KUNM (NPR affiliate), Feb. 20, 2014: Highest Ever Radiation Levels Detected In Air Above Nuclear Waste Facility [...] Russell Hardy, director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center, said Wednesday a monitor near the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico has detected trace amounts of the radioactive isotopes americium and plutonium. He says the levels are the highest ever detected at or around the site [...]
Albuquerque Journal, Feb. 20, 2014: [...] “It’s still below what EPA considers actionable levels, but it’s important to know that some material did get out of the facility,” Hardy said. [...] Plutonium and americium are cancer-causing when inhaled or consumed, Hardy said. [...] WIPP said Wednesday that it is developing a plan to safely re-enter the underground facility. Radiological professionals from other Energy Department locations and national laboratories are also assisting in the recovery, WIPP said. [...] Hardy said CEMRC is in the process of testing 10 additional filters from an exhaust shaft at WIPP.
RT, Feb. 20, 2014: Spokeswoman Deb Gill said [...] officials know very little about the extent of the problem or how to solve it.
John Heaton, chairman of the Carlsbad Nuclear Task Force: “Even though it’s very discouraging that there was a release, it’s strictly speculation about what caused that. You have to realize that all the containers are closed and sealed (underground in WIPP). Until they are able to go back down and examine the waste, we could find out it’s something even different than we think.”
Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety Program at the Southwest Research and Information Center in Albuquerque: “There is a lot more that needs to be known [...] The big problem is, does anybody really know what happened in the underground and how much was released or is continuing to be released? And therefore how much is being captured by the filters and how much is getting into the environment?”
Russell Hardy, director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center: “We don’t know what happened inside that might have caused a release. We don’t know why it happened and we don’t know whether it could happen again.”
Published: February 20th, 2014 at 3:07 pm ET
- LA Times: Expert says ‘radiological process’ may have forced material out of container at US nuclear site, “Could be a mess”; Officials saying little about extent of problem — Levels remain too high to let in non-essential personnel — Air monitors not allowed to collect filters February 18, 2014
- U.S. nuclear plant shuts down after malfunction — Residents reported loud noise Saturday — “Workers were trying to solve problem” — “State will be issuing press release” July 1, 2013
- Video: Company that runs WIPP reveals plume of radiation spread to population center — Compares it to “licking your iPhone charger” — Mother: “They don’t want the people to perhaps know the extent of what went wrong” March 16, 2014
- TV: Radiation leak reported at US nuclear plant — “Alarming levels of radioactivity” — 65,000% above normal — Governor: “I am deeply concerned… Significant failure” — Officials worried about health of public — Extent and duration of release ‘unclear’ — Radiation experts being sent in (VIDEOS) February 7, 2016
- Alarm after ‘unusually high’ radiation levels at U.S. nuclear site — Gov’t: “We’ve never seen a level like we are seeing… I can’t tell you the amount” — Could be Plutonium — ‘Unclear’ how much radiation released — Unprecedented event (VIDEO) February 16, 2014