KRQE, Mar. 11, 2014: Department of Energy says there is no basis to some of the rumors floating around the area here that WIPP might get shut down.
KRQE, Mar. 12, 2014: We’ve heard several times that the air filters outside WIPP indicate there’s no immediate danger to the public. [...] “Forty-seven filters a week that we either check, collect or observe getting collected,” said Monk. After a technician collects the filter from the specific site, he or she takes the sample back to the lab to be processed.
AP, Mar. 11, 2014: [Workers were] covered from head to toe in special blue protective suits […] WIPP workers are having to check the filters daily at the repository’s exhaust shaft – a job typically done by [CEMRC's Russell] Hardy and his employees – due to the potential for radiation exposure. “We’re not allowed to touch them right now,” Hardy said [...] workers have [used] dense foam material to keep any unfiltered air from reaching the outside.
Reuters, Mar. 11, 2014: Crews in recent days have used high-density foam to seal vents that released underground air to the surface, Bugger said. Monitoring shows no further radiation leakage from those vents, but officials are crafting methods to ensure against leakages in future caused by degradation of the foam over time, he said.
Albuquerque Journal, Mar. 12, 2014: More radiation detection could be on its way to the area around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. [EPA] recently responded to a letter written by U.S. [Senators] requesting additional outside air monitors in and around the nuclear repository facility.
Albuquerque Journal, Mar. 12, 2014: WIPP vulnerable […] As with any governmental facility, it was state-of-the-art when built […] standards are antiquated […] air filtering and monitoring systems have been in operation for over 30 years in a very harsh environment […] There have been recent problems with the underground air monitoring system dating back to 2010 that indicate that age may be catching up to the infrastructure. The reliability of the room and panel closure systems is also in question since one likely source of the releases of radioactivity into the environment is a result of a ceiling collapse in one of the filled panels that ruptured one or more waste packages. […] there is often the decision to defer replacement or some maintenance with the hope that those facilities, equipment or systems will still function as they should [...] routine service of the HEPA filters designed to prevent releases such as the most recent one might have been cut back in either detail or frequency.
KOB, Mar. 12, 2014: WIPP also announced that a filtration system worked properly during that radiation leak. The plant says new data shows it was 99 percent effective in capturing radiation [DOE has consistently claimed the HEPA filters would capture 99.97%, not 99.00%; DOE claim: 0.03% of radiation went unfiltered , Actual data: 1.00% went unfiltered]. The results are consistent with those recorded by an independent monitoring group.
Published: March 12th, 2014 at 7:21 pm ET