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WIPP leaks ‘should never occur’ (NM nuclear disposal site)
The Albuquerque Journal ^ | February 21, 2014 | Lauren Villagran

Posted on 02/21/2014 12:58:40 PM PST by CedarDave

“One event is far too many.”

That’s how New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn characterized last week’s radiation leak from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad. Although deemed not harmful to human health, the elevated levels of plutonium and americium detected outside the nuclear waste depository has prompted an investigation.

U.S. Department of Energy Carlsbad Field Office Manager Joe Franco said it could take three weeks to get investigators underground to uncover the source of the Feb. 14 leak – the first time radiation has escaped the facility in its 15 years of operation, he said.

Franco said WIPP is working on a “comprehensive plan to re-enter the underground.” An Accident Investigation Board is handling the inquiry, according to a WIPP spokeswoman.

Flynn said the state Environment Department’s primary concern is to “assure there are absolutely no threats to public health.”

It’s the second safety breach at WIPP in less than a month, after a truck used for hauling salt from mines caught fire underground and prompted an emergency response in early February. No one was hurt.

The issues have thrown into question proposals to expand WIPP’s available underground storage space as well as the type of nuclear waste it handles.

WIPP’s underground chambers currently house some 3.2 million cubic feet of what’s known as “transuranic waste,” contaminated leftovers from the country’s nuclear defense activities. The waste, stored in sealed containers, is stacked in underground rooms the size of football fields that have been hollowed out of salt beds about half a mile beneath the surface.

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: energy; nuclearwaste; radioactive; wipp
A whoops at WIPP.

One speculation is that part of the salt roof collapsed damaging and opening one or more drums containing the waste. Underground readings have declined indicating what occurred has ceased.

1 posted on 02/21/2014 12:58:40 PM PST by CedarDave
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To: LegendHasIt; leapfrog0202; Santa Fe_Conservative; DesertDreamer; OneWingedShark; CougarGA7; ...

NM list PING!

I may not PING for all New Mexico articles. To see New Mexico articles by topic click here: New Mexico Topics

To see NM articles by keyword, click here: New Mexico Keywords

To see the NM Message Page, click here: New Mexico Messages

(The NM list is available on my FR homepage for anyone to use. Let me know if you wish to be added or removed from the list.)
(For ABQ Journal articles requiring a subscription, scroll down to the bottom of the page to view the article for free after answering a question or watching a short video commercial.)

2 posted on 02/21/2014 12:59:23 PM PST by CedarDave (Obama - "That's the good thing as a President, I can do whatever I want" (02/10/14 declaration))
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To: CedarDave

But, but, our gubmit designed and approved the site.

It is undoubtedly run by top (that’s TOP) level gubmit civil “servants”.

Nothing can go wrong....go wrong.....go wrong.

3 posted on 02/21/2014 1:02:01 PM PST by Da Coyote
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