Sante Fe New Mexican, Nov 30, 2014: [D]ocuments obtained by The New Mexican… raise questions about the stability of dozens of other nuclear waste drums that were in the same chamber as the drum that ruptured [after a] chemical reaction… Radiation leaked into the air, and temperatures in the underground chamber peaked at nearly 1,600 degrees… One internal lab report described the [contents] as similar to plastic explosives… Investigators believe the organic material may be one reason temperatures in the chamber rose so high… Internal emails… detail concerns about the stability of drums… exposed to the extreme temperatures… June 17 draft of a LANL report… suggested the high temperatures may have made other nuclear waste drums in the chamber more unstable than ever…
Albuquerque Journal, guest column by Harish C. Sharma, retired engineer, Nov 30, 2014: Department of Energy’s Office of Inspector General… report mentions that the use of “kitty litter/Zeolite clay”… may have been the cause of the fire and release of radiation… What is the real cause of the incident? No one is sure… What if the real reason for the fire and release of radiation was not the “kitty litter”?… Without finding the real cause, DOE and LANL’s actions only assure that this incident will occur again.
The WIPP Trail, narrated by Robert Redford, 1989 (at 17:00 in):
- Robert Redford: We now know that 40% of the [WIPP] hazardous waste is combustible, thus posing a more serious and immediate threat.
- Bruce Throne, New Mexico State Attorney: I think the combustible waste is perhaps the most significant because even a layman can understand that when combustible waste is exposed to high levels of heat, there may be some effect inside the TRUPAC [containers].
- Redford: Wind is a critical factor that must be considered. The worst case scenario would be if a fire occurs within a breach of a container. The wind could then carry plutonium particles through the atmosphere, traveling considerable distances.
- Oxford Dictionary’s definition of fire: “Combustion or burning, in which substances combine chemically with oxygen from the air and typically give out bright light, heat, and smoke”
Published: December 1st, 2014 at 3:35 pm ET