Nuclear Power International magazine, May 2, 2014: Workers find damage to underground radioactive storage bags at WIPP — Photos taken from re-entry into the underground storage area of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico showed damage to bags of magnesium oxide [...] on top of waste containers to prevent the radioactive material from releasing into the environment over a 10,000-year period.
Albuquerque Journal, May 2, 2014: The magnesium oxide bags, [weigh] up to 4,200 pounds […] Deputy Recovery Manager Tammy Reynolds said the damaged bags were found in the storage room where the leak is believed to have occurred [...] at least one bag had been “grossly disturbed,” with its outer material apparently “disintegrating,” she said.
Dept. of Energy (pdf), May 2, 2014: WIPP personnel place “super sacks” of magnesium oxide on the top of waste columns [...] Based on recent entries into the WIPP underground facility, the team is evaluating the contents of a set of waste drums that came from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that are located in Panel 7, the location of the event. The team is looking at the possibility that a chemical reaction may have occurred [...]
Tammy Reynolds, Deputy Recovery Manager at WIPP, May 1, 2014 (at 11:45 in): Some of these bags along the wall here… the form of those bags is not the same. They’re not upright… and also they look like they’ve been disturbed and don’t necessarily look like the material is contained in the bags… this bag has been grossly disturbed… the material on the outside of the bag looks almost like it’s been disintegrated or destroyed and you’re seeing the magnesium oxide sitting there without the bag around it… It looks like the material on the bag is no longer intact… It tells us that something has disturbed these bags, something has degraded the material on the outside… The roof of the mine looks good… we’re still not ruling out any possibilities at this point.
Published: May 2nd, 2014 at 8:23 pm ET