AP, June 11, 2014 (emphasis added): Scientists investigating a mysterious radiation leak at the federal government’s underground nuclear waste dump have identified five other potentially explosive containers of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory that are being stored at a site in West Texas, New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn told a legislative panel Tuesday. […] Asked if the public should be worried, Flynn said: “Every member of the community should be concerned. … But I don’t think they should be worried. I don’t think people should be panicked about another drum exploding because we required (the U.S. Department of Energy) to plan for that and have a system in place to protect the public.” […] The Department of Energy has dozens of the world’s finest scientists trying to identifying what type of reaction could have caused the leak, Flynn said after the hearing. But he estimated it would be months before a definitive cause is determined. Until then, Flynn said, it is hard to speculate on what if any action can be taken to finish getting the last of thousands of barrels of decades-old waste off the Los Alamos campus in northern New Mexico. […] given the uncertainty of what caused the radiation leak, transporting the waste now is seen as too risky. Flynn said it also remains unclear how long the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will be closed or how long it will take the [WIPP] plant to seal off the rooms where more than 350 other barrels of suspect waste from Los Alamos are currently stored.
Northern New Mexico Citizens’ Advisory Board, May 21, 2014 (at 57:00 in):
- Question: Have you all identified if it’s one drum, 20 drums, three drums? I’ve been hearing one drum a lot…
- Dana Bryson, Deputy Manager for the Dept. of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO manages DOE’s WIPP program): Well, we have one drum, that is pretty clear. We have other possibilities — and if you look at the pictures… you’ll see weepage on many containers in the heat-affected area. What we’re postulating is that the seals have basically degraded. So those could be potential sources from that aspect as well.
- Question: And could the denigration of any one particular drum have impacts on other adjacent drums?
- Bryson: Absolutely.
Published: June 13th, 2014 at 11:30 pm ET
- 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
- Gov’t Report: Nuclear waste was up to 1,600°F during WIPP plutonium release — Concern that heat ‘chemically or physically changed’ contents of other drums — Increased hazard of spontaneous reaction… may have already occurred — Over 50 drums at risk (VIDEO) July 13, 2014
- “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
- Nuclear Expert: Hydrogen explosion suspected as cause of WIPP plutonium release — Meeting: Are more lids going to blow? Seeing how top of drum blew off has me concerned it isn’t ‘low level’ — Former DOE Expert: US will inevitably shift to storing radioactive waste on surface after this (VIDEO) June 17, 2014
- Concern over “full plutonium flash” at WIPP nuclear site triggering disaster that spreads to multiple waste drums — Plutonium-239 is main radioactive isotope in container that exploded — Anonymous Employee: The warnings were ignored… “They put us in danger” June 9, 2014