“…Anti-nuclear activists contend the increasing number of glove box mishaps are part of a trend that will continue as the lab processes more plutonium, partly in pursuit of making the bowling ball-sized cores, or pits, that detonate warheads.
“It’s reasonable to assume it will accelerate with expanded [pit] production,” said Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico.”
A Los Alamos National Laboratory worker recently punctured a glove used to handle radioactive material in a sealed compartment, and wind blew airborne tritium into the liquid waste treatment facility a few weeks earlier, a federal watchdog reported.
The worker punctured the glove while handling a sharp measuring caliper instead of an electronic device that’s normally used for the task but was disabled, according to an October report by the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board.
The breach contaminated a protective glove the worker was wearing but not the skin, and it didn’t cause an airborne radioactive release, the report said.
This is the second glove box breach in as many months and among a half-dozen the safety board has reported this year.