Radioactive contamination now reported in city over 20 miles from leaking U.S. nuclear site #WIPP — 10th largest population in state of New Mexico (MAP)

Published: February 24th, 2014 at 8:27 pm ET
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WIPP Environmental Sampling Results (pdf), published Feb. 24, 2014 — Most recent publicly available measurements in disintegrations per minute (DPM):

Feb. 18, 2014

  • D: 2.7 DPM
  • E: 4.2 DPM
  • F: 1.6 DPM
  • G: 1.3 DPM

View full sampling map here (pdf)

Also from today:

Published: February 24th, 2014 at 8:27 pm ET
By
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107 comments

Related Posts

  1. TV: Officials now confirm contamination from WIPP reached Carlsbad, New Mexico’s 10th most populated city — Container of radioactive waste may have “blew up” (VIDEO) March 10, 2014
  2. Official: 4.4 mil disintegration of alpha radiation detected at leaking U.S. nuclear site, includes Plutonium; Highest recorded level — Santa Fe Briefing: “Serious incident involving radiation at the WIPP site” — Gov’t “reaching out to employees who are worried” about exposure February 24, 2014
  3. 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
  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
  5. Mexicans concerned, anxious about WIPP radiation release — City of 2.5 million nearly 200 miles away “within transnational evacuation zone in event of a nuclear disaster” — Local officials meeting with U.S. gov’t — Whistleblower: If plutonium released “surrounding population should take precautions” March 26, 2014

107 comments to Radioactive contamination now reported in city over 20 miles from leaking U.S. nuclear site #WIPP — 10th largest population in state of New Mexico (MAP)

  • Capt. Nemo Capt. Nemo

    For nations with people to spare, this sort of news may produce a sense of cheer in some–academic types, gov types, serial killers lusting for new methods, etc. They (the sinister few) have known all along that storing radioactive material was a short term solution and that disasters would occur. Drawing on available demographics they calculated the percentages and determined that this would actually be an asset. Their underlings took a cue and proceeded to tell various encouraging things to the money people and now decades later we have a mess on our hands.


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  • jump-ball

    Now is the time for a platoon of detector vigilantes to surround WIPP and report the truth…


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  • Jebus Jebus

    I dare them to sample for plutonium like that, with that same equipment, in any city on the west coast. Test like that in Denver.
    Test like that in Tri Cities. Test like that near any toxic plutonium site. We have been sucking up the cancer causing plutonium for years.

    Now it's bad?

    I double dare them…


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  • Wright South West Wright South West

    I had to edit the WIPP Environmental Sampling Results link above to get it to work. It had a http:// on the end of the link that needed to be removed. This should work http://www.wipp.energy.gov/Special/WIPP%20Environmental%20Sampling%20Results.pdf


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  • thuddds

    Wouldn't that now qualify as a Level 4 accident?


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  • Wright South West Wright South West

    Here's video of the Town Hall meeting at Carlsbad this evening.
    http://new.livestream.com/accounts/85948/events/1702454


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  • tbg

    Here's a link to the press conference video, audio sounds pretty bad from the podium, like they have a fan or white noise generator going until the very end when it cuts off in mid-sentence and then you hear what the guy is saying perfectly clear.

    http://new.livestream.com/accounts/85948/events/1702454

    Don't worry, everything is ok.


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  • Here's an excerpt from the WIPP's official description:
    A reason for selecting bedded salt deposits for isolating radioactive
    waste was the assumption that salt would be essentially dry. One of
    the surprises encountered by in situ underground studies at the WIPP
    is that the Salado salt yields a fair amount of water. A large percentage
    of boreholes drilled down from the WIPP excavations fill up with brine
    and the walls are covered with efflorescences and encrustations resulting
    from brine inflow from salt into the excavation and drying up by ven-
    tilated air. Several boreholes completed in the Salado Formation indicate
    fluid pressure buildup (Mercer, 1987). In situ Salado salt has low
    (10 21 m 2 ), but measurable, permeability.

    Find complete report here: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/24578505/44_p0331_p0338.pdf


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  • or-well

    Oh come on
    it's perfectly safe,
    OK, not for babies,
    and don't eat the peyote,
    but those were only
    rabid coyotes.
    Well, it's only one city,
    it's only one state,
    it's only one country,
    hey – it's them not us,
    and it's their fault
    so why all the fuss,
    our systems are safe
    in that you can trust,
    excuse me I've got
    to catch the last bus.
    Oh, and the gold?
    It's coming with us,
    along with our lapdog scientists
    and pretty spokeswomen
    and talking heads.
    Please say goodbye
    to our boring wives,
    tell them we're having fun
    where we've gone to survive.

    Or something like that.


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  • Jebus Jebus

    4.2 disintegrations per minute. 4.2 atoms of plutonium decayed.

    Each shot a tiny piece of themselves, a couple of centimeters.

    At the speed of light, almost. Massive kinectic energy.

    Internal emitter. Dust spec. Trillions of atoms.

    Shooting bowling ball sized electrically charged chunks,

    at almost the speed of light in random directions.

    Devastating, to a nearby cell. Disintegrations.

    Ionization. Hydrogen peroxide. DNA destruction.

    Immune system overload. Natures opportunity.

    4.2 disintegrations per minute. 4.2 atoms of plutonium decayed.

    Plutonium has patience…


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  • weeman

    Even Oppenheimer did not have a solution for the waste.
    Do you know the the original concept behind Spent fuel pools was only temporary storage till a solution or depository was found, they are still looking with no success. Keep stock pilling, ludicrous.


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  • tbg

    Here are some of the fracking wells around the WIPP, cuz where there's frack, there's gotta be water. Im not saying water is fracking or water is conclusively to blame this time, I doubt we wiould find out if it is but it's gonna be a problem cuz salt and water dont make a very secure long-term containment.

    http://imgur.com/V24rEQ4

    The green spot is my rough eyeball from the other day about where the WIPP is, I think its off. Then here is an expanded map view of NM. Maybe they shouldn't have almost all the fracking in NM where the WIPP is.

    http://imgur.com/Gic4zoq

    Also here are well images from Ontological's site's map, it wouldnt open for me so I just made some.

    http://imgur.com/owAGGjQ
    http://imgur.com/OmEhTUn


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  • applepie

    LOL
    http://www.kcbd.com/story/24808573/ttu-expert-says-no-danger-from-radiation-leak

    "When they get the reports from the facilities and the experts that have been there, that know the situation, they need to believe them. No one is trying to fool anyone"

    "There was no evidence that any of the radiation actually escaped the facility itself"

    "We learned from the lessons of the Soviets after Chernobyl and the Japanese after Fukushima that you have to be very open with the public, you can't hide anything"

    "No one is going to try and hide the truth from the public and anyone that does that would have severe repercussions in their jobs for doing so"


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  • many moons

    The US spends trillions a year on "keeping us safe from terrorism" and here we go sabotaging ourselves….if this were some kind of outside attack people we would be swarming the area but no it was an "accident….or an accident waiting to happen…."

    I guess I won't get to visit New Mexico, I heard it was one of our most beautiful states.

    Maybe South Carolina will be next with all the MOX crap going on there…or maybe Florida…We will all just have to wait and see…where the shoe drop…it's going to drop for all of us!


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    • or-well

      Beautiful New Mexico trivia.
      The TV series "Earth 2" was filmed entirely in NM. With it's large range of dramatic landscapes, it was the stand-in for an entire earth-like planet.
      If you ever saw the series, or have been to the State, you know.
      How sad, its despoilation.


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  • Ontological Ontological

    Yet another head of a horrible dragon, with Pu239 breath, and neutron beam eyes; awakens to rear its ugly crown among the rest of a formidable multi headed nuclear beast.


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  • Angela_R

    Another 'fail safe' bites the dust?

    If I recall correctly, the Titanic was unsinkable, it had one night to remember


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  • many moons

    I never saw the series…never even heard of it….When I think of New Mexico I think of the Indian and nature photos by Edward Curtis.

    YES…"this land is their land…from the deforested redwoods to the cor-exit gulf stream waters this land is theirs to despoil and sell back to us in some toxic form…whether it's pesticide food or radioactive appliances, do we have a choice but to accept it?


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  • tbg

    I wonder if anyone whose gotten their free body scan has gotten any positive results or if they've even gotten any results yet? Id do it if I lived close enough just to see what they say.

    Seems like there has got to be a cheaper way to detect plutonium than one of the 4 or 5 thousand dollar detectors, maybe a ebay or surplus alpha scintillator hooked outside in a leadbox with a fan blowing past or something but it seems like Pu detection isn't impossible, just expensive. Maybe positive alpha results would make people shit their pants.


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    • jump-ball

      A surplus PDR-56F Radiac will reveal the WIPP 239p leak that authorities are hiding. Can't find one, or any price:

      Prc68.com/l/PDR56FRadiac


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    • We Not They Finally

      There is apparently a lot that a full body scan does NOT pick up. Like internal emitters lodged in the body. With plutonium, that's what causes cancer. The full body scans also apparently only give estimates, as though evenly spread across the body. But that's not true. Different radionuclides seek out specific organs or bodily systems and get concentrated there.


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  • American Phoenix57

    The wind has been steady from Carlsbad to WIPP since the fire. Non stop wind from west to east for at least 10 days. These numbers represent some else entirely. Could be anything in that neck of the woods. Wait till the wind blows the other way. . . only then will Carlsbad know how bad things really are.

    http://hint.fm/wind/

    http://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/500hPa/orthographic=-103.44,31.74,512

    We need to warn people in Lakewood, Loving, Black River village, Hobbs, Eunice and Jal. These are the sitting duck towns dowmwind since the accident not Carlsbad. Classic misdirection ploy.


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  • Sam

    Todays Albuquerque Journal wrote a story on Wipp.
    They compared the dose of 1 rem to an x-ray!
    and said it was localized.

    This catastrophe at Wipp is in my estimation may become
    equivalent in effect to a nuclear meltdown or
    spend fuel pool going up. That salt cavern is not stable,
    It is collapsing on itself. What is the truth about all what
    is down there being stored. What is the truth about what
    is being released and who is in danger down wind or upwind
    or in an ever expanding 360 degrees. Santa Fe, Albuquerque,
    areas of Texas, Oaklahoma and New Mexico. What is the
    worst case scenario for this waste dump?


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  • Johnny Blade Johnny Blade

    I keep coming back to the same damned thought that maybe by orchestrating release events with airborne contamination they're covering each others asse[t]s by making sure nobody can pinpoint & hold accountable the actual source of the radiation that's ravaging peoples bodies and polluting food & water sources now that the shitium's hitting the fan ALL over the place??!! I probably wouldn't have had this recurring vision of the possibility if it wasn't suspicious that the EPA SADNET wasn't suddenly down & broken again in the midst of a looming US nuke disaster at another failed venture(again)??!! They can't stop or even slow down 311 and now this WIPP thing proves that we will be at risk for as long as the nuke-pukes product line & waste remains in ANY facility or treatment options currently available just don't work! That they doomed us all with what they left behind already is not a good reason to say "oh well,we might as well keep on keepin' on,nothing we can do now but hope our kids kids can solve this dilemma while we rake in some more dirty nuke money until the inevitable happens"-instead of just SHUTTING THEM ALL DOWN??!! I always knew we'd be "done in" by nukes,but never expected it to be THIS way??!! I think being vaporized is preferable to what it will be like when all of the impacts have slammed home(?)!! :( Beyond sad…….


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  • Nigwil

    And of course, as Arnie reminds us, its not the counts per minute that are the issue, its the Fuel Fleas you inhale and ingest that will get you.

    So they are measuring an irrelevant variable. The count merely confirms that there is a swarm of Plutonium particles in the air, common sense says you shouldn't breathe any of it!

    Time to sample a few car engine filters, methinks, as a way to get an indication of what your lungs look like!


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  • RonM

    Don't worry it's no worse than sitting on the beach eating a banana split ice cream sundae with sprinkles!


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  • Time to measure and see how far this is being leaked to. I hope they contain it, but I would say it needs to be measured within a 100 mile radius to be safe. http://thehealingfrequency.com/how-to-measure-radiation-geiger-detector-counter/


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  • razzz razzz

    Let's see how long it takes for them to open the mine and go down in to test and see what happened. Longer it takes, the worse the event was. Chance they could just seal it and walk away except someone must know what dangerous waste was transported and stored there besides radioactive gloves and suits. Any Hanford type waste then it is to dangerous to seal up. Has to be dealt with or things could get worse.


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    "Latest Recovery Activities" [From the WIPP website]

    "Here are the latest recovery activities in response to the February 14 radiological event at WIPP.

    "A plan to safely re-enter the mine
    Preparations are in progress on the surface at WIPP to safely contain contamination in the mine
    Personnel who re-enter the mine will have appropriate protective equipment
    Completing a work plan to replace the high efficiency air particulate (HEPA) filters in the Filter Exhaust Building on the surface to filter any contaminants from the mine
    Re-enter the mine and return the mine to safe conditions
    Developing plans to return to normal waste disposal operations"
    http://www.wipp.energy.gov/special.htm

    This is, apparently, about the best they can do, by way of public information.
    If they are taking care of nuclear waste like they are taking care of public information, expect additional releases.
    If they are taking actions to recover from the releases like they are taking care of public information, expect the releases to co tinue indefinitely. ;)


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    • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

      Another quote from WIPP:

      "Key Question:

      "Is the radioactive contamination detected on the surface a threat to people or the environment?

      "While the goal for radioactive contamination is always zero, these readings are well below those levels that are harmful to people and the environment."

      (Same link as above).

      Plutonium isn't a threat?
      1/50,000,000g is considered a fatal dose of plutonium.
      ANY level of Plutonium contamination is harmful to people and the environment, don't you think? ;)


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      • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

        Text of WIPP Press Release February 19, 2014:

        Radiological Monitoring Continues at WIPP
        CARLSBAD, N.M., February 19, 2014 – Radiological control personnel continue to collect surface and underground monitoring samples at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) after an underground air monitor detected airborne radiation around 11:30 p.m. (MT) on February 14.
        Recent laboratory analyses by Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center (CEMRC) found some trace amounts of americium and plutonium from a sampling station located on the WIPP access road. This is consistent with the fact that HEPA filters remove at least 99.97% of contaminants from the air, meaning a minute amount still can pass through the filters. As noted by the CEMRC, an independent environmental monitoring organization, the levels found from the sample are below the levels established by the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure public health is protected.
        DOE remains focused on public, worker and environmental health and safety. The Department has appointed an Accident Investigation Board – comprised of DOE, Mine Safety, and Health Administration officials, supported by various subject matter expert advisors in areas including fire protection, ventilation and mine safety – to assess and investigate this event.
        WIPP is developing a plan to safely re-enter the WIPP underground facility. (More)


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        • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

          "Radiological professionals from other DOE locations and National Laboratories are also assisting in recovery efforts, as requested by the Carlsbad Field Office, which has responsibility for WIPP and the National Transuranic Program.
          "No transuranic waste shipments to WIPP were scheduled for February 14 through March 10 due to an annual maintenance outage. At this time shipments have been suspended, and there are no immediate effects on other cleanup sites.
          "WIPP is a DOE facility designed to safely isolate defense-related transuranic waste from the public and the environment. WIPP, which began waste disposal operations in 1999, is located 26 miles outside of Carlsbad, N.M. Since operations began almost 15 years ago, the facility has cleaned 22 DOE sites of legacy transuranic waste."

          http://www.wipp.energy.gov/pr/2014/2-19-14%20CBFO%20Release%20Radiological%20Sampling%20Continues%20at%20WIPP.pdf


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          • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

            Despite their promises of further updates, the above is the latest news release from the WIPP website.
            Have they restarted those fans, which filter out 99.97% of contaminants?
            Did they ever get anyone back down into the caves?
            (Inquiring minds want to know.). ;)


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            • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

              Top DOE Official Says WIPP Releases Are "Unfortunate, But It Is What It Is"

              Carlsbad Current-Argus Account Of Town Hall Meeting 2/24/2014:

              "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 he was born and raised in Carlsbad and that his take on the situation was that it is "very serious" and "unfortunate, but it is what it is." "

              http://www.currentargus.com/ci_25217127/live-town-hall-meeting-wipp-radiation-leak

              Well, isn't this special?
              DOE's attitude is summed up right there: "It is what it is."
              Talk about your unfortunate turn of phrase!
              You can't make this stuff up, folks. ;)


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            • AirSepTech AirSepTech

              Ya, special.

              The filters are only so effective, .3 micron. At 99.7% this is 3000ppm that gets thru the filter.

              The filters bypass normally, only used when a hi level alarm triggers them. Then they must seal perfectly.

              All the equip to make it happen needs to be calibrated and function checked on a routine basis.

              Most industrial gases must be pure to 99.95%-500ppm

              They are right….It is what it is, very serious.


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    • Ana Ana

      Hi folks, back for a comment here – I have been around just not adding to what has been said. The last job I held was disaster response and business resumption for a medium sized state agency here in California. We had 2000 staff, 100 field offices and a budget of about $340 million/year. I am thinking this is, in size, probably a little larger than WHIPP in terms of staffing and paper shuffling. None of what we did involved life and death stuff (such as handling plutonium).

      I can tell you that it is essential to have disaster response plans figured out IN ADVANCE of a disaster. That they are mumbling about making plans (as in they have to now make a plan after a disaster has happened) is insane. One of the most important parts of a disaster response plan is detailing anything and everything that can go wrong and writing up a response for each scenario plus training staff on how to implement the response BEFORE anything goes wrong.

      Soooo, I think there are three choices here: either they are lying and have a plan which they will not divulge because the plan would give away the true problem, are criminally incompetent and have no plan or there is no possible plan that could fix this disaster.

      Ana in Sacramento
      PS: got myself a great avatar from a bumper sticker I saw


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  • ftlt

    USA NRC "reaching out to employees" to drag them kicking and screaming back to work. HAHAHAHAHA

    Something tells me, most of the workers were probably rabidly pro nuke. Sneering at anyone who doubted nuclear safety or questioned nuclear in any way. FOX News devotees and flag wavers too. Wonder if, they are reexamining their world views now???

    That they took the pay, to me, they are responsible to return and get their RADs before the homeless, street people and migrants hired by the slavers are sent in.

    I loath the government employees of the bent of the Teabaggers, Fascists and Libertarians functionaries/petty bureaucrats the most. They hate who and what they work for. But feel so entitled to their same job, they would have done away with for others – cognitive disconnect morons the lot of them.

    Now they can live go out to try and live on welfare (they have voted and sneered at to be done away with) or work at Walmart or Target at poverty wages for a while. Let's see if they still have their same world view.

    The government should force these SOBs back to work. IMO


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  • Flapdoodle Flapdoodle

    I finally saw mention of the WIPP site on Albuquerque channel 7 just now. They also mentioned the town hall meeting in Carlsbad. This mornings Roswell Daily record also mentioned it.

    They are still comparing airborne particulates to dental x-rays. Now if they had compared it to the number of inhaled bananas…


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  • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

    Salt is an interesting material. A salt dome was selected as the WIPP site because of its plastic nature. Dig a cave into salt, and the walls and roof will deform over time, and sag. The idea was to allow the unstable salt to sag around the waste casks over time, eventually surrounding each with a…

    "Seamless Salt Cocoon Of Everlasting Protection". ;)

    On the other hand, suppose one of the trucks hauling the salt around was to, let's say, catch fire. The fire would dry out the salt in the roof in that immediate area. The salt would lose its cohesive quality, which is provided by moisture. It would become like a dried out sand castle, which crumbles away in the ocean breeze. The dried-out salt roof would cave in. WIPP says there is no connection between the truck fire on 2/5/2014, and the cave-in of 2/15/2014. I'd like to see these two incidents plotted on the cut-away map of the WIPP site. Could be the two incidents occurred at the same location, and it could be that the two incidents are, in fact, related to each other by cause and effect.

    On a related topic:
    From the plan of the WIPP site, they seem to be laying the casks on their sides, 6 casks per panel.
    http://infranetlab.org/drupal7/sites/default/files/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/08_07_23_wipp_axo.jpg
    But wouldn't the casks be more stable in their salt cocoons if they were upright? Just asking the question about forces from sagging salt on a cylinder.


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    • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

      great analysis Philip. From my readings (long ago), salt-cavern entombment was considered highly risky to maintaining the integrity of the cask's outer containment. Salt, as we're all aware, is extremely corrosive. The combination of temperature differentials within the cavern can contribute to condensates; which, when combined with salt, create a corrosive solution. That solution will undermine virtually any cladding used on a cask. And we're not even approaching the stupidity of putting 55-gallon drums within such challenging environs…


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      • PhilipUpNorth PhilipUpNorth

        Aftershock. Many thanks for the interesting info. I've been hoping that somebody in the anti-WIPP community in Carlsbad, who has been studying the effects of salt on stainless steel casks, and on painted drums, would jump in here, with the fruit of their research on the subject. I imagine the downside to salt dome storage has been discussed fairly exhaustively during 10 years of protest. Added to what happened at the salt dome collapse (sinkhole) in Louisiana. Can you imagine the collapse and flooding of WIPP?


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        • AFTERSHOCK AFTERSHOCK

          twenty years ago, Philip, this very issue came up and basically squashed the entire discussion to long-term storage of such materials within salt mines. That they continued to pursue this avenue, is honestly, a big surprise to me! I suppose they decided to test the waters with the promise that only low-level wastes will be so entombed. Of course, like every salesman knows, all it takes in one foot in threshold and the rest is easy street, from there…


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  • Nick

    Expect massive expertspeak complete with subtle obfuscations of the truth.

    Example: The amounts detected are only detected because we have sophisticated detectors operated by
    detector type people whose job it is to detect minute amounts of detectable detectables. So while it might be alarming to detect such dectectables at such a distance, it really shows how good our detecters are. Don't be fooled by the idiots who babble about no safe dose of plutonium. We are certain that all those quadrillions of atoms are safely flowing out of the environment.


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  • WWJD WWJD

    For what it is worth everyone, here is the official WIPP website for news updates with the New Mexico situation. http://www.wipp.energy.gov/special.htm


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  • chevvvy chev

    instead of salt domes, they should hide this poo in banana plantations, where it wont be noticed and its good for you,!!
    :)


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