New Mexico Radiation leaks could still be occurring” at WIPP
“Radiation leaks could still be occurring” at WIPP — Locals worried since “no one knows anything” — Workers to use “military-like tactics… ready to risk everything” — “Event has changed WIPP” — “Life as we knew it is going to be different”
Published: March 23rd, 2014 at 5:23 pm ET
New York Times, Mar. 20, 2014: “The event that has happened has changed WIPP,” [Jose R. Franco, manager of the Department of Energy's Carlsbad field office] said, using the popular nickname for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. “But we need it to reopen.” […] “Did we ever think it could happen? No, but it did,” [Rick Fuentes, president of the local chapter of the United Steelworkers union] said. “So everybody has to come to terms with the reality that life as we knew it at WIPP is going to be different now.”
Indian Country Today, Mar. 20, 2014: Local Carlsbad residents, even those who work there or are dependent on WIPP’s economic benefits, are worried because “no one knows anything.” They are glad that the EPA has come in to investigate as well, because they don’t know if they can trust what WIPP officials have to say about the leak and any radiation contamination. […] “no one knows anything” — explanations are criticized and officials are mistrusted.
Carlsbad Current Argus, Mar. 22, 2014: Department of Energy and Nuclear Waste Partnership has spent weeks training for the day when teams are sent below ground to investigate the transuranic nuclear waste drums […] the military-like tactics will consist of a balance of risks according to Re-entry Team Leader Wes Bryan. […] A myriad of factors play a role in the underground investigation process and any mistake has the possibility of derailing the task. […] Bryan has prepped his mine rescue team how to respond to any and all “worst case scenarios.” […] Bryan said, if the closed air circuit for a rescue team member fails, that person should remove their helmet because suffocation poses a greater and more immediate threat of death than breathing in radioactive particles underground. […] inherent risks and dangers cannot be overlooked and the mine rescue team is ready to risk everything to ensure the safety of the Carlsbad and surrounding communities.
Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety Program at the Southwest Research and Information Center, Mar. 22, 2014: “A month after the fact, we still don’t know what happened because no humans or robots have been underground. Radiation leaks could still be occurring. On top of that, the amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere may be unknowable forever. […] What we are certain of is that plutonium and americium are very dangerous and typically cause fatal lung cancer when inhaled. Yet, if you believe the Department of Energy, these employees face no health risks whatsoever. […] There are 170,000 total containers buried at this site, with many holding contaminated plutonium waste from making nuclear bombs. [...] The release of radioactive material wasn’t supposed to happen for 15,000 years, yet WIPP had its first catastrophe in 15 years.”
See also: Official: Radioactive material escaping everyday from WIPP — Top officials “not made available for comment” — Expert: Leaks from ‘unfiltered’ ducts went on for weeks
YouTube19 hours ago - Uploaded by N5wsFiveFederal officials confirmed a local nuclear plant in southern New Mexico is ... The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant ...
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- www.no2wipp.org/13 hours ago - Reason Sounding over future of NM, Nuke Waste Dump – Interview with Don Hancock ... CARLSBAD >> More than a month after a radiation leak at the Waste
- ‘New tests show elevated radiation’ near U.S. nuclear site — ‘More airborne radiation detected’ around WIPP — Gov’t issues press release on ‘radiological event’ (MAP)February 24, 2014
- Officials: Nuclear release from container(s) indicated at #WIPP site — “We never, ever thought this kind of an event would occur” — “Absolute seriousness of this can’t be overstated” — Resident: “I feel like they’re not telling us everything” (VIDEO) February 25, 2014
- TV: “Disturbing new development in WIPP radiation leak, surprising words today” — “What went wrong and why, those are some of the questions swirling around” — County official calls it ‘a disaster’ (VIDEOS) February 27, 2014
- Official: 4.4 mil disintegration of alpha radiation detected at leaking U.S. nuclear site, includes Plutonium; Highest recorded level — Santa Fe Briefing: “Serious incident involving radiation at the WIPP site” — Gov’t “reaching out to employees who are worried” about exposure February 24, 2014
- WIPP officials admit new release of Plutonium and Americium — More expected in future — Nearly double levels seen after February leak — 61 DPM on March 11 vs. 36 DPM in February March 19, 2014