ENENews: Officials: Roof has separated — “Ground control a significant concern for all of us”

AP: Ceiling collapses at WIPP nuclear waste dump — Officials: Roof has separated — “Ground control a significant concern for all of us” — 6 other areas at risk due to ‘significant bolt loss’ — Failures are exceeding safety levels (VIDEO)
Published: January 23rd, 2015 at 2:30 pm ET
By ENENews
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Dept. of Energy, Jan 21, 2015 (emphasis added): Roof Separation Highlights Bolting Priority — January 15 [we] discovered that a portion of the ceiling in the Panel 3 access drift had fallen… The roof fall… was estimated to be approximately 8’ long by 8’wide and 24” thick… no WIPP personnel were present at the time of the fall. The area where the fall occurred is also known to contain low levels of radioactive contamination… WIPP geotechnical inspections conducted in November 2014 identified seven areas… where access was restricted due to significant bolt loss… The area where the roof fall occurred was one of the seven locations…
wipp collapsed

AP, Jan 22, 2015: Ceiling Collapse At WIPP… ceiling at the federal government’s underground nuclear waste repository in southern New Mexico has collapsed. The U.S. Energy Department’s Carlsbad Field Office… announced the finding Wednesday, saying it highlighted the need for workers to continue with roof bolting operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

Carlsbad Current Argus, Jan 22, 2015: WIPP discovers fallen roof… “The roof had already fallen before the geotechnical staff found it,” said Tim Runyon, WIPP recovery communications manager. The fallen piece of ceiling was found in the Panel 3 access drift… Runyon said that problems in the restricted areas of the underground were anticipated… According to the news release, during these inspections, seven areas in the underground were identified as restricted areas due to significant bolt loss… Jim Blankenhorn said at the January town hall that crews have removed over 300 damaged bolts… WIPP officials have stated that bolting is a priority in the recovery process to ensure safety in the underground.
JB CTH

Jim Blankenhorn, Nuclear Waste Partnership – URS, Jan 8, 2015: As many of you know, ground control has been a significant concern for all of us, in that we all realize that the mine itself is going to continue to creep with the pressures on the salt deposits… not bolting for a period of time potentially raises some concerns. We’ve been working pretty aggressively… As part of ongoing inspections of the ground conditions… they’ve identified some of the – not the backs… but the ribs, the actual sides of these drifts – we had one specific area that had a large section the was starting to come separate from the wall itself… so that was about a 200 foot area that we put new bolts in… We reported earlier that the areas right outside of panel 6 had lost a number of bolts and we needed to do bolting in that area… We’ve looked at all of the areas of the underground and the areas that are highlighted in orange are areas where we’ve seen a sufficient of bolts fail… we’re making these areas a priority… when we look at the safety tables that we have, the number of bolts per linear foot has started to exceed the tables in terms of our safety measures.

Watch Blankenhorn’s presentation (at 22:00 in)

Top Official: “Really concerned” over radiation release at US nuclear site

Top Official: “Really concerned” over radiation release at US nuclear site; Feds “have put a noose around scientific personnel”… they refuse to reveal crucial information about WIPP disaster — Investigators becoming suspicious — Nuclear Expert: “It sure seems like there’s a cover-up” (AUDIO)

 
Published: September 6th, 2014 at 5:16 pm ET
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The Santa Fe New Mexican, Sept 6, 2014: Flynn accuses feds of blocking WIPP probe — New Mexico’s top environmental regulator lashed out at the U.S. Department of Energy this week, accusing it of impeding the state’s investigation into [the WIPP] radiation leak… Secretary Ryan Flynn warned [about] Energy Department roadblocks that have protracted the probe… Increasingly in recent weeks, the federal Energy Department has thwarted attempts by the state… Flynn accused the Energy Department of muzzling scientists with crucial information about the waste…. [They] asked for documentnuclearation supporting the scientists’ observations [but] the Energy Department has repeatedly refused… his frustration with the Energy Department grew as its denials… became more frequent… The Energy Department’s refusal to provide information raised suspicions among Flynn’s investigators…

New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Ryan Flynn, Sept 6, 2014: “The problem is that Department of Energy headquarters back in Washington, D.C., is looking at this situation through a political or (public relations) lens, so they’ve put a noose around the scientific personnel who can answer our questions… there’s a willingness (by LANL personnel) to provide information [but] someone back at headquarters decides that no, they’re not going to provide that information to the state… it happens repeatedly, that’s when you start to get really concerned… they don’t provide certain information [or] make staff available… The more we investigate, the more we’re discovering at Los Alamos… the Department of Energy headquarters refuses to provide certain information.”

Greg Mello, Los Alamos Study Group, Sept 6, 2014: “[Not sharing this information] could be a danger signal for workers and the public. Mislabeling drums and withholding information can be criminal.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican, Sept 3, 2014: Review, relabeling of LANL waste raises questions about scope of problem… [Los Alamos National Laboratory’s] review of the incident has led to uncertainty over the volatility of hundreds of other drums… The lab notified state environment officials late last month that it was re-evaluating and relabeling as “ignitable” or “corrosive” the contents of 86 drums at LANL… The Department of Energy also is reviewing and relabeling more than 300… stored in WIPP’s underground… [This] raises questions about the scope of the problem that led to the leak at WIPP.

Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator & engineer, Aug 28, 2014 (at 22:15 in): “It sure seems like that there’s a combination of a cover-up, and a combination of slip-shot record keeping. Now there’s talk of whether they ditched those records after the fact or before the fact, but those records are nonexistent. One would expect really good records as to what is being stored, where it’s being stored, when it was put away, when it was stored, all that – every bit of information that one would expect to have in a nuclear storage facility and these are missing, there’s a lot of information.

Full interview with Harris here

 
Published: September 6th, 2014 at 5:16 pm ET
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Related Posts

  1. Officials: Leakage seen on “many” nuclear waste drums in WIPP underground — We think the seals have degraded — Public “should be concerned” about another explosion — 1,000s of radioactive drums now seen as too risky to move (VIDEO) June 13, 2014
  2. Expert: No one in world has ever dealt with something like WIPP disaster — Continuous release of radioactive material ’24/7′ to environment — Nobody knows when leaking will end — It’s a ‘major failure’ for so many people to be exposed — Gov’t yet to say if dump will open again (AUDIO) April 6, 2014
  3. Video: WIPP nuclear site may close for several years — Explosion in multiple drums suspected — “Very much a cause for concern” — Top official gives ‘fiery speech’ calling for public to be told what has happened — DOE refuses to name source of nuclear wasteMay 9, 2014
  4. WIPP Expert: Nuclear waste is getting out above ground — Plutonium / Americium found in “every single worker” on site when leak began — New Mexico officials ‘totally unsatisfied’ with lack of info from Feds — “We don’t know how far away it’s gone” — Continuing threat for long time to come (AUDIO) March 5, 2014
  5. Officials now admit over 500 barrels of nuclear waste at risk of bursting open — AP: 368 already at WIPP dump — “New Mexico sees ‘imminent’ danger” — State orders WIPP to prevent “health or environmental threat”; Must ‘permanently seal’ underground storage areas May 21, 2014

Canisters Are Like Nitroglycerin!

WIPP Like Nitroglycerin!

AP: Ticking time bombs of nuclear waste at multiple U.S. sites? Lab checking for smoking drums — CNN: “Imminent threat from radiation” — Gundersen: Serious public health effects if one blows; “Very, very volatile… like nitroglycerin” (VIDEO)

 
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Published: May 23rd, 2014 at 10:12 am ET 
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AP, May 21, 2014: Los Alamos National Laboratory [LANL] on Wednesday told state government it has isolated and is closely monitoring nuclear waste […] packed with a type of cat litter suspected in a radiation leak at [WIPP]. [LANL] said the 55-gallon barrels have been secured in special containers and moved to an isolated area with a fire protection system. They also are being monitored 24 hours a day for any change in temperature, smoking or other abnormalities. […] More than 100 other suspect containers are being stored temporarily at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas.

AP, May 23, 2014: Has cat litter turned barrels of New Mexico nuclear waste into ticking time bombs? […] COULD THE OTHER BARRELS BE TICKING TIME BOMBS? [LANL] said it has packed them in special containers, placed them under a dome with a fire extinguishing system and is closely monitoring them. Waste Control Specialists has taken similar precautions. As for the more than 350 containers already at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Flynn has ordered the U.S. Department of Energy to expedite plans for sealing off the underground rooms where the waste is stored. Complicating that effort is the laborious investigative process […] they are still working to see if other containers have been breached.

CNN Interview with Arnie Gundersen, May 21, 2014: ‘Imminent’ threat from radiation leak

  • At :15 in — Arnie Gundersen, Fairewinds Chief Engineer: Barrels are above ground and still at Los Alamos, which is a major concern because this material gets more and more unstable as it gets warmer, and of course we’re heading into the summer months on the desert. So those barrels that are above ground, if they were to blow like the one that did below ground, we’d have a serious public health effect. […]
  • At 1:30 in – Gundersen: When the corn [in the kitty litter] absorbed the moisture, the nitrogen inside got very, very volatile. Almost like in these old movies when you see somebody holding nitroglycerin — any shake will cause it to be disturbed. Well that’s what happened to these canisters that have the organic kitty litter. They’ve got to go back through and find all of those and isolate them and then figure out how to change the litter.

Watch the CNN interview here

Published: May 23rd, 2014 at 10:12 am ET
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  1. CBS News: “Potential ‘imminent’ threat from New Mexico nuclear waste” — Official: Risk of “substantial endangerment” to public health — 57 barrels of nuclear waste could rupture, came from multiple gov’t labs — ‘Unclear’ how many are now at WIPP — Being monitored for rise in temperature (VIDEO) May 20, 2014
  2. Officials now admit over 500 barrels of nuclear waste at risk of bursting open — AP: 368 already at WIPP dump — “New Mexico sees ‘imminent’ danger” — State orders WIPP to prevent “health or environmental threat”; Must ‘permanently seal’ underground storage areas May 21, 2014
  3. Expert: ‘Cracked’ nuclear container “blew top off” at WIPP — Hundreds more drums at dump risk ‘energetic reaction’ and radiation release — Insider: Get forklift and remove them before another accident — Official: No ‘imminent’ public threat ‘at this time’ (VIDEO)May 19, 2014
  4. “U.S. state on alert after nuclear waste leak” — Governor: “This is most disturbing news”… No ‘immediate’ public health threat #Hanford June 22, 2013
  5. Wall St. Journal: Plutonium levels 1,000 times normal on seafloor 50 miles from San Francisco — Expert Appalled: Major nuclear dump offshore is a threat to health — Around 50,000 containers of radioactive waste in globally significant ecosystem January 2, 2014