WIPP Continues to Show Signs, Town Hall Webcast tonight, LANL TRU to WCS, More Information
WIPP Underground Continues to Show Signs of Radiological Activity
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant officials stated that there was another radiological release on March 11. This was outside of the WIPP site exhaust shaft filter. An air sample from the outside of the ventilation exhaust recorded 61 disintegrations per minute of americium on a sample collected the evening of March 11. WIPP stated that, “This is expected given the amount of contamination captured by the WIPP ventilation system during the February 14 radiation release event. Engineers believe the contamination was from previous deposits on the inner surface of the exhaust ductwork.” The engineers did not state why they expected this and did not mention the LARGE amount of contamination captured by the WIPP ventilation system filters. The engineers also did not state why they believed this and not that more contamination was being produced in the underground.
Air sampling results before and after the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters at WIPP are available here. Station A samples air before the filters and Station B samples air after passing through the filters. These samples were analyzed following the detection of airborne radioactivity on February 14, 2014. They are not environmental samples, and are not representative of the public or worker breathing zone air samples.
The 3/11/14 4:19PM increase after the filters is shown here. There were other small releases on 03/02/2014 08:50 AM (38 dpm) and 03/05/2014 08:10 AM (60 dpm, although WIPP claims that the filter was “cross contaminated”)
There was a larger event, before the filters, that occurred 03/13/2014 08:30 AM (368 dpm) that has not been mentioned. All this shows that the underground could still be brewing radiological activity. Perhaps this will be explained better tonight at the Town hall.
Weekly Town Hall Meetings in Carlsbad?
Thursdays at 5:30 – Carlsbad City Council Chambers, City Hall, 101 N. Halagueno St.
Co-hosted by City of Carlsbad and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Carlsbad Field Office
Discuss recovery efforts following WIPP’s fire and radiological events in February.
The Show Goes On
The Department of Energy (DOE), is proposing to ship transuranic waste currently located at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for temporary storage at Waste Control Specialists (WCS), located in western Andrews County, Texas. LANL has another ~546 cubic meters remaining out of the original 3706 cubic meters that was agreed to be moved to WIPP by June 2014.
Let’s be clear, there is no technical reason to store the waste temporarily at WSC. DOE and LANL just want to show that they can meet a deadline. The extra cost of this operation has not been released. And don’t get me wrong, no one wants the waste – all the waste – removed from LANL more than me. Let’s hope that DOE and LANL show the same amount of interest and resources when it comes to removing the rest of the waste at Los Alamos, such as the hundreds of thousands of cubic meters of radioactive and hazardous wastes buried at Area G.
WIPP Informational Meeting in Santa Fe
A WIPP informational meeting will take place in Santa Fe on Monday, March 31st from 6 to 7:30 pm at the Santa Fe Main Library, located at 145 Washington, in downtown Santa Fe. Please note the new location. Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, Scott Kovac, of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, and Sasha Pyle, longtime activist, will give presentations. Opportunities for public involvement will be discussed.