Officials: Nuclear release from container(s) indicated at #WIPP site — “We never, ever thought this kind of an event would occur” — “Absolute seriousness of this can’t be overstated” — Resident: “I feel like they’re not telling us everything” (VIDEO)

Published: February 25th, 2014 at 4:54 pm ET


AP, Feb. 25, 2014: More than 250 people attended a two-hour meeting [about] accidents at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad and the first-known release of radiation from the repository. […] some left skeptical. […] An initial analysis of samples from sensors inside and outside the plant indicate a container leaked. But officials say it is unclear what caused the release, and it will likely be weeks before teams can get underground.

Carlsbad Current-Argus, Feb. 24, 2014: […] Department of Energy Carlsbad Field Office Manager Joe Franco appealed to the audience by letting them know they shared in the worries about the radiation leak. […] Franco told the audience […] that his take on the situation was that it is “very serious” and “unfortunate, but it is what it is.”

Dale Janway, Carlsbad Mayor, Feb. 24, 2014 (at 10:30 in): “The absolute seriousness of this issue cannot be overstated.”

Farok Sharif, president of the Nuclear Waste Partnership that runs the plant, Feb. 24, 2014 (at 32:00 in): ” I’m actually getting a lot of very good help […] We have at least 20 to 25 individuals already on site helping us through this recovery process to join our expert team that we have here to help supplement what we have on site already.”

John Heaton, Mayor’s Nuclear Task Force Chairman, Feb. 24, 2014 (at 1:55:30 in): “From the very beginning we never, ever thought that this kind of an event would occur.”

Anna Hovrud, Resident Feb. 24, 2014: “I’m just a mom and my first reaction was to start praying. … Basically I am not understanding about two-thirds of what has been said here. Is there a chance we could be exposed to radiation, that we are being poisoned somehow, while we are waiting for these samples?”

Leah Hunt, Resident, Feb. 24, 2014: “I feel like they are not telling us everything.”

Watch the 2-hour meeting here

Published: February 25th, 2014 at 4:54 pm ET


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286 comments to Officials: Nuclear release from container(s) indicated at #WIPP site — “We never, ever thought this kind of an event would occur” — “Absolute seriousness of this can’t be overstated” — Resident: “I feel like they’re not telling us everything” (VIDEO)

  • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

    Chanel 7 Albuquerque this morning said they have found the leak, but don't know what caused it. They showed a photo of a large container. It is unclear if that was the one that was leaking.

    If the roof fell in, but they don't know what caused the leak, then these guys are dumber than TEPCO.

    • They said that there is no 'leak'.

      A leak implies something dangerous happened.

      The deny any danger at all, to anyone, thus 'no leak'.

      End of story..

      And they all lived happily ever after..

      Or not..


  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    LANL celebrates 1,000th TRU Waste Shipment to WIPP
    June 26 2012

    So how many containers damaged.
    How many rooms got destroyed.
    What was the effect of the 'puff' event ..on the intrastructure.
    How many containers was destroyed in the 'puff" event.

    If water was leaking into the place..want to make bets..the leaking is worse now?
    How much?
    Is the place on fire?
    With evacuation …I doubt that it was put human intervention.
    The water leak dose a nuclear waste fire?
    Doubt it.
    Nuclear steam bathe.

    PS..The stuff must have shot out of there the end of a shotgun..
    Did it make the upper atmospheres?
    Another hole?

    • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

      Typo ..How many containers "were" destroyed?
      How many containers..can they not access?
      Oh..that's right..they can't get in there all.

    • jec jec

      And of course, they have a LIST what was sent and how contaminated! Right? Since one mouthy boaster mentioned radiation containers 'hotter than Hanford WA' being stored in WIPP..its does make one wonder….so of the 'destroyed' or unaccessable containers/casks..where is the INVENTORY. A good question is to ask one of the WIPP managers for an inventory of what is STORED in the casks..not the clothes and shovel answer..a LIST with actual numbers for casks/containers and what is stored inside for those 'destroyed and unaccessable' casks. WIPP, by regulation, has to keep an inventory/record, and has daily tasks such as observing the situation with all the casks. Since they are not able to get inside..due to an accident/error..they are right now just ASKING for more trouble. By March 15th, 2014 they may have the 1200 radsuits ordered thru Kirkland AFB contracting office. So its going to be a couple more weeks without any maint for the 'undamaged' casks/radioactive debris. Anyone commenting on that??? Nope. Hope WIPP provides good answers FAST!

  • SadieDog

    Welcome it WIPP , 7 min promo video

  • Sol Man

    "Puff" or continuous?

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Both.."puff" and continuous now ..I assume.
    If the water leakage increased..heavy inundation.

    A singular type a singular type location.
    Here is the WIPP map route again.
    Waste brought in from every major nuclear facility in the US.


  • jec jec

    Right now 'continuous' as in the .03% of the supposedly 99.97% perfect filtration of HEPA filters being used! The company that makes the filters does not show any quarrentees, just calls them CHEAP. Of course, the filtration level is UP TO, not always 99.97. TNow if the radiation levels are HIGH inside..the .03% of HIGH is still dangerous. For example, take 4.4M BQ/m3 and take .03% of that. Give you 1326 BQ/m3. Or if you have 100 BQ/m3 and take .03% and you get .03 Bq/m3. Same filter, its relative. I think that at least answers the poor gentleman's question the WIPP folks chased their tails over.

    HUMMMM..ever wonder what they are going to have to do to handle those filters..which by the way are very HOT..and have to be transported somehow to a lab which can 'process' them..

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I wonder what the condition of the ventilation./filtration system is in after the 'puff'…the mentioned seismic event…and some degree of structural collapse.

    If these are the numbers released.. to the public…it's usually worse.

    • jec jec

      Heart, I keep wondering about the filters and contamination. Here are some exact facts:
      1. Filters are 20X25 cm in size.NO idea how many filters are used or their configuration. Time in place was 33 hours. Time in place makes a lot of difference if 'approximated background' is subtracted. Lots of talk about air flow and volume; but these are particles, not a gas..and not evenly no idea if air volume makes tremendous difference. Exposure is exposure.
      2. The entire filter is used to determine the total of the contamination-they used an incineration/disolution process.
      3. "Analyses of this filter show that 0.64 Becquerels (Bq) of 241Am and 0.046 Bq of 239+240Pu were found to be deposited on the filter media."
      4."The Becquerel is an international unit of measure of radioactivity and is defined as one disintegration per second."
      This counts rate of decay–not a measurement. How are DPS used with PU which has a long long 1/2 life??
      5. Distance was .6 of a mile from WIPP, was the wind blowing in that direction during the 'plume' event. Location location location.

      Just a lot of questions on the status, exact emissions and measurements,safety– and ongoing efforts to stop the emissions. AND clean up what has been ejected. If somehow WIPP has managed to create a pure fusion event-whoop whoop. Now they need to clean it up the mess before anything more happens. The Poor Down and Up Winders –are the public..that's us!

    • Deny 99%, admit 1%… S.O.P.

  • Tiza Tiza

    Here's something else from the POTR site. Is very troubling about WIPP.

  • Nick

    "So you have 4 million highly-radioactive used nuclear fuel bundles. They are safely stored 500 metres underground. It's going to take about 1 million years before they are safe to juggle.

    How do you keep people from accidentally digging them up?

    What kind of a sign do you design that says to someone 500,000 years in the future, "Stay away! This place is really, really dangerous!"?"
    .."The Americans have actually thought quite a bit about this. This was one of the questions they considered when designing their Waste Isolation Pilot Plant — a deep geological repository — in Carlsbad, New Mexico."

    ???? We waste our time designing signs to last a millennia if the very repository has a serious breach after only 15 years! We never ever thought that such a breach could happen. But don't you think our warning signs to the future look great?

    • There aren't supposed to be any used nuclear fuel bundles in there.

      That's illegal..

      But if someone 'certified' that a container did not contain any, but no one looked inside, who is to say what is REALLY in there?

      After all, high level waste is not something you are going to inspect visually, because if you did, you would die.

  • kickstand970 kickstand970

    and 97% of the waste is in cardboard/plywood containers or carbon steel 55 gal drums…not many casks at all.
    quotes above & below start from:

    Response of jec: "Boy eye opening Chargedarticle! Note that the requirements for casks–NOTHING! Idea is saltdome will make a cocoon.See this:
    "..WIPP project, because there is no commitment to use robust engineered barriers for disposal of the TRU waste. Ninety-seven percent (by volume) of the waste to be disposed at WIPP will be contained in ordinary mild carbon steel 55 gallon drums with an expected life ofonly 20 years, or in Standard Waste Boxes made of plywood or metal. The containers are expected to get crushed and corroded in a few years in the corrosive briny environment of a repository in salt beds and saltcreep is expected to close the openings and form a cocoon around the waste"
    Can someone say STUPID???
    Plywood or mild carbon steel drums!!? Bet plastic covered cardboard was also used! Guess the great idea..didn't work well did it? Was it even TESTED before they started dumping? Like for a few years to see if the 'cocoon' would form? Brainacs they are NOT!!"

  • Nick

    Sometimes I feel like I've been tied to the WIPPing post. Tied to the WIPPing post.
    (tx to the A bros)

    I imagine all over the planet, hastily constructed waste dumps for all things nuclear, many underground hidden from the public eye.

    Even to say a site is "secure" is suspicious since ya can't take a peek inside to see if the cardboard is even dry or just what exactly is being stored inside.

    It is the great lie of the nuclear age to say "we have found a solution to waste storage."

    No one has, not no how, not no way.

    WIPP is a perfect example of the lullaby we hear from the nuclear fools.

    Check out what FRANCE is doing. Now take a fresh look at Germany's decision.

    We should all be ashamed of letting this scam go on for so long.

  • Nick

    "The wastes, contained in steel containers, are placed into the salt formation and surrounded with a backfill material. The salt formation's natural properties take care of the long-term isolation of the waste: geological salt environments have a very low rate of groundwater flow, making them suitable for containing the long-lived radionuclides. The salt itself is plastic, meaning that the excavations are gradually self-sealing: at WIPP, a panel naturally begins to close at a rate of about 7.5-15 cm per year. This feature means that the waste effectively becomes permanently encapsulated in the salt formation and isolated from the biosphere."

    And yet, a "puff" event released the permanently encapsulated waste INTO the biosphere.

    What's a four letter word that begins with F and ends with L?

  • Tiza Tiza

    Well, heck, why don't they just put all of that crap in plastic empty milk bottles? It seems that they don't care at all. I think many of them don't know how bad it is, do you think? Or maybe they've been around it so long, just throwing stuff around thinking it's nothing. It seems that could be the case with some people saying, oh, heck, it's like eating a banana, or flying in a plane, etc. They buy into the lies.

    • SadieDog

      – Hardy says his group is still analysing samples taken directly from the exhaust shaft – both before and after the air is filtered – and plans to release the results as early as today. The findings will determine whether the air filtration system, which is designed to capture 99.97% of the radiation, functioned properly. “We’ve never had to test it under live conditions,” Hardy says.

    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      Great news! Unimaginably poisonous plutonium Rad levels decrease (safely vented to other locations/animals). Russell Hardy, director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center at New Mexico State University sums up the intelligence in a few words that could be a moto for the entire industry; "it’s really all just speculation at this point,”

  • Nigwil

    I would have thought that WIPP would have had video cameras pointing along every aisle and into every panel down there. Any installation like that usually has a lot of oversight gear to monitor day to day movements and security.

    I bet if a couple of old nuns were wandering around down there checking security then we would have CCTV footage of their perambulations on the 6 o'clock news!

    Odd that there is no remote oversight of the underground; nothing that they are telling us about anyway. Are all the CCDs in the cameras fried, or is the news just too bad to bear??

    • PurpleRain PurpleRain

      They probably cut the video camera monitoring system out of the budget so that money could be used to grease palms somewhere along the way.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Someone posted ..a link showing ..what the ventilation system looks like..
    Some guy changing the filter.
    If anyone know what ..I am talking about .. please repost.

    In the meantime ..I'm posting the video of the fire.
    And it seems to me the plume is coming from two ..perhaps three places.

    Fire prompts evacuation of WIPP; six treated for smoke inhalation

    • lam335 lam335

      I think you are referring to pictures in a video from POTR blog

      "DEADLY WARNING: Initial Plutonium Cloud Size ~110 MILLION Bq, On Going Releases @ ~6,667 Bq PER MINUTE"

      Here's his link to the source of the pictures (it's from the website of the lab that tests the filters):

      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        Hi Ian335..Thank you for this..
        At 2:15..he talks about the testing of the emissions coming from a half inch in comparison of the huge exhaust vent.
        At 4:30 he mentions ..WIPP said the filtering was on off for a little while.

        I wanted to take a look at the exhaust vent.
        Because in the clip of the fire..the fire comes straight up..but in the distance..I thought I saw smoke..coming what would seem to be now the end of the exhaust vent.
        Small thing ..I know.
        They can control the numbers..from the HEPA filters.
        Say anything..really.
        But what came out of there ..whoa and way.

        • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

          Typo..WIPP said the filtering was "OFF' for awhile long is "awhile".

          • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

            So why didn't the smoke from that little ol' truck fire go through the huge exhaust vent?

            Some sort of event occurred..then.

            • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

              PS. (small thought)..It seems to me in viewing the original clip of the fire..just for a second..)the clip doesn't have a counter)..I think I see a small plume..behind the larger one in front.

              Trouble in the filtration area?
              How did they say the workers were exposed?

      • How long are those HEPA filters good for?

        What happens when they get clogged and need changing?

        Do they just bypass them, or what?

        Is the public going to see what radiation is in the HEPA filters?

        All that is in the pics is taking the tiny little round air sample filters out.. NOT the HEPA filters.

  • GQR2

    Heart are you thinking of the photo of the guy standing by the little skinny gold tubes. i'm looking for that one, and found this one
    drum data.

    found a picture of drum valves.

    • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

      Thanks for these as well.
      I was a bit lazy about saving links..
      As usual..we need to.

      • GQR2

        Top of the morning to youuu Heart. methinks the lil ol truck fire most certainly bypassed those tiny filters,the screens which aren't much bigger than a bong screen.
        At the town hall,the nitwit with the opera singing son,held one up. It looked teensy for the job. One got the feeling,they didn't change the filters much, if at all.
        The potr blog has the clip with the smiling unmasked,unprotected guy fiddling around with an octopus looking machine with tiny pipes coming into it.

        All that smoke billowing up from the fire. It happened down below according to the diagram the mine chief showed. Over 3000 ft away from panel room 7. almost at the entrance to the rows of rooms. What filters are in these shafts?

  • Max Sievert Max Sievert

    Crazy! 13 Reporters Test Positive for Radiation and 1,200 Radiation Suits Sent to New Mexico!

    • or-well

      Max, gotta question credibility here. The link that ytuber gives for the "reporters test positive" itself says workers, not reporters.

      • Max Sievert Max Sievert

        if you stop the clip at the begining and read the text you can read the update text you will read that a local carlsbad media is reporting about 13 reporters been contaminated with radioactivity.

        • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

          "Workers", not "reporters".
          (They don't even have 13 reporters in Carlsbad.). 😉

          • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

            Radiation scans are free to the public at the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring & Research Center.

            Note to Heart of Rose:
            Normally, the vent bypasses the filter.
            This is why you see belching smoke from the vent during the videos of the truck fire on 2/5/4014.
            When the cave-in occurred, a radiation alarm sounded at the vent building, which automatically closed the bypass within 30 seconds. All the air then passed through the filter, which only leaks a "little bitty bit" of radiation. The bulk of the radiation was released during the first 30 seconds.
            Potrblog has done a great job on the WIPP releases. Hope you read all his material, and watch the videos. Quite comprehensive. Cudos to the Potrblog site! 🙂

            Yesterday, I posted a suggestion of a link between the truck fire and the roof collapse. The Carlsbad Current-Argus reports the truck fire to have been in a new section of the cave, not near the storage casks of nuclear material. So there is apparently no relationship between the truck fire and the ceiling collapse incident. Just a run of bad luck.

            WIPP was designed to safely contain Plutonium for 10,000 years, eh, DOE? 😉

  • Max Sievert Max Sievert

    ok maybe workers,but in the text they claim there are 13 reporters, but contaminated remains contaminated regardless of whether they are employees or reporter .

    UPDATE: Local Carlsbad media is now reporting that 13 news reporters have tested positive for exposure to Americum-241, a radioactive particle known to have been emitted from the underground storage. The Carlsbad Current Argus also has stated that NWP spokesman Donavan Mager said that “there is no way the radiation could be spread.”

    • or-well

      Max, you're not getting it.
      westwire is quoting local media incorrectly. That local media says employees and workers, not reporters. Go read the Carlsbad Current Argus. It's there in black and white.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    New Mexico judge rules doctors can help terminally ill patients commit suicide without prosecution

    Second Judicial Judge Nan Nash determined that patients have the right to request aid in dying, and New Mexico cannot prohibit them because it would deprive that person from enjoying life and liberty.
    Jan 14 2014

    Duly noted..

  • jec jec

    From DOE.."At the end of 2011, over 29,500 55-gallon drums, of the original TRU waste inventory was shipped. SRS's current projections have the Site scheduled to ship all of the SRS TRU legacy waste to WIPP by 2013.." GEE that was just a few months ago…and see THIS photograph..that is a transport truck. So where did the HEAVY water reactor go??? Heavy means PU..could that also mean storage at WIPP? Was it processed and 'decommissioned?' Where? Certainly this reactor would not have been sent to NM? Would it?

  • WIPPlash

    They took a ready of 46 Bq (i.e. CPS) and reduced it by background, so they say, and presented the date as 0.64 Bq (CPS)

    There is your smoking gun
    There is your undeniable proof of their ability to tell bald faced lies.

  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Not Very Reassuring Photo Of Whipp Exhaust:

    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      that little upturn at the end of the exhaust was designed to deflect any remaining deadly particles out of harms way. Yes, everything in engineering has a well thought out purpose

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Oh,oh..put your curser on the photo..the square venting..(J6)

    That's where I saw the third plume.
    (the video of the fire taken from the opposite side)

    Totally excellent..thanks..PhilipUpNorth

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      Bobby1's article is such a great read:
      "The 13-ft. high by 33-ft. wide rooms will be short-lived. Large open fractures appear in the ceilings of all rooms within months of mining. Several roof-falls and floor heaves have already occurred at WIPP, so an extensive array of roof bolts has been installed to delay the failure of the remaining rooms long enough to fill them with drums. These and all future rooms will suffer collapse of major roof slabs bounded above by weak clay-bed partings. Such falls will crush the drums, and uncontained waste will enter the fractures… At the Canadian mines, the fractures sometimes breach the top of salt into an aquifer, causing inflows that flood the mine (Tofani, R., 1983, Van Sambeek, 1993). After shaft leakage, such roof breaching is the next most common cause of flooding of salt and potash mines, all of which ultimately flood because they lie below the water table. Already there is leakage occurring from the Dewey Lake Redbeds into one of the WIPP shafts, and thence into the repository. In European potash mining experience, such leakage has been irreparable. The first drop of water signals the eventual flooding of the mine. (link)"
      DOE says roof collapse isn't possible. Beg to differ. 😉

      • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

        What is inside of those casks?
        This is what got crushed in the cave-in. IMO

        From themBobby1 article linked above:
        "Transuranic waste is divided into 2 main categories by the amount of radioactivity it carries– contact-handled (CH-TRU) and remote-handled (RH-TRU) waste. CH-TRU waste is limited to a maximum dose rate of less than 0.2 rem (200 millirem) per hour measured at the surface of the drums in which it is packed. CH-TRU accounts for most of the volume of waste going to WIPP. Most of the radioactive content of the CH-TRU waste is plutonium 238-241 and americium-241 and most of the radiation is made up of alpha particles. (Americium emits some gamma rays which penetrate the waste container walls and account for the 0.2 rem being emitted per hour.)

        "The RH-TRU waste contains much more penetrating radiation in the form of Beta particles and Gamma rays which is the reason it has to be handled by machine in special radiation-shielded rooms called Hot Cells. (An RH-TRU waste canister is shown at left. It is a single-shell vented steel container which will hold three 55-gallon drums.) Most of the radioactive content of this waste is made up of fission products and the radionuclides are more varied: Strontium-90, Ytrium-90, Cesium-137, Barium-137, Plutonium-241, Americium-241 and Cobolt-60." (More)

    • CodeShutdown CodeShutdown

      "The 13-ft. high by 33-ft. wide rooms will be short-lived. Large open fractures appear in the ceilings of all rooms within months of mining… These and all future rooms will suffer collapse of major roof slabs … Such falls will crush the drums, and uncontained waste will enter the fractures…"

      Salt caverns; the perfect self healing storage for eternity! Even a child of 10 would have reservations about digging a big hole a mile down in salt and filling it with enough poison to destroy the world. Those that dont become nuclear engineers

      …geostatic and hydrostatic pressures range up to thousands of pounds per sq inch…an unimaginably intense and dynamic situation

      "Groundwater flow near salt domes is complex because groundwater is subject to a variety of driving forces including the release of geopressured fluids, large lateral density gradients, and regional hydraulic head gradients. The complexity of this environment is born out by recent geochemical and geophysical observations that indicate the occurrence of upward groundwater flow near some salt domes."

  • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

    Shut them all down and stop producing anymore Nuclear Waste anywhere on this planet! 🙂

    This is the only sane solution to a problem we humans created and that we do not understand how to solve.. 🙂

    Shut this entire Nuclear Industry down via International Law..Now! 🙂

    Do it quickly and do it now since the Nuclear Technology the Black Plague is growing larger and spreading rapidly.. 🙁

    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      Correct-amundo, obewanspeaks.
      To Generate this sort of toxic waste with NOPLACE to put it after you are done with it is way beyond foolish.
      To generate power for a few years, and in the process to generate waste that is toxic for 100,000 years is way beyond foolish.

      You got nowhere to put it, you have no right to make it in the first place.

      All due to corruption of public officials on a massive scale.

      Hey, all you pro-nukers out there. Ask yourself this question:
      If we had put the same public money that we have squandered thus far on supporting an economically unviable nuclear power industry, into wind, solar, and tidal power, where would we be today?
      Answer: We would be generating 75% of our energy with hydro, wind, and solar, backed up by 25% natural gas, from methane hydrate mining of the sea bottom.

      Nuclear power makes no economic sense at all.
      You corrupted the US government and got your way, nuke industry.
      But in the end, your precious and corrupt nuclear power industry will still go belly up.
      And the people will still be calling a gigantic spill of solar energy a "nice day". 😉

      • obewanspeaks obewanspeaks

        Phillip, keep giving the hell! 🙂

        Someone in charge. with a few brain cells, has to get it someday..we can only hope that they catch on now! 🙂

        Very soon it will be to late to change the/any future outcome.. 🙁

  • GQR2

    Philip i found a pdf with drum data in it from 2008- its in my comment above made at 11:20 pm last night to Heart. peeps ought to take a look at it. They have a mess alright.

  • M Curie M Curie

    KRQE News13 @ WIPP news conf now. Live report @ 4pm.

  • Nick


    Who would've thought it?

    Well, it happened, now find out the truth.

  • Nick

    "The WIPP plant is owned by the US Department of Energy (DoE) and operated by Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC (NWP). The facility disposes of transuranic waste packages from the US military in an underground salt formation."

  • Nick

    Unfortunately the attempts at isolated such wastes from the biosphere for eons has failed.

    We are SO sorry.

  • arclight2 arclight2

    OT but it is important

    "Mari is facing charges stemming from speaking out on radiation in Japan and advocacy for families relocating children out of the areas contaminated by radioactivity from the damaged Fukushima Daiichi reactor site, operated by TEPCO. Radioactivity continues to leave that site. It is well established that while lower levels of exposure to radioactivity lowers risk, the greatest hazard from radiation comes when children are exposed, raising the risk of cancer manifold over their entire lives."