Time.com: Is Los Alamos Lab really safe from wildfire? — Additional plutonium problems?

Published: June 29th, 2011 at 7:13 pm ET
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Q&A: Is New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory Really Safe?, Time.com, June 29, 2011:

Peter Stockton, expert on nuclear materials and a senior investigator for the independent watchdog Project on Government Oversight (POGO)

[POGO] got tipped off in 2009 by a whistleblower that in PF-4—where the six metric tons of plutonium is [...] they’ve painted over the sprinkler system so many times that it doesn’t work [...] then it was determined that LANL had never tested the fire hoses in the building [...] They found out about a year later that the pressure in the system isn’t great enough to get to the entire building, so they had to do something to mitigate that problem. [...]

TA-54 contains 20,000-30,000 drums of waste, but just because it’s low-level waste doesn’t mean anything.  If that becomes airborne, and just a speck of plutonium gets into your lungs, you’re going to end up with cancer down the road. It’s the most toxic substance known to man. It would be very nasty if those drums blew apart, and the wind carried them downwind. [...]

Published: June 29th, 2011 at 7:13 pm ET
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54 comments

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54 comments to Time.com: Is Los Alamos Lab really safe from wildfire? — Additional plutonium problems?

  • jump-ball jump-ball

    I’m getting high readings of hystericalinium just reading these headlines.


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  • ocifferdave

    WHAT THE FUDGE NUGGETS IS GOING ON WITH NUCLEAR LATELY?!


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  • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

    and the decay-series seems to transit Freakoutium to
    giveupium, passing into background dust….


    Report comment

    • larry-andrew-nils

      don’t give up.

      we are witnesses and there are few of us.

      AND I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE F-NUGS IS GOING ON, WITNESS OR NOT.

      AND I AM NOT SURE WHAT WE CAN DO PRODUCTIVELY BESIDES WITNESS.

      but life is a beautiful dream given to us; and we can bend the path of our dream with our will.

      when you are tired and frustrated, remember that everyone wants to live in a perfect world.

      this disastrous situation will have made us wiser; is it better for this to be happening now, or would it have been better if it started in our future.

      we can see clearly now what is important.

      now we witness to the world one person at a time until they also can see.


      Report comment

  • Jebus

    How about a seriuos case of pissedoffatum…


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  • jokes

    Why is Peter Stockton lying? Or is he stupid?

    Despite being toxic both chemically and because of its ionising radiation, plutonium is far from being “the most toxic substance on Earth” or so hazardous that “a speck can kill”. On both counts there are substances in daily use that, per unit of mass, have equal or greater chemical toxicity (arsenic, cyanide, caffeine) and radiotoxicity (smoke detectors).


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    • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

      there were reports of Curium 244, reputedly more worser
      than Plutonium….


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    • extra knight

      irrelevant. nothing is as toxic to human beings as uranium isotopes and plutonium.


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    • tony wilson

      jokes fella.
      how about you an a friend get as close as you can to los alamos and make a video over a couple of days.
      all you have to do is breath the air and drink some stream water.
      i suppose you would say a banana is more deadly than the los alamos site.
      we need an heroic madcap action from you as proof in your theory.

      if you have a dog turd that looks,smells and taste like shit.
      it is shit.
      and your shit is steamin mr jokes.


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  • theypoisonus

    Are you kidding me? I surely hope so.

    You are comparing Plutonium to Caffine??

    DUH

    Your id pretty much says it all.. you are a joke.

    I just listened to the Helen Caldecort (sp. just in case the spelling police are here ) and Arnie Gunderson interview.
    It was one of the best information gathering info I have found to date. Simple, to the point and with no politics, corporation bull, govt. bull.. et.al.

    Maybe Plutonium isn’t ‘they most hazardous chemical/nuclearide?, but it sure can do a hell of alot more damage than caffine, and arsenic. Arsenic in the old days was used to cure people of certain illnesses. I honestly do not believe that plutonium ‘cures’ a darn thing.

    Your comment is preposterous. I am sorry, but I have to say this to you.
    It is obvious you need to read more and talk less untill you get a ‘grip’ on what is really happening !!


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    • extra knight

      i agree. caffeine is not more toxic and deadly than plutonium, or other deadly radioactive isotopes. unbelievable.


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      • jokes

        Other writers and scientists, often with far less publicity, have published detailed analyses of these claims and used statistics and experience to prove them totally false. One man, Dr. Bernard Cohen, went so far as to volunteer to eat as much plutonium as Ralph Nader would caffeine in an attempt to demonstrate the folly of the severe toxicity claims.
        Mr. Nader refused.

        Dr. Cohen, a tenured research professor at the University of Pittsburgh, stated that he had calculated his risk from the challenge as less than that of a typical draftee during World War II. Dr. Cohen feels that wise use of nuclear energy is as important as winning the war. He wanted to do his part in the battle to achieve public acceptance of the low level risk involved.

        Cmon sheeple, 5 seconds of research


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    • jokes

      Go back to school.

      Ingestion or inhalation of large amounts may cause acute radiation poisoning and death; no human is known to have died because of inhaling or ingesting plutonium, and many people have measurable amounts of plutonium in their bodies.


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      • extra knight

        oh jiminy crickets!

        Plutonium-239 is a very hazardous carcinogen which can also be used to make nuclear weapons. This combination of properties makes it one of the most dangerous substances. Plutonium-239, while present in only trace quantities in nature, has been made in large quantities in both military and commercial programs in the last 50 years. Other more radioactive carcinogens do exist, like radium-226, but unlike plutonium-239 cannot be used to make nuclear weapons, or are not available in quantity. Highly enriched uranium (HEU) can also be used to make nuclear weapons, but it is roughly one thousand times less radioactive than plutonium-239. The danger is aggravated by the fact that plutonium-239 is relatively difficult to detect once it is outside of secure, well-instrumented facilities, or once it has been incorporated into the body. This is because its gamma ray emissions, which provide the easiest method of detection of radionuclides, are relatively weak…

        During and after the end of World War II, scientists working on the Manhattan Project and other nuclear weapons research projects conducted studies of the effects of plutonium on laboratory animals and human subjects.[70] Animal studies found that a few milligrams of plutonium per kilogram of tissue is a lethal dose.[71]

        Nuclear Boy is Sick


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        • jokes

          There were about 25 workers from Los Alamos National Laboratory who inhaled a considerable amount of plutonium dust during the 1940′s; according to the hot-particle theory, each of them has a 99.5% chance of being dead from lung cancer by now, but there has not been a single lung cancer among them.”


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          • Jebus

            @Jokes
            Back that up! Link???
            Go ahead, don’t be scared…


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          • Jebus

            It’s gettin shilly in here…


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          • jokes

            ^ a b Bernard L. Cohen. “The Nuclear Energy Option, Chapter 13, Plutonium and Bombs”. Retrieved 2011-03-28. (Online version of Cohen’s book The Nuclear Energy Option (Plenum Press, 1990) ISBN 0306435675).
            ^ Voelz, G. L. (1975). “What We Have Learned About Plutonium from Human Data”. The Radiation Safety Journal Health Physics: 29.


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          • VanneV anne

            This whole book is online. What page are you referring to?
            THE NUCLEAR ENERGY OPTION, Bernard L. Cohen, Plenum Press, 1990
            http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~blc/book/
            At the beginning of chapter 13, speaking of plutonium, the author says, “As the most important ingredient in nuclear bombs, it may someday be responsible for killing untold millions of people”


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          • Jebus

            One man, Dr. Bernard Cohen…

            These people above, have giveen you many links to many proven scientific articles that dispute a shills musings…Read

            You give Dr. Bernard Cohen…


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          • VanneV anne

            Health Effects of Plutonium, By Arjun Makhijani (1997)
            http://www.ieer.org/ensec/no-3/puhealth.html

            The last time anyone published information on these workers was in 1991. One had died of bone cancer, and three of lung cancer.
            There were weaknesses in the study, but the expected 1 in 100 to develop bone cancer compared to 1 in 26 of the subjects is significant.

            “The amounts of plutonium deposited in the bodies of the subjects were estimated to range from “a low of 110 Bq (3 nCi) …up to 6960 Bq (188 nCi),”4 corresponding to a weight range of 0.043 micrograms to 3 micrograms. However, weaknesses in the study resulted in considerable uncertainties about the amount and solubility of plutonium actually incorporated at the time of exposure.5

            “Of the seven deaths by 1990, one was due to a bone cancer (bone sarcoma).6 Bone cancer is rare in humans. The chances of it normally being observed in a group of 26 men over a 40-year time frame is on the order one in 100. Thus, its existence in a plutonium-exposed man (who received a plutonium dose below that of current radiation protection guidelines) is significant. 7 “

            ENDNOTES
            1. Gamma rays consist of high energy photons, which are “packets” or quanta of electromagnetic energy.
            2. The energy deposited in a medium (per unit of mass) is measured in units of grays or rads (1 gray = 100 rads), while the biological damage is measured in sieverts or rems (1 sievert = 100 rems).
            3. G.L.Voelz and J.N.P. Lawrence, “A 42-year medical follow-up of Manhattan project plutonium workers.” Health Physics, Vol. 37, 1991, pp. 445-485.
            4. Ibid., p. 186.
            5. These aspects of the study are discussed in some detail in Gofman 1981, pp. 510-520 (based on the status of the Manhattan Project workers study as published in Voelz 1979). See J.W. Gofman, Radiation and Human Health, (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1991), p. 516.
            6. Three of these deaths were due to lung cancer. It is difficult to assess the significance of this large percentage, since all three were smokers.
            7. Voelz, p. 189.


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          • VanneV anne

            Jebus, I looked at Bernard Cohen because this was one of the studies cited by jokes (not actually a serious name). However, his citation doesn’t support his conclusion.


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          • jokes

            Look at this guy!
            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bernard_Cohen_(physicist)

            I assume you all are *much* better physicists than Dr. Cohen.


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          • Jebus

            Thank you Anne,

            My reply to him is:
            That was then 1979
            This is now 2011

            According to the U.S.-based group of medical doctors Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), no amount of man-made radiation in water and food is safe. “There is no safe level of radionuclide exposure, whether from food, water or other sources, period,” said Jeff Patterson, DO, immediate past president of PSR, in late March. “Exposure to radionuclides, such as iodine 131 and cesium 137, increases the incidence of cancer. For this reason, every effort must be taken to minimize the radionuclide content in food and water.”

            Doctor Alan Lockwood MD echoes this. “Consuming food containing radionuclides is particularly dangerous. If an individual ingests or inhales a radioactive particle, it continues to irradiate the body as long as it remains radioactive and stays in the body.”

            “Children are much more susceptible to the effects of radiation and stand a much greater chance of developing cancer than adults,” states Andrew Kanter, MD, president of PSR’s board. “So it is particularly dangerous when they consume radioactive food or water.”

            Should you panic about this? No. That will do no good. But you can call, write and email your congressperson, your senator, and any other elected officials in your district, ask them to push for testing of foods and water in your area, and tell them to take the threat of global nuclear fallout seriously. For while none of the 104 nuclear power plants in the U.S. are melting down at present, we have had our own nuclear accidents. Remember Three Mile Island? Radiation has made its way to the American dinner table. This is a time to speak out, and to put pressure on policy makers. Clearly, it’s far better to be politically active now than radioactive tomorrow.

            http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/06/29/radiation-in-our-food/

            Again, I don’t know how much more clearer it can be stated…


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          • Jebus

            And looking thru the list of references on that wishipedia page, we find this trash, among others

            http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2011/mar/22/ann-coulter/ann-coulter-says-lexposure-low-levels-radiation-ar/

            Clearly a shill…


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          • jokes

            Nice fox link. Lol. Stay afraid.


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          • VanneV anne

            The reason the controversy is so very important is that the industry uses weak studies to support proliferation of MOX. If we are to survive we have to refute the MOX argument. Sadly, to be realistic, in the US and elsewhere, including Japan right now, today, MOX is going ahead even though the people are overwhelmingly against nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.


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      • VanneV anne

        The Plutonium Controversy, by John W. Gofman, MD, JAMA. 1976;236(3):284-286.,
        http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/236/3/284.extract

        “IF THE world chooses to seek a solution to the energy dilemma through nuclear energy, the element plutonium will become an article of commerce to be handled in quantities of thousands of tonnes annually. Plutonium is a uniquely potent inhalation carcinogen, the potential induction of lung cancer dwarfing other possible toxic effects. For reasons to be presented here, it is my opinion that plutonium’s carcinogenicity has been very seriously underestimated. If one couples the corrected carcinogenicity with the probable degree of industrial containment of the plutonium, it appears that the commercialization of a plutonium-based energy economy is not an acceptable option for society.
        Sagan’s statement1 that “the experience of 30 years supports the contention that plutonium can be used safely” is manifestly indefensible. No meaningful epidemiological study of plutonium-exposed workers for that 30-year period has ever been done. Since thousands of those possibly exposed have left the industry and are ….”

        [Full article at:]

        http://tobaccodocuments.org/ti/TIMN0093365-3367.html


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  • CaliMom

    I’m presuming that they’re headed out to New Mexico, but all day long, about every 15 mins or so, I’ve heard BIG planes flying overhead headed east from San Diego. Coming out of Miramar Air Station, I hope they’re going to support the efforts to protect Los Alamos.


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  • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

    It might be Sergeant Nick Penis, of the Brassball Battalion!
    The Men of the Brassball don’t need Parachutes!
    They’re TOUGH!


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  • Whoopie Whoopie

    Good to REVISIT, eh?
    GE Nuclear Plant Inspector/Whistleblower Kei Sugaoko Speaks About Fukushima, GE & Obama
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJjbNw07OUA
    When I’m beyond my limit, when I’ve reached the most ANGER I’ve ever felt, I listen to this video – and get more po’ed. It blows my mind this video hasn’t gotten more ATTENTION. From so long ago…FUCK.


    Report comment

  • jtb

    RE: LANL…
    I think that when a person relies on getting an inflated paycheck for doing work that is obviously inherently destructive to man and nature, they start to lie to themselves more and more about thier compromised principles, and risk becoming psychotic.

    ————————————————-

    “Doh!”
    - Homer Simpson, nuclear power plant operator


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    • Elenin Velikovsky Elenin Velikovsky

      I had a soft-recruiter agent confront me in a store
      parking lot after ten PM, by my pickup, a couple years ago.
      He knew of my remote sensing/GIS studies, and told me
      to go apply. “They’re looking for guys with no baggage”…
      so, while it was on-the-surface Border Patrol, it would
      morph into some general, Federal, sinister duty.
      I asked him to consider just who he thought he worked for.
      I’m not going to serve the satanic cop-mafia.
      This recruiter guy thinks his adult kids are doing just fine.


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  • NoNukes NoNukes

    Jokes makes me recognize how grateful I am that such jokers haven’t been around much.

    Thank you, admin!


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  • sickputer2 sickputer2

    Gee…I leave you guys alone for a minute and enthusiastic Big Nuke callcenter pigs waddle into action.

    I never mud wrestle with pigs, I slaughter them.

    Bernard Cohen and Don Luckey and their dear departed radioactive colleague Dr. Eric Voice (buried in a lead coffin after injecting his tough little body with radiation) and like the radiation-ravaged Madame Curie insisting to his last breath the stuff didn’t kill him. Cough, cough! Well, my friend there are several kinds of radioactive plutonium and the kind you get drifting out of a nuclear plant wouldn’t be what Cohen would slurp down in his little grandstanding pompous offer. Didn’t see him offer to demonstrate just a gulp or two now did we? Just like old Don pushing away the radioactive rock farther from his recliner because he started getting a bad rash. Yep…better be cautious…not all of us will get to 91 like Don. Tough as a Chernobyl boar. But let me offer to escort the old stud scientists to the crows nest there by the walkway at Unit 1 and let them hang around for a few days and then we’ll see how well they fare. Maybe the pig would like to join them too. Take your parlor tricks elsewhere to a place where the sun don’t shine and a proctologist is waiting to extract your asinine head. Also…no need to wrestle with me my friend cause I am getting ready to head to Missouri for a little walkabout. You guys hold down the fort until I find out what’s coming down the river.

    If I can catch a wifi in the Ozarks I will check to see if Arnie has finally scared the powers that be into shutting down Cooper. They will sure look bad if he was right and they were wrong so watch for them to get that hummer slowing down pretty darn quick as they say in Fargo. I give them another day at most.


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