“Radiation leaks could still be occurring” at WIPP — Locals worried since “no one knows anything” — Workers to use “military-like tactics… ready to risk everything” — “Event has changed WIPP” — “Life as we knew it is going to be different”

Published: March 23rd, 2014 at 5:23 pm ET


New York Times, Mar. 20, 2014: “The event that has happened has changed WIPP,” [Jose R. Franco, manager of the Department of Energy’s Carlsbad field office] said, using the popular nickname for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. “But we need it to reopen.” […] “Did we ever think it could happen? No, but it did,” [Rick Fuentes, president of the local chapter of the United Steelworkers union] said. “So everybody has to come to terms with the reality that life as we knew it at WIPP is going to be different now.”

Indian Country Today, Mar. 20, 2014: Local Carlsbad residents, even those who work there or are dependent on WIPP’s economic benefits, are worried because “no one knows anything.” They are glad that the EPA has come in to investigate as well, because they don’t know if they can trust what WIPP officials have to say about the leak and any radiation contamination. […] “no one knows anything” — explanations are criticized and officials are mistrusted.

Carlsbad Current Argus, Mar. 22, 2014: Department of Energy and Nuclear Waste Partnership has spent weeks training for the day when teams are sent below ground to investigate the transuranic nuclear waste drums […] the military-like tactics will consist of a balance of risks according to Re-entry Team Leader Wes Bryan. […] A myriad of factors play a role in the underground investigation process and any mistake has the possibility of derailing the task. […] Bryan has prepped his mine rescue team how to respond to any and all “worst case scenarios.” […] Bryan said, if the closed air circuit for a rescue team member fails, that person should remove their helmet because suffocation poses a greater and more immediate threat of death than breathing in radioactive particles underground. […] inherent risks and dangers cannot be overlooked and the mine rescue team is ready to risk everything to ensure the safety of the Carlsbad and surrounding communities.

Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety Program at the Southwest Research and Information Center, Mar. 22, 2014: “A month after the fact, we still don’t know what happened because no humans or robots have been underground. Radiation leaks could still be occurring. On top of that, the amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere may be unknowable forever. […] What we are certain of is that plutonium and americium are very dangerous and typically cause fatal lung cancer when inhaled. Yet, if you believe the Department of Energy, these employees face no health risks whatsoever. […] There are 170,000 total containers buried at this site, with many holding contaminated plutonium waste from making nuclear bombs. […] The release of radioactive material wasn’t supposed to happen for 15,000 years, yet WIPP had its first catastrophe in 15 years.”

See also: [intlink id=”official-radioactive-particles-escaping-everyday-wipp-dispersing-top-officials-made-available-comment-expert-leakage-coming-unfiltered-ducts-weeks” type=”post”]Official: Radioactive material escaping everyday from WIPP  — Top officials “not made available for comment” — Expert: Leaks from ‘unfiltered’ ducts went on for weeks[/intlink]

Published: March 23rd, 2014 at 5:23 pm ET


Related Posts

  1. 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
  2. Officials now admit over 500 barrels of nuclear waste at risk of bursting open — AP: 368 already at WIPP dump — “New Mexico sees ‘imminent’ danger” — State orders WIPP to prevent “health or environmental threat”; Must ‘permanently seal’ underground storage areas May 21, 2014
  3. Experts: Gov’t may never stabilize hundreds of explosive drums of radioactive waste stored at WIPP — Nuclear dump now at risk of closing permanently — Ruined for good by kitty litter? (AUDIO) May 23, 2014
  4. ‘New tests show elevated radiation’ near U.S. nuclear site — ‘More airborne radiation detected’ around WIPP — Gov’t issues press release on ‘radiological event’ (MAP) February 24, 2014
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217 comments to “Radiation leaks could still be occurring” at WIPP — Locals worried since “no one knows anything” — Workers to use “military-like tactics… ready to risk everything” — “Event has changed WIPP” — “Life as we knew it is going to be different”

  • Sickputer

    The feds are quick to turn yet another "low level" radiation waste site into a high level dumping ground.

    Friday, March 21, 2014, 6:50am MDT

    Los Alamos waste heading to Texas
    Gary Gerew
    Albuquerque Business First

    "The Department of Energy has decided to transport radioactive waste from the Los Alamos National Laboratory to Texas while awaiting the reopening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad.

    The decision was made so the department can adhere to a schedule for clearing the waste from the lab site by the end of June.

    Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) said he was pleased with the department’s choice to take the material to a site in Andrews, Texas, operated by Waste Control Specialists."


    SP: New Mexico is happy to see it go. Andrews, Texas city fathers eagerly welcome the million year hazardous waste to their town, flush from the opening of a new McDonalds, new Dominos pizza, new Loves, legal alcohol for the first time in local gas station stores, and two major new hotels soon to arrive.

    SP: Be careful about the financial windfalls…there is no substitute for good human health. And when you wreck the environment…no amount of money will fix the damage.

    • jec jec

      Bet we see a NEW 'executive decision' by DOE to by pass all permiting by the State of Texas. Once polluted..its too late. Once the public is contaminated..too late.

    • HoTaters HoTaters

      SP, is the Andrews site the one that sits atop the Oglalla Aquifer?

      If so, bad news, very bad news indeed.

  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Meeting set to discuss WIPP reentry
    March 24 2014


    "WIPP officials near Carlsbad plan on letting the Artesia City Council know exactly what they plan to do when a team goes underground for the first time since the radiation leak."

    If I was living in Artesia..I'd be pretty interested.
    Is a sinkhole in Carlsbad's future?

    'Most people look at it as a matter of when, not if'


  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Just insane ..this is an area of karst activity..
    Human activity or no.
    I'm posting this to show the way sinkholes are made..it can happen in several ways.
    See figure 7.
    Bottomless Lakes State Park


    Just insane…

  • Nick

    Did anyone run an expensive computer model to see if radioactive gases, etc vented from a slew of various containers shipped from all over the country in various states of repair, would interact with the salt ceilings and walls of this fabulously failed waste isolation pilot plant?

    It is my understanding that the complex was designed to vent.

    We know that nuclear exchange facilities all over the world "vent" intentionally, be it tritium, xenon, whatever.

    I suspect someone forgot that salt is not a good place to store shit.

  • demise demise

    Isn't it amazing how the US govt knows absolutely nothing about either Japanese or WIPP. It's a complete cover-up to hide incompetence in both case. This administration is supposed to be transparent. That is a complete and utter lie. This is the most non transparent administration in history and will tell us and do nothing about the radiation threats we are now facing. It's a complete abomination of power.

  • haizedustrium-1234 haizedustrium-1234

    MLLW, Class A, B and C, RCRA/TSCA, LLW, TENORM and NORM is not short for contaminated boots and gloves, it is highly corrosive goo and goes through glass and metal in a few years.

  • waiono

    "For example, Bryan said, if the closed air circuit for a rescue team member fails, that person should remove their helmet because suffocation poses a greater and more immediate threat of death than breathing in radioactive particles underground."


    my comment: we had better protection sandblasting 35 years ago

    • Exactly….no freaking backup planned….suck down that Plutonium like a man!

      These are freaking amateurs.

    • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

      I live in mining town..
      They know what happened around here.. they understand an explosion has occurred.
      I did mention to a couple townies …this particular recommendation .."Can't breathe.. take your helmet/mask off"..

      Their eyes..pop open..
      Then they laugh ..then they get a serious look in on their face.

      • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

        Send people to their deaths.
        There has been an explosion in a facility ..built with the mentality of a common prairie dug out.
        Tossing in the nuclear GARBAGE of all the major nuclear facilities.
        How so much for 'creeping ..oh.. the salt is going to 'creep' and cover the waste.
        Salt doesn't 'creep'..it fractures…
        Ya..and tends to enclose areas ..which is a common activity of FRAGILE geological materials.

        If radiological emissions were detected ..off-site.
        Then there is radiological contamination on-site.

        Take your helmet off…

        • GQR2

          This Thursday's Town Hall should be very interesting Heart. The audacity of their lies. They must really think people are stupid. The miners ought to refuse. "Take your helmet off" indeed!

  • waiono

    Karen Sherry Brackett · Top Commenter
    "McQuinn said his toughest challenge came in 2000 when he took over operations at the Hanford Site after the plutonium plant was shut down by the DOE because of major safety violations." After having read Donna Busche's 37 page report on Hanford and her pending whistleblower case against Hanford I have serious concerns for WIPP under McQuinn's leadership. A lesser known but highly concerning allegation by Busche on health safety screening tests being purposefully degraded to favor productivity and cost reduction over worker and public safety is included in her report… consequently, I seriously doubt WIPP has been placed in good hands. After all proceeding to build 60% of a structure before the health specialists even sign off on the designs is not exactly logical much less legal. http://www.c-span.org/video/?318226-1%2Fhanford-nuclear-site-safety-roundtable-hearing


  • waiono

    10,000 year guarantee? really?

    State justifiably outraged by administration's nuclear waste policy

    U.S. taxpayers have spent billions designing and building the facility at Yucca Mountain. It is ideally located for this purpose and is guaranteed by the Department of Energy to hold the material securely for 10,000 years. But that's not good enough for the Obama administration, which wishes to placate Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. So the administration has pulled the plug on using Yucca Mountain.


    • PurpleRain PurpleRain

      The program was cancelled because the plan was not GEOLOGICALLY SOUND!
      It had nothing to do with Obama or Reid.
      I don't have the old links on this topic…. but there are plenty out there.

      • jec jec

        A judge saw the 10,000 year containers for Yucca Mtn waste storage-containers that failed in less than FIVE years. So the feasibilty for use of containers for 10K was a failed theory..smart judge stopped the project!

        Of course, where did all those containers then go? WIPP??

  • starspire starspire

    I don't even get it. How is it that someone thought up this horrible idea of creating nuclear waste and storing underground near Navajo indians. Ridiculous.

  • mark_eric

    alreadyconsidereddead clicked these clacks:
    March 23, 2014 at 7:16 pm
    according to the "official" line, the Apollo Moonsuits are well capable of eliminating radiation threats. how could a little spilt waste soup possibly pose a threat today? nearly 50 years and we are telling workers wearing paper suits to suck in deeply if they run out of air.
    something seems to lead to they lied then or are lying now,, how much cash did nasa divert to other programs if they cant even build an effective suit now? did the suits ever work off a sound stage as directed by kubrick?
    yeah,, just theories people, nothing to see, taste or smell here, move along. nothing can hurt you if you smile!
    They have already (incorrectly) likened the exposure to the public as being like "getting an x-ray." Oh really? Interesting. Then by their own logic this will be <b>like getting a continuous x-Ray</b> so don't you think we might want to throw a couple of those lead aprons over their shoulders, tie a few around there waist?

    Your suggestion of the moon suit is exactly what I was thinking they would use. Until I saw the pictures of workers out there NOW in t-shirts. As to disappearing technology, you might be interested to know that the Apollo astronauts had space boots that really worked. You could lift your foot off the metal deck, then put your foot back down where magnets grabbed the metal and held you steady.

    -cont after the break-

  • mark_eric

    -cont from previous post-

    Of course, you might say, how else are space boots supposed to work! Except we seem to have lost the ability to make those boots any longer. What the Space Shuttle and ISS astronauts have today are these horrible "Shuffle Boots" that you can't fully lift your foot from the deck, so you have to scrape and shuffle you're way around the outside of a spacecraft, while looking down/up at Earth. How could that be, that we've already forgotten how to make those?

    Lest you think this is a veiled way of saying we didn't go to the moon, it isn't. The boots did work, it's been a Memory Hole incident for NASA, but not everyone. So I know they worked, because I looked it up on the Internets, and I built a pair! : )

    I wonder what other marvels of technology have disappeared down the Memory Hole? I wonder if any of them might have the potential to save our (and the rest of the planets) bacon before the bacon fries.


  • Tainted Teachings Tainted Teachings

    There exists accurate and up to date data for black bear tagging and harvesting and violation prosecution, Nuclear?

  • Last week I watched a Carlsbad Town Hall meeting.

    At the end of the meeting an 'expert' does a rad detector reading.

    It comes out a bit high, but he reassures the audience that it's just radon.


    You can't say it's radon unless you use a SPECIAL test for radon. Well, I guess you can say it, but that does not necessarily make it true.

    People are so gullible sometimes, because they want to believe it's all okay. 😉

    >>>> "The only way to determine if a home or building has elevated indoor radon is to test. Fortunately, testing can be easy and relatively inexpensive. Low cost short and long-term test kits are available from the National Safety Council."

    "Health organizations worldwide have determined that there is “No safe level of indoor radon.” The EPA recommends that owners of homes or buildings with an annual indoor radon average of 4.0 pCi/L (picoCuries per liter) should consider fixing or “mitigating” them."
    See: http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/nmrcb/radon.html

    I did a bit more research on radon in NM. Guess what, Carlsbad has almost none in comparison to ALL other counties in New Mexico.

    Check this out.

    Here's the chart for Eddy county where Carlsbad is located.
    Eddy County 5%

    For comparison.
    Taos County 59%

    New Mexico counties map:

    • GQR2

      Hardy is a dangerous man. CEMRC people are irresponsible. The iphone charger lady works for them too. They knew of Fukushima Cesium in Carlsbad and elsewhere in NM and bragged in their report they picked it up. Obviously they feel no ethical responsibility with the work they do.

      They need to be sued for withholding Public Health Information,isn't there some compelling law for disclosure. Is everything that concerns human welfare to be a proprietary corporate secret held for profit.
      (very similar to the voting machine venders that claim proprietary software)

    • GQR2

      There is another meeting Thursday i wonder what dangerous circus tricks they will pull this time or if they will change rooms because that one was so radioactive.

      • jec jec

        Someone should remind those 'officals' about what happened to Italian scientists who 'fudged nature' and their 'no danger pronoucements' caused deaths. THEY went to jail. WIPP officals and Hardy..should realize they are playing God with peoples lives. Their hope is it will take YEARS for cancers and disease to show up.

        Then the public has to PROVE they got sick from the PU or other radiation products from WIPP. At least for thyroid cancers, they can fingerprint the cause as being from radiation(WIPP is not a generator of 1-313 that we KNOW of). Of course,then the victim is told..prove where radiation came from. NOTE: EPA is designated as the radiation testing authority.they back the DOE in pronouncements, and if EPA montiors are not avaiable, off or not recording, "no official proof." Fox watching the hen house and part of the 'playbook" –TMI, Chernobyl, BP Oil Spill..Fukushima, and now WIPP.

    • bo bo

      Saved this entire post, thank you ChasAha