Experts: Concern gases caused underground explosion at WIPP; Extent of contamination “could topple long-held assumptions” — AP: Plan to enter mine postponed — ‘Very excited’ about new monitors for detecting further releases (VIDEO)

Published: April 2nd, 2014 at 5:15 am ET
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Albuquerque Journal, Apr. 1, 2014: [WIPP] said it postponed plans for workers to re-enter the underground nuclear waste repository Tuesday [...] delivery of a set of radiation monitors to be worn on workers’ lapels did not arrive on time. [...] WIPP said the re-entry would be postponed until the monitors arrive but did not say when the shipment is expected.

AP, Apr. 1, 2014: The U.S. Department of Energy has postponed plans to get a crew underground to begin investigating a radiation leak [...] It’s unknown what is leaking or how extensive the contamination might be below ground at [WIPP]

Albuquerque Journal, Apr. 2, 2014: [...] still no one knows what happened at New Mexico’s nuclear waste repository that caused radiation to escape [...] back-to-back incidents [...] have left many aspects of the permits that govern how [WIPP] operates open to question. The ongoing investigation into the source of the radiation release and the extent of contamination underground could topple long-held assumptions, experts say. One of those relates to how containers destined for WIPP are tested. When WIPP opened in 1999, nearly every single container headed for the repository was checked for “headspace gas,” the flammable or corrosive chemicals that can build up in the space between the drum contents and lid and threaten a rupture or explosion. State regulators relaxed those rules over time [...] only two other risks outlined in WIPP’s lengthy Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement remain: a roof collapse or an exploding drum. Both risks are considered possible causes of the recent leak.

WIPP Town Hall, Mar. 27, 2014 — Tammy Reynolds, WIPP recovery leader (at 20:00 in): I’m going to walk you through several of the key recovery activities that we’ve been working on. The first one is the installation of what’s called a continuous air monitor in station B […] where filtered air is going out to the environment. […] What that monitor is going to do for us is going to provide real-time information if there’s anything coming out of that stack that we need to be concerned about. So we’re very excited to get that monitor in place because one of our challenges has been we don’t have real-time monitoring and so sometimes there is a delay in determining what is coming out of the stack. […] We’re going to watch it for about a week and make sure it’s operating properly and ultimately it’s going to be tied into our control room and so that in real-time, we will know if there is any concern of anything coming out of the stack. What we will we do with that information if it’s an alarm point then we will be able to respond and take protective action such as sheltering personnel  indoors and then the appropriate actions we would need to take from that. […] The second item that we’re working on is the venting of TRU pack 2 and TRU pack 3 containers […] So that containers came into the WIPP site prior to the events. We have a requirement from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to vent those containers within 60 days. One of the reasons for that requirement is there could potentially be a buildup of gas in those containers and so one of the regulatory requirements is to vent them.

Watch the March 27 WIPP town hall here

Published: April 2nd, 2014 at 5:15 am ET
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276 comments to Experts: Concern gases caused underground explosion at WIPP; Extent of contamination “could topple long-held assumptions” — AP: Plan to enter mine postponed — ‘Very excited’ about new monitors for detecting further releases (VIDEO)

  • lam335 lam335

    "… Two crews of eight made the initial descent into the half-mile deep Waste Isolation Pilot Plant … and no airborne radiation was detected, the agency said."


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  • bo bo

    I'm glad to hear the package containing dosimeters finally arrived in the mail from amazon.com


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  • combomelt combomelt

    WIPP townhall4, video test on the darkened room…

    http://new.livestream.com/rrv/wipptownhall4


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  • GQR2

    lights camera action they're starting and the chat room guy is there saying hello on livestream.


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  • combomelt combomelt

    Bob McQuinn just said, "thanks for the food you all gathered up for us several hundred workers out on site. We don't have a working cafeteria, so those foods and snacks really helped. It was a touching story! The donuts from the vending machine don't cut it."
    Everything about this WIPP is the worst. Worst planning, worst location, worst safety, worst waste, and on and on. so disgusting, these lying WIPP administrators. OMG they are vile. Everyone of them are smiling, and joking and happy, blaeeech snort, bleeach vomit, spit, choke cough. I'm spinning around like a whirling dervish in so much frustrating physical pains from their disgusting lies and obfuscations.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    I'm late ..I missed what they said went on yesterday…darn.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Typical company meeting..so proud to shovel the stuff ..from Las Alamos ..to Texas.


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  • combomelt combomelt

    FRANCO IS AN ARROGANT WIPPIOT. BLAH FREAKIN BLAH BLAH BLAH. LIKE SHEEP LEADING THE SHEEP, BLAAAH, BLAAAAH, BLAAHHHH. wHY IS fRANCO SMILING ALL THE TIME? hIS HAND GESTURES MAKE ME THINK HE IS SO FULL OF IT!
    JUST AN EXERCISE, RUNNING THEM SINEC 1990. OMG, WITH WHAT FREAKIN EQUIPMENT YOU GARBAGEMAN?


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  • combomelt combomelt

    FRANCO JUST SAID,""""""""THERE IS NO LIQUID WASTE STORED AT WIPP, PER OUR LICENSING."""""""""""

    TRUE?
    FALSE?
    WTF?


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Oh..my ..the EPA..
    Think they are going to tell the truth?
    Well..they aren't.


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  • combomelt combomelt

    mAN, THIS RAD NUKE DOCTOR PHYSICIST, HEALTH SPECIALIST FROM THE EPA DESPERATELY NEEDS TO STOP LYING AND EATING TO OBFUSCATE HIS GUILTY THOUGHT PROCESSES. THE ARROGANCE OF THE WAY TO SWEEP EVERYTHING UNDER THE RUG IS DUE TO SCUM LIKE THIS GUY WHO 'VOLUNTEERED AT THE END HERE TO PRESENT SOME BS INFO INSTEAD OF TAKING MORE ON POINT QUESTIONS THAT MAKE THESE GUYS SUPER NERVOUS TO ADDRESS AND ANSWER. RIDICULOUS HUBRIS, THIS BLOATED NUKE NEEDS TO SEE HIMSELF LYING ON TV. SO EXPRESSIVE SPEAKING WITH HIS HANDS LIKE THAT. IT MEANS HE IS LYING ABOUT EVERYTHING.


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  • My question: "Why not test the livestock, like you tested the workers? "

    A: [paraphrase] Because we checked and there was no reason to test.

    My comment: (did not get read)
    "Last week Fran stated they had NOT tested the local livestock. Because the air, soil and water had been tested and found to not have harmful levels, if this logic were followed then the 21 workers who were tested would never have been detected."

    Without the reading of the comment the question had little impact.


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    • Good work though
      Sorry I showed up late


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    • Radio Radio

      Chas Aha, same response to your question this week, too. I don't know if testing can be done very easily since neither cesium nor iodine are in the mix, but, they COULD say that, and also offer their own explanation of why they think bioaccumulation given the low levels is not a problem, but, they really DO NOT want to go near anything that uses the PU word, the bioaccumulate concept, or the description of high level nuclear waste.


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      • Radio Radio

        oops ChasAha, it didn't get asked last time, forgot. Well, you'd have gotten the same answer. It is too bad that the DOE fellow immediately goes into his dismissive smile when ANY question of exposure and particulars about what radiation was released is asked. We all deserve more than that. He has probably done that for so long that he is not even completely aware of it – it has become part of the canned response. The other interesting thing, especially to such questions like yours and the others, is everyone grabbing quick affirming glances at each other. A common group thing when addressing an issue that the members have agreed to not fully answer in anticipation of it being asked and not wanting an expected result. Now, that could be that they really don't want panic, so prefer to steer people away from it, or that they don't have a simple way of explaining so they fear that they might makes things worse if they try to answer, or they want to pull a paternalistic run around and not come clean for whatever reasons…or all of the above. Anyway, thx for the link. I'm planning on being there next week, too. I'm signed up to follow.


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  • bo bo

    I lost connection…in and out. .
    But what was that 'remember… this was just an 'excercise'… this was not a REAL EVENT.'

    I am confused what that meant


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    • GQR2

      Heaton wanted to make sure everyone knew the drill yesterday of a Container off a truck was just a drill and they did spectacularly of course. But it wasn't the real thing. THey are driving the waste at night from Los Alamos to Andrews Tx and the drill was supposed to happen in Dec but an ice storm postponed it.
      Joe Franco should be investigated.
      The answers to the Levels of Nuclear Waste questions were absurd except when he admitted despite contradicting himself that WIPP only handles TRU waste.
      Heaton excells in bullshitting my god that man has no shame what a salesman and shady character with his bed time story about love of the Nuclear Waste Dump. They Mayor is looking like a sm time thug. good grief.


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      • GQR2

        The tax payers have a right to see these contracts.
        What is there to hide?


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      • Radio Radio

        GQR2, I couldn't tell if he was being dramatically dismissive trying to show how reactive a worried public can become not understanding what they are hearing or if he really thought people might panic on rumor, or both.

        The DOE fellow whose name escapes me called the exercise "a service" provided to the states. I bit my tongue. The federal government needs to ship high level nuclear waste through the states and so provides training exercises as a service to any emergency responder program that asks. Hmmm…ought it not to be mandatory before the transport can go through? And, it is not a service, it is a DUTY.


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        • GQR2

          Not only do they want the public to love their TRU Nuclear Waste Dump they want them to see the place as a somehow a valued added thing for CarlsWorse. The group behavior was blatant.
          Seems Joe Franco can bearly lie or obfuscate with a straight face but seems like the gang huddled and got their obfuscating spew together ..which words to avoid the words,use the words etc. It was so orchestrated that Joe kept looking like a cat that ate a canary with every soothing answer spewed out to the people. Plus they want to be considered noble – its sickening.
          GRAFT ought to be suspected at the highest levels and the lower levels. Their smooth talk is not re assuring because of their agenda. Open at all costs.

          They seemed to be very attuned to how their words were landing on the audience – were they soothed. Heating can't wait for the Town Halls to end.


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  • GQR2

    They state they don't know what they will find tomorrow.
    It will be a very interesting day.


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  • bo bo

    Those suits look even more flimsy than the tyveks at fuku…
    I thought the only ones that protect against all alpha beta and gamma are the black ones


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  • bo bo

    Will the actual team if 16 that went down today ( and will go down tomorrow) ever be available for interview or are they like the faceless nameless fukushima fifty ?


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  • bo bo

    'The facility did exactly what it's supposed to do…'

    Yes, somebody ask them next week : ' is it true that the salt mines were actually MEANTto collapse, and pickle these barrels of radioactive waste?'


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    • Radio Radio

      That was an interesting characterization given that the facility failed on every level – the waste was not properly stored, the roof collapsed, the monitors failed to reveal that, 23 workers were contaminated, and a small nearby town got exposed. I suppose there are different definitions of success at work here ;-) Then the appeal to nationalism and a sense of national urgency. My sense of urgency is that the DOE is trying to find a new Yucca Mountain without letting anyone know, and the roof collapse took the lid off, so to speak.


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      • combomelt combomelt

        EXACTLY RADIO, EXACTLY!!!!!!!!!!!


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      • idarusskie

        You do not know that the roof collapsed…yet.

        The CAM alarms worked. They were just not remote or networked CAMs which is what Tammi is calling real time. Some of the older CAMs print out on paper. The ventilation system worked as designed. The ventilation design was not robust enough for the release that they encountered. This is based upon the fact they have to seal the dampers used to divert the air. The report on the event will show they managed the event wrong. Like the fire they were not prepared for this scenario.
        The concentration thing was a little mottled. The definition of transuranic is weapons program waste with atomic numbers greater then 92 and 1/2 lives greater then 20 years in concentrations of 100 nonocuries per gram of waste. If you release that into the mine what value do you use to calculate the grams of waste? Its diluted. The only place it is concentrating in in the HEPA filters. which is what they were designed for.


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  • VanneV VanneV

    ALERT! EXTREME RISK OF PLUTONIUM RELEASE & INCREASED RISK OF EXPLOSION At WIPP Facility on April 1st (NO JOKE)
    “April 1st is a good time to stay way upwind of the DOE's WIPP facility outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico. News reports indicate that mine workers will re-enter the WIPP facility via the Salt Shaft on April 1st; movement of that elevator will likely displace a volume of Plutonium laden air greater than the HEPA filter system can handle. The result being a potentially large escape of radioactive material up the Salt Shaft and into the environment….”
    http://pissinontheroses.blogspot.com/


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  • bo bo

    BTW whoever it was last night that asked the question about apple sauce and radionuclides you were awesome – let's make sure they follow up on those apples and I don't mean iphones and chargers


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  • jec jec

    Just for those who dont understand the danger of Plutonium or other alpha emitters..like AM..ITS DANGEROUS and DEADLY.
    See:
    Lung, liver and bone cancer mortality after plutonium exposure in beagle dogs and nuclear workers. (95%..and only 95% for humans because they used the lifespan of a beagle dog as the termination point!). http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19959950

    And what is worse..look at the links on the side..especially the one on INHALATION dang:Lung, liver and bone cancer mortality after plutonium exposure in beagle dogs and nuclear workers.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19959950

    Just keep reading the links…PU is NOT safe..those hot particles are everywhere..and the dosimeters used to determine PU exposure, per the medical articles..DONT WORK FOR PU!! So the government/DOE is blowing smoke at those meetings. And the comment, ONLY AM exposure..gal who said that needs to be stuck head first down the vent at WIPP as a test case..put her on the worker front lines..(note woman are twice as sensative to PU radiation as men..)


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    The reports of finding no airborne radiation is disingenuous.

    "The negative contamination results, officials said, were expected as teams only ventured into non-disposal areas of the site."

    Second entry into WIPP underground planned
    4/4/2014

    http://www.currentargus.com/carlsbad-news/ci_25492717/second-entry-into-wipp-underground-planned.html


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    • GQR2

      They talk about going down there on Weds, wonder what today's foray into hell i mean WIPP will show?
      Good to know Joe Franco will be working to ensure that Las Alamos Nuclear Waste get to Andrews for "safe storag" Until they can drive it back to WIPP. Good to know they are having the spill drills.


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    OT..NE of Carlsbad.
    April 2 2014

    Oilfield explosion injures four people in New Mexico

    http://www.oaoa.com/news/business/article_112c06ec-bab2-11e3-b7c3-0017a43b2370.html

    Hopping place ..Eddy County, NM


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  • Heart of the Rose Heart of the Rose

    Team finds no contamination on second WIPP trip
    April 4 2014

    http://www.abqjournal.com/379286/abqnewsseeker/team-finds-no-contamination-on-second-wipp-trip.html

    "The department is sending samples from the repository’s salt deposits to a federal lab in Idaho to begin testing various decontamination techniques."

    No contamination…but sending off samples for decontamination techniques??


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