, I have to wonder if the take down of the radiation monitors, which was shocking, was prompted and perhaps mandated by US military. Clandestine government is powerful and operates in the shadows.

        The EPA's mandate is to "reduce risk" to the environment rather than protect our resources.
        Dilute mandate. The solution to pollution is dilution…the usual suspects.

    • We Not They Finally

      ea45, that's how she got her PROMOTION to head the EPA! By turning radiation monitors OFF. Do these people ever get to pay EVER?

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      Watch Gina McCarthy shaking her head in "no" fashion when she says in the video the levels are below that of concern.

      See Udall's statement at 3:28, and McCarthy's response at about 4:20, esp. 4:35. Watch her shaking her head in denial of her own statements. 85% to 90% of our communication is NON-VERBAL.

      The PAG's probably should have been implemented, and the DOE dropped the ball, didn't at all do what should have been done in response to the radiation releases.

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        A comment on the video, great comment:

        From Karen Sherry Brackett3 days ago (edited)

        Senator Udall, you are doing a great job. Just want to give you a heads up on WIPP tonight. At the town hall meeting in Carlsbad this evening, Russell Hardy provided some numbers for what they have been seeing in the long awaited "lab results". He has documented 1.3 dps or 1.3 Bq/sample for Americium. The LiveStream video cut out at about that point. So, I will go back tomorrow and review his full statement and data and let you know if there is anything else notable. Still, just want to go ahead and send you a heads up tonight because the FDA Compliance Policy Guide places the Derived intervention level for Americium at 2 dps/kg or 2 Bq/kg. Hardy unscientifically states dps/sample which could be extremely misleading and may perhaps even mean the level is much higher. 1.3 dps is a serious concern level for workers on site in regards to the possibility of contamination of their lunches/meals given they are already exposed by occupation to more radiation due to their work. 2 dps the same as 2 Bq is the action level for the general public in regards to Americium as far as when to notify the public of what items are and are not safe to eat, warnings on hunting, gardening, dairy products, eating picnics outside, etc.. OSHA really needs to be called in on this one along with the FDA.

        • HoTaters HoTaters

          Brackett's statement cont.

          WIPP will need to decontaminate their aboveground facilities as well as below ground and remove who knows how much top soil to remedy this problem. In addition, they may need to expand their acreage in order to provide a wider emergency safety zone until the decontamination is complete simply because of hunters from the general public and wildlife in general will creep the contamination further abroad on the WIPP site along with wind, etc. Btw, I asked Franco if he had notified the FDA yet of the accidents and he said "no". The DOE has already admitted to being a day late in notifying the EPA of the accidents. The managers knew to shelter their employees inside during the first day of the release however totally left the public in the dark in regards to protection of health and safety.

          Also, the local DOE office members do not seem to understand how protective emergency guidelines even work. Even "George" the EPA rep. last week thought it was alright for a sample to take 2-3 weeks for lab results? The "Early phase" is only 96 hours to determine whether to shelter in place or evacuate. The "Intermediate Phase" which has to do with food and water is only for 1-2 months after which you have to determine whether "relocation" is appropriate given the exposures expected over time.

          • HoTaters HoTaters

            And lastly (this woman is a champion):

            FEMA delegated the role to EPA for air and water and to FDA for food and interstate commerce of food during this type of nuclear accident. So, they have completely slept through both of the first two phases. This has been like watching the three stooges manage an emergency. It is embarrassing, shameful and down right unbelievable that anyone could hold a job of so much importance and not have a clue about what they are doing. 

  • yogda yogda

    Smoke and mirrors.

  • Obvious Obvious

    Independent like the EPA?

    • I was just about to post the same rhetoric question.
      What a joke (yet not funny the slightest bit) !

    • I recommend everyone to watch the documentary "Gas Land" (it's about fracking in the US) to learn about EPA's dedication to protecting health and environment. Their interpretation of these tasks do not conform with my ideas of it, to say the least :-(.



        seen it, Fukugeddon. Well worth the time…

      • name999 name999

        Fukugeddon…thank you for posting that link for Gas land. Waiting for the next.

        Josh Fox is truly a heroic American. Even with the severe realities the film shows, it is inspiring
        to watch. Also another reminder of how scared people are to hit up against the gas industry at all
        levels of private and public life.

        The array of tactics used to destroy and silence people including
        Proprietary formulas, non-disclosure agreements, $$$.

        The conflicting expression of Republican and Democratic values are evident throughout.

  • GQR2

    The EPA wants total control of the water systems. They are supposed to protect the public lands not own them.

    • mairs mairs

      Good. I want them to be able to prosecute businesses such as chemical companies and farms that allow toxic runoff into streams, lakes, and rivers that supply drinking water to communities.

      • Crash2Parties Crash2Parties

        "prosecute businesses"

        (wipes tears from eyes from laughing so hard)

      • We Not They Finally

        PROSECUTE?? That's mad. They'll protect them. Oh ye of way too much faith….

      • HoTaters HoTaters

        They'd probably go after property owners. Did you know the government is partnering with NGO's to push for installing water meters on every privately owned well in California? These people will stop at nothing.

        Cry foul at the bogus "environmental" concerns. Phooey on political correctness.

      • Dee Dee

        Be careful what you wish for.

    • name999 name999

      …they don't mention oceans. Damn scary. Water is the oil now.

  • At this time, the PUBLIC's level of CONCERN is far MORE DANGEROUS than any radioactive contamination level that they may or may not have been detected so far. (IMO, that's their opinion.)

    "…so that the surrounding communities are aware of any concerns and we’re monitoring that." – McCarthy EPA

    The public's level of concern is what they are attempting to control. They really don't have a clue as to what happened down in the mine or what's going to happen and that's embarrassing and not reassuring to say the least.

    It's not just the 'surrounding communities' that should be aware. It's ALL communities DOWNWIND of this HAZARDOUS RADIOACTIVE material that should be getting a clear 'heads up'.

    • Radio Radio

      Excerpt – "The public's level of concern is what they are attempting to control."

      This is it in a nutshell. I'm taking your post back to my fb page and reposting it ChasAsa. Thx!

  • Radio Radio

    My fb post – So, here we have different articles showing that while Gina McCarthy, head of the EPA, talks about safe exposures to the public from WIPPS, and someone from DOE trying to correct Sen Udall's statement in congressional oversight hearings that the release was at public health threat levels, and a mining organization saying Udall is right because plutonium and americium ARE some of the most dangerous radioactive particles in existence and they bioaccumulate in bodies for thousands and thousands of years despite Gina's characterization to the contrary, which is getting waaaayyyy toooo muuuuch focus with the news out of Hanford and the discovery that the Japanese gov't intentionally lied and underplayed the release figures along with the US gov't, and this is confessions right from certain quarters of the Japanese government trying to square itself between it's role as a public protector, encouraging residents to move back into highly contaminated areas, and a friend to industry, (we know where Gina falls down -ooops- "comes down" on that one), and another gov't official is saying in a completely unrelated press event that the radiation beginning to accumulate in fish from Fukushima isn't even close to how dangerous bananas are (he just paid his mortgage and got that boat,too, not to mention a job with the nuclear industry after he's done being a gov't official, wait…right…a return to his former job with the industry…no, not quite right, here it is…

  • Radio Radio

    fb post con't… wait…right…a return to his former job with the industry…no, not quite right, here it is…a return to the industry AND a promotion within said industry, one of those quasi lobbying positions going back and forth between the nuke business he'll own lots of stock in and having lunch with senators, so make that a vacation house as well. Shall we follow his career path and see if my prediction comes true?). Anyhow, the gist of this is that no matter how big a lid gov't tries to put on information leaking out about all the radiation leaks and their real effects, those particles of truth are getting around all those filters. Time for duct tape and silicone caulking. It's good enough for the WIPPS filters, it might work for blocking the truth, too.

    • tsfw tsfw

      Iv'e read that a hepa-filter air con unit protect against radiation does anyone know if this can be relied upon? The chances of us building a bunker are nil and sheltering in place with duct tape makes sense other than what happens when you run out of O2 and have to open the windows?

      • Yes HEPA helps. My HEPAs will read about 50% above background after a few weeks….it is doing something.

        Plus there is other crap in the air, not just radioactivity. Well worth it. Plus I point it at firewood to pre dry it, and I point it at indoor germinated plants to make them strong and not leggy….so multiple benefits.

        • tsfw tsfw

          Excellent thanks Stock- who knew they have so many uses. Now I just need our new non hepa unit to break to justify buying a new one 😛

          What we need is a large piece of material that can filter radiation that can be fitted over any type air con unit.

      • name999 name999

        tsfw, that sounds like living hell.


      quick hello, Radio. Hope all's going well…

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    "and is considered less destructive per radiation track.”

    Which means..all Manmade Radiation Contamination is/must be destructive.

    • I will be asking them to comment on this

      Sen. Tom Udall, New Mexico: I appreciate that many in your agency have made it clear that the radioactive releases from WIPP have been at levels that are a public health danger and I’m hopeful that you’re monitoring and verification will continue….

      • "At a former townhall, it was stated that there is no danger from the Plutonium releases at the WIPP, and that eating bananas is more dangerous. However the W(r) multiplier for Plutonium says that it is 115,000 times more dangerous than radiation from a banana. In fact, because the human body has developed with the minor and low energy banana Potassium, and has repair mechanisms in place, and because any potassium a human takes in, becomes excreted out to maintain a constant level. Therefore eating bananas adds no risk no a human or any animal for that matter.

        However, Plutonium in air kills 255 out of 255 Beagles at 300 Micrograms, that is really small. So do you still think that releases from WIPP were less dangerous than eating a banana?

  • razzz razzz

    I don't understand LNT guidelines. Does 'exposure' include internal doses? WIPP workers had internal doses which would be expected when breathing in radioactive air but they also were found with irradiate stools. How do you ingest radiation unless it is on your food or in your drink? Was testing done a the local cafeteria or from major grocery stores in the area? Wouldn't it be interesting if area food supplies are radioactively contaminated (manmade) and/or the water supply? Wouldn't be so surprising found in a nuke bomb testing area but would be if radiation was sourced from Daiichi on top of the recent ongoing nuke dump mine release.

    More questions than answers when instruments are so sensitive that they sense any and all radioactivity.

  • GQR2

    The Town Hall –
    They had to quit after only 5 hrs Yesterday. It was probably 5 hrs too many. They sound a little uncertain about re-opening. rut-rho.
    More information next week in that. The talk continues. 60 people there watching and listening several from here. 🙂

  • dosdos dosdos

    In other words, it's HOT down there.

    • Cleanup of a salt mine…..sounds like good time to buy stock in a lead plate manufacturer

      • name999 name999

        stock, wearing it like a thong…to protect the core body. I don't believe this works though. Got some info on a product supposedly from Israel. Heavy to wear every day;-]]] Like duct tape on the windows.

    • Securitize

      Who knows what's in the barrels. What if things get "wet" down there? Doesn't liquid kind of corrode salt formations?

      • dosdos dosdos

        Depends on the liquid. Salt is polar, so it dissolves in water, but not in gasoline. Much depends on the compounds involved. If they are polar, then they will react with the salt. If they are non-polar, they won't. Depends on the chemicals released in the accident.

        Short answer, some will, some won't, odds are the cleanup crew won't use water.

  • Securitize

    So let me get this straight: they STILL have not even gone down there to see exactly what is wrong? And yet everything's peachy, no need for concern? You're gosh darn right it's hot down there! That's why they won't go.

    To whoever said that public concern is what they are trying to control: yes.

    • dosdos dosdos

      They have sent down teams in the last couple of days. They are moving cautiously, methodically, a bit at a time. It looks like it's in section 7, but they haven't gotten close to the center of the damage yet. They are discussing using robots for the hot spots.

      • Securitize

        Exactly. They haven't been to section 7 to see the carnage. Robots? I had not heard this. That is really bad. Either it's incredibly radioactive, or there is worry about stability of the formation itself. Either way, bad bad bad.

  • Securitize

    Luckily for them, plutonium is not easy to detect. Otherwise we'd have a riots on our hands when Carlbad, Abq, areas of Colorado "caught wind" of what blew their way and decided to stick around for billions of years.

    • Angela_R

      Securitize, "Luckily for them, plutonium is not easy to detect."
      There were 5 types of plutonium said to have been released, see article on 25th March, 2014, here on ENE News.
      Any wonder they did not enter Panel 7….

    • razzz razzz

      NCR Definition: "2,000 DAC-hours to represent one annual limit on intake (ALI), equivalent to a committed effective dose equivalent of 5 rems (0.05 Sv)"

      I guarantee it arbitrary and ever changing.

      • razzz razzz

        Typo = NRC

        • GQR2

          wow – nobody can stay in that mine. nope nope nope.

          it was good when the chat stream tried to pin them down. The dacs per second. Instead of answering Mine Manager Tammy said when asked why its in dacs and how do dacs translate into cpm, and more common measures she answered bless her heart and all us be damned that's the way their equipment works.
          God forbid she could give a ball park translation oh hell to the no. Not tonight maybe next week.

          How is all that radiation being contained anyway is the place entirely sealed off with airtight seals? if so how is it vented inside the collapsed or semi collapsed sealed panels?

          Venting is supposed to take place regularly by DOE codes and how could it possibly be happening at all,there is no venting taking place so how does one monitor those barrels? – let me guess they don't.

          • Yep STOCK=FRESH in that venue.

            Pinned them down to more clearcut lies. You know they know they are lying by the way they try to avoid the questions.

            stock out

          • raddog

            Its in DACs because that is what is needed for worker protection.

            You can't convert DACs directly to DPM. You have to know the size of the air sample taken, the air filter size, and the detector size. It's not standardized.

            You can convert DACs to bq/m^3, or Ci/ft^3 (more likely μCi/ft^3 or μμCi/ft^3). This gives in in terms of μCi/mL: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/toxprofiles/tp143-c8.pdf .

            Oh – and you really should know the solubility class too…
            (but you can just assume the most restrictive for a conservative number and only be an order of magnitue max incorrect.)

        • DAC Nab it.. now they really got us confusssseeeedddd

      • razzz razzz

        'Annual Limit of Intake (ALI)'

        "…The ALI is a calculated value based on the primary dose limit and gives only the annual limit of intake. It is sometimes more useful to establish the limits on the concentration of a radionuclide in air or water which would lead to this intake. For this purpose the derived air concentration (DAC) is introduced for airborne contaminants. The DAC is the average atmospheric concentration of the radionuclide which would lead to the ALI in a reference person as a consequence of exposure at the DAC for a 2000 hour working year. A reference person inhales 20 litres of air per minute or 2400 m3 during the working year…"

      • raddog

        Nope. Its been that number for a very long time. Its not arbitrary, but set at a very low limit at which no health effects are expected.

    • Frickin effers, and then they pretend that Plutonium radiation is less harmful than a banana!

      How many bananas is 2000 DAC!

      • dosdos dosdos

        Seeing how the net affect of a banana on the human body is zero, then it would be an infinite number of bananas.

        • Exactly, I do a banana smoothie almost every morning

        • raddog

          A banana replenishes the K40 in the body, so the net effect is not zero.

          The K40 that is not absorbed is still irradiating the body until it gets eliminated, so the net effect is not zero.

  • I have been banned from the Town Hall….carry on folks

  • Ontological Ontological

    As the lack of maintenance far below WIPP takes its toll, the range of death breath from the dragon will intensify and fly.

  • GQR2

    Russel Hardy of CERMC makes a new comparison "
    a dollar sized amount released,a nickel,a penny." This fellow is a propagandist of the highest order the way he drawsss it out and makes you think you are hearing something where most things he is explaining like how an exhaust fan works. And the phrase "legacy" contamination. That's one heck of a legacy you got there Mr.Hardy.

    • Mad_Scientists Mad_Scientists

      “Dr. John Gofman said that there are 21 billion lung cancer doses in a pound of plutonium if it is evenly distributed in the lungs, if it is evenly distributed in the lungs of people.”

      “A half a gram of plutonium evenly distributed among the population of smokers in this country will cause 32 million cancers.”

      “…what happens to the cell in your body when an alpha particle hits it, particularly in the lungs which are so vulnerable. And that is the cause and the source, as these gentlemen believe, of cancer. That is why Dr. Gofman says there is probably no real practical cure for cancer so induced.”

      SOURCE: Gerry Spence: http://enformable.com/2014/04/gerry-spence-karen-silkwood-part-2-proving-strict-liability-physical-injury/

    • Securitize

      He's just spinning facts as he is instructed to do.

      I guess I could calculate a penny of plutonium… let's see 9.525 mm radius, 1.55 mm thick… h * pi * r^2 = ~440 cubic millimeters.

      Now have to get the density of plutonium. Ok it's in cubic centimeters, so 440 cubic mm = .44 cubic cm, yes.

      Plutonium is 19.816 grams per cubic cm according to wiki.

      So that's… uh oh. 19.816 * .44 = 8.72 GRAMS of Plutonium.
      Assume fatal exposure at 400 micrograms of inhaled ~10 micron particles. That's, wow, ~22 MILLION fatal doses. Someone check my math.

      • Securitize

        Ok ok. Technically I believe the plutonium will be plutonium oxide which is 11.5 g/cm^3. That's 5.06 grams of the stuff. 12-13 million fatal doses. I'm relieved.

    • He drank the koolaid, I have multi page emails from him. Very useful to the anti nuke case.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    The people should have been evacuated right away.
    We all know you don't mess with the devil's waste.

    Will they care for the up coming new sick people and give something to those who will loose their loved ones?

    Will they pay to relocate people?

    Will they now take responsibility, especially since they didn't when it happened?

    How can they ever clean this up?
    Have they forgotten winds blow and that stuff doesn't go poof.
    Lets' just spread this stuff some more (SARC).

  • My last question didn't get asked. Maybe they will address it later.

    The question was…

    "Is it possible those who were contaminated took any home with them? Is there any danger of that?" – ChasAha


    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi ChasAha

      Sounds like they didn't want to answer that..
      However, I think we know the answer to that one anyway..

  • WindorSolarPlease

    How can they fix this, when they can't even get close enough to put a Band-Aid on?

    • dosdos dosdos

      This is hot but not so hot that they expect to have problems with robots. They can be rigged to dig and vacuum. This isn't a reactor core. The good news is once they contain the contamination, they don't have to move it. They can just store it there.

      It's doable. It will be expensive. Some techy entrepreneurs will make a pretty penny.

      • Securitize

        Now we just have to hope nothing else goes wrong. What are the odds, right?

      • WindorSolarPlease

        Hi dosdos

        If it's not too hot to be fixed, then it should have been fixed already.

        I will believe this can be fixed, when I see it.
        What about the spreading of this?
        They have to vent, what and how much?

        This whole thing has already gone wrong.
        Another disaster that should wake people up.

        • WindorSolarPlease

          Wonder how much air filters can hold, without changing them?
          Are they too hot to change? Where is a robot when you need one?

          Sorry if I sound mad..it's because I am..

          Sick and tired of those who trash this world and say well they can clean it up..What about the damage that has already happened and going to happen?

        • dosdos dosdos

          They have pretty much determined that it was a one time event, not a continuing process, as the counts have dropped since to background levels (so they claim). If there was a criticality, it would keep producing contamination. But the levels they presented show that the incident happened, it was over, and now there is just cleanup.

          The biggest cause of delay is them having to get their stuff together. People going through training, digesting data, being cautious, because they don't want any more egg on their face than there already is. There is the new clean up crew to break in, a separate corporation from DOE. They are better equipped to handle remediation.

          They are making methodical progress, going in and searching the pathways, taking readings, careful not to move too quickly. They have to check radiation, air flow, take wipings, and do many more tests to map out the conditions. They have been in only a couple of days, and they haven't search as much as half of the cavern, and that is the part that isn't very contaminated.

          They found readings in the entrance to section (panel) 7. They stopped there and checked other sections, to make sure that it's a single location. This will tell them where they can work without much radiation, what kind of clothing to wear. So far, they have been going in with medium grade protection. They will be going in later with max protection stuff and check out panel 7.

          • dosdos dosdos

            Panel 7 is a pair of parallel hallways connected by cross openings where the radioactive barrels are stored. Cross section from above looks like a ladder. It's a dead end, and all ventilation moves outward. They need to move into the halls and find the area where the contamination originated. It will probably require robots.

            They will probably seal panel 7 off to begin and clean the rest of the facility. That way, they can have mobility in the main section while panel 7 is being cleaned. It's no small task, as everything will have to be cleaned. And they run trucks up and down these halls. It's a big chore.

            But this way, DOE feels confident that they can open WIPP for business again well before the cleanup is finished.

            That is pretty much the gist that I got from the meeting.

            • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

              Sure ..one area falls in .. and they start digging in another area..in disregard of the fact that these fails.. change the general integrity of the geological material.
              The panels dead-end… how is it possible to check for geological/structural damage in and beyond the dead end?
              How is it possible to check for leakage?

              • WindorSolarPlease

                Exactly Heart of the Rose

              • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

                yes Heart or the Rose, its backfill, cement plug and forget. The reality is that EACH and EVERY barrel will be crushed like a tin can at 3000 psi as the salt closes/caves in, and all at red hot temperatures by the way, even at best of circumstances. Its not surprising to have an event like this since they are nearly half way through the projected operating life span of the facility, the end of which the salt rock is squeezing in on everything like the vice grip of death. Barrels popping everywhere. Oh sure, there are detailed scientific analyses. This is the problem with man; hes a special kind of stupid

          • WindorSolarPlease

            A one time event of radiation/plutonium, oh how lucky are we (sarc).

            Can they guarantee this is a one time event?
            What about the old filters that need changing?
            What about venting?
            One time event, I question that.

            How can it be over when they are not even at the center of it yet?

            They already have egg on their face. This was not supposed to happen.

            If they are going to play with something this dangerous then they better be prepared and have a nuclear waste swat team that's ready in a moment notice.

            It should not take this long just to get what they need, and get the training.

            They should already know, have a plan in place, and already prepared.

            They are trying to figure this out, which shows me they have no control over this.

            Nuclear power and it's Waste has no place in this World, it's too dangerous, and it's been proven.

            • WindorSolarPlease

              Quote: they can open WIPP for business again well before the cleanup is finished.

              OMGosh!!! They have to be kidding..Are they nuts??

              Sounds like sure you can come over to my house while I quickly sweep the dirt under the rugs..

              • WindorSolarPlease

                Clean it up..Before you open the shop..Handle it..Fix it..

                That would make more sense.

                Unfortunately, we need waste storage area's. Since we have Nuclear Power.

                What a dangerous cycle we have created. End it!!!!

              • dosdos dosdos

                I'm just reporting what I saw.

                There was a ceremonial agreement among the DOE people there that opening WIPP ASAP was a high priority and a high probability. They are doing their best to assure those holding onto radioactive materials scheduled for storage will not be left in the lurch for too terribly long.

                Of course, they are too cautious to commit in hard terms to anything now. It's too soon from a PR standpoint. But they did make it clear between the lines that those who ship to WIPP should not be too worried about future resumption of services.

                • WindorSolarPlease

                  Sounds like they are more interested in their profits, why else would they want to resume business as usual.

                  Quote: who ship to WIPP should not be too worried about future resumption of services.

                  Everyone should be worried about more important issues there. Too much needs to be done first.

      • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

        Shut this entire Nuclear Industry down now! Worldwide!

      • Per Conca they have stuff down there so hot that 1 quart would contaminate 1 Billion chickens to "unusable" level

        And they have 20,000 barrels of that, and 480,000 barrels of other less dangerous waste.

  • GQR2

    Hee Hee former State Rep and Nuclear ambassador seems genuinely curious about how bad this WIPP situation truly is, the lack of what is supposed standard safety operating procedures for heaven knows how long is really taking the cake. The accident report is scathing. The guy in the audience with white hair was great bringing out the fact that the reverse ventilation was done by the seat of the pants,someone's personal experience which happened to contradict all known mine safety procedures oppsy. Mr. Heaton says "we take it personally" that's a fact we all do take it personally he is right you bet,we are taking it personally potentially in every ingested breath, bite of food,sip of water.
    That is the nature of radiation contamination and is unstoppable and lasts for-ev-ver.

  • razzz razzz

    Still waiting for someone to address how the intake air is protected from any type of contamination.

    They still haven't changed the exhaust HEPA filters yet, they are to 'hot' to approach but they aren't irradiating the out going air, so they say.

    I like how they claim the no radioactivity was found upon entering the mine or how a personal body scan detection resulted in 'ND' it is not possible. There is background radiation everywhere that registers more than any one banana does and the human body carries and has bioaccumulated nuke bomb fallout over the years, its unavoidable, doesn't matter if it is referred to as background radiation or not.

    Americium blows around but no one ever inhales it, that's interesting. Plus they can't tell where any Americium originated from is incorrect. Given enough time to analyze, it can be categorized as old, new, when it came into being and probably associated with a particular source.

    They want so badly to reopen the mine. I am reminded of this, "Hope is not a plan."

    • GQR2

      oh Mr.Hardy saaid it was just little old "legacy" contamination. bout a dollars worth of new. on about a few dimes of old. you know? 😉
      They really do want to open that mine and i swear i detected a little bit of real concern that it is NOT going to reopen. They will have to modernize. Start trainings they obviously haven't been doing and they have no clue or if they do (yeah they do know) they aren't sharing it. Mr Mine Manager Tammy a very nice woman no doubt did not want to touch with a ten foot pole how many and what kind of isotopes they found down there but it was about 800-100 dacs per second of some really choice TRU. ONLY NOW do they get real time monitoring. really?

      When CERMC's own Russel Hardy takes those morning constitutions all 40 of them. Hell the man makes it sound like he walks his dog there. i bet hope is a big part of his plan. i just won't say about what he hopes….

      • GQR2

        typoos Ms. for the m.m. of course would never intentionally mis-gender someone. And that would be 800-to ONE THOUSAND dacs per second. s'orry bout that.

    • name999 name999

      great post razz.

  • enoughalready45 enoughalready45

    The EPA answers to the DOE Department of Energy.

  • Thanks to all ENENEWS who attending the WIPP townhall, the next one is next WED not thurs

  • YukonRadiation YukonRadiation

    They need to stop now please? so anyone gotta idea of where we can stash this crap now? Anyone?
    I worked under ground , and i don't care what ground your in , there is always rock and debris coming down all the time and then you think you have it stable and bolted ? that site will be very unstable and very radioactive ! I 'm thinking they can't even get close too the door on this one now! think of an hour glass and tip it up side down, what your watching will be the same underground at the WIPP site. all you can do is keeping digging the tunnel out scoop after scoop ad hope it does not all come down on you. and then add the rad goo , glowing stuff that is in each scoop full? there will be more releases from this site for a long time too come. "Time for People to be Moving to some where Safe"

    • PurpleRain PurpleRain

      If I lived anywhere near that site I sure would be packing up everything and getting the hell out of Dodge!~~

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Maybe they will just start dumping all this Nuclear waste in the bay like they did before..they might have to work at night this time though. The over time and time and half for night work should be pretty good …

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose


    Google Earth KMZ Files Showing Drilling and Mining Operations Near WIPP


    It's been a long day ..here on the ranch.
    Dream well ..Enenews.

  • Entergy insider stock selling, they are the slumlord of nuke


  • YukonRadiation YukonRadiation

    Heart of the Roses good find! but that area will be littered with holes very deep in the ground with many different angles? hope the mines neer by have geiger counters ? because if that is what i think it is down there , it will find all of those holes in time and be leaking from them in the future? Wow!
    So what is next from these clowns?

    • "no immediate risk to the public"

    • WindorSolarPlease

      YukonRadiation, that is what I was thinking when I was reading Heart of the Rose post.

      Thanks Heart of the Rose
      Google Earth KMZ Files Showing Drilling and Mining Operations Near WIPP

      Stock, what they aren't saying, "The risk could very well show it's ugly head a little later, be patient."

  • We Not They Finally

    GINA McCARTHY assuring the public of safety? The woman belongs in jail! She was the one in charge of turning radiation monitoring OFF to not pick up the original plume. Then jacking up so-called "acceptable" levels of radiation to lethal levels. Someone needs to out her, then outright drag her away on handcuffs for permanent incarceration in a padded cell.

    But wait! What about all the co-conspirators who should be dragged off with her? But wait! Those are the people in charge! But wait! Aren't these public servants? But wait!……

    It's unbearable.

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Don't worry…Smile…they have robots. Their doors will be open soon..Just don't breathe..

      I feel like I am in a nightmare. What the heck are they thinking?

  • click, click, buzz, buzz, veeee are all robots…

    Programmed to receive nuclear waste and absorb it for free

    click, click, buzz, buzz, vee are all robots..


    • WindorSolarPlease

      Wonder what will happen to the robots, washed and saved for the next time? The cyle never ends, but it needs too!!!

  • Sol Man

    Eventually the dragons' breath particles will be safely contained in the scrubbers at all of the crematories. Yeah, those have to be dry-casked, too.

    Bad mood, dark humor.

  • WindorSolarPlease

    What is wrong with you law makers, world leaders. How many times are you going to allow them to spit their Nuclear Waste all over our environment?

    Stop Nuclear Power… No more Waste, We Have Enough
    Don't be blind of the dangers.

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    It appears they are making plans on increasing Nuclear all over the world and this is how..

    This will allow them to just dump the Nuclear Waste right into the oceans… 🙁

    • WindorSolarPlease

      Hi obewanspeaks

      Some how I knew the disaster at Fukushima wouldn't stop them. Other disasters didn't stop them. They just kept them working, which caused more waste and more disasters.

      • The nuclear industry is paid to FAIL

        They make MORE money when the fail, than if they succeed.

        The military is also paid to fail and destroy infinite future generations, over and over again, using DU weapons

  • melting mermaid melting mermaid

    Is there no stopping this madness? I would rather spend the rest of my life in darkness and poverty than pass this legacy down to my children. Can mankind be salvaged? When I think about things like the loss of biodiversity, the ecology of commerce and just our treatment of each other I sometimes find myself wondering if we should be saved. What a strange creature is man.

  • jec jec

    Nuclear's Entergy and Exelon stocks dropping like a rock, see this article:

    What is telling–the fall heralds the possible company failure/re-structuring PLUS there is like not enough funds for liabilities or decommissioning closing plants! The GRAND plan was to have a trust fund set up by nuclear companies to cover accidents, over and above the 300M they are required to carry in insurance for each plant. 300M is a drop in the bucket..but it might be more than what the 'shush fund' has in it for liabilites and de-commissioning. I see a TAX increase, to cover their financial woes…

    And SURPRISE SURPRISE..guess what UBS, the behind the LLC companies running WIPP and Hanford –are part of Entergy! The maker/owners of the reactors. Very interesting, UBS, thru subsiderary companies, get PAID to make nuclear waste..!! UBS gets PAID to store it, UBS gets PAID to clean up the accidents. A fox in the hen-house for sure!!

    Reminds me of some companies handing our end of life care. All meds go thru a care company (they don't purchase expensive meds, takes days to get pain meds, and treatments are delayed). The company makes money on the wound care, bandages,personal care items. No inventories provided to patients family for review,no inventory of meds ordered or when provided. While our personal experience, this sure sounds…

  • Being paid to fail, fail, fail, over and over again..