Mission

Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety

Our mission is to protect all living beings and the environment from the effects of radioactive and other hazardous materials now and in the future.

107 Cienega Street
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501

Telephone: (505) 986-1973
Fax: (505) 986-0997
Email: ccns@nuclearactive.org

Learn more »

Our Work

Support CCNS

Make a donation

Make a one-time contribution by using the "Donate" button:


 
Current Activities

Pax Christi New Mexico to Commemorate U.S. Bombing of Hiroshima on Saturday, August 2nd in Los Alamos

CCNS NEWS UPDATE

Runs 7/18/14 through 7/25/14

(THEME UP AND UNDER)  This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.  Here is this week’s top headline:

  • Pax Christi New Mexico to Commemorate U.S. Bombing of Hiroshima on Saturday, August 2nd in Los Alamos

Pax Christi New Mexico will hold its annual Hiroshima Day Commemoration on Saturday, August 2nd, 2014 from 2 pm to 4 pm in Los Alamos, New Mexico.   Near the end of World War II, on August 6th, 1945, the U.S. bombed Hiroshima, Japan with a nuclear weapon.  It has been 69 years since that event.  Pax Christi New Mexico seeks the abolition of nuclear weapons.

From 2 to 4 pm on Saturday, August 2nd, the Sackcloth and Ashes Prayer Vigil for Peace will be held at Ashley Pond in Los Alamos.  Please join Pax Christi New Mexico in the spirit of nonviolence to put on sackcloths and ashes and sit in silent meditation for 30 minutes to repent for the creation of nuclear weapons.  The sackcloth and ashes ceremony is taken from the Bible story found in the Book of Jonah.  In the story, God was angry about how the people of Nineveh were behaving and asked that they repent for their sins.  The people sat in sackcloths and on ashes and prayed for forgiveness.  God accepted their prayers and granted them peace.

Pax Christi will supply the sackcloths and ashes.  The action will end at Ashley Pond with closing remarks by Father John Dear.

Pax Christi New Mexico is a region of Pax Christi USA, the national Catholic peace movement, which seeks to promote the peace of Christ by exploring, articulating, witnessing and practicing Gospel nonviolence.   They work to abolish war, poverty, violence, injustice and nuclear weapons in New Mexico and the world and welcome God’s reign of peace on earth.  http://paxchristiusa.org/tag/pax-christi-new-mexico/

Bud Ryan, of Pax Christi New Mexico, said, “We in Pax Christi New Mexico ask you to join us for our annual Hiroshima Commemoration on Saturday, August 2nd.”

He continued, “For me this has been an incredible way to say I’m sorry for being part of the collective violence we in the U.S. perpetrate on others around the world, as well as ourselves.  Afterwards we ask you to join us to hear John Dear talk about nuclear weapons and what we can do to work to abolish them.  We would hope that for all participants this becomes a lifetime pursuit, rather than just a weekend, to rid the world of nuclear weapons and to get the nine nuclear weapon States to clean up their nuclear mess.”

Please join Pax Christi New Mexico at their inspiring, moving and important event.  For more information, please call Bud Ryan at 505 264-2838 or Ellie Voutselas at 505 474-8557.

    
This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information, please visit our website at http://www.nuclearactive.org and like us on Facebook.

 

 

Trinity Site Atomic Bomb Test Commemoration Set for Saturday, July 26th

CCNS NEWS UPDATE

Runs 7/11/14 through 7/19/14

(THEME UP AND UNDER)  This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.  Here is this week’s top headline:

  • Trinity Site Atomic Bomb Test Commemoration Set for Saturday, July 26th

The Fifth Annual Luminaria Lighting and Prayer Vigil will be held on Saturday, July 26th from 7 to 10 pm in Tularosa, New Mexico, in commemoration of the Trinity Site Atomic Bomb Test.  In its first experimental test, the atomic bomb was exploded near Tularosa on July 16, 1945.  This led to the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima, Japan on August 6th of that same year.  July 26, 2014 Trinity Event Flyer

The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, in cooperation with the Village of Tularosa, is organizing the public event, which will take place at the Tularosa Little League Field, off La Luz Avenue.  Luminarias will be available for a small donation beginning at 7 pm.  They will be lit in memory of those who have died from cancer and other illnesses related to exposure to the atomic bomb explosion.

The Consortium formed in order to be covered by the federal Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which has provided other impacted communities downwind of the Nevada Test Site and for the Marshall Islanders with compensation.  New Mexico Senator Tom Udall has led the effort to introduce amendments to RECA that would include the Trinity downwinders, and others in New Mexico.

In support of the commemoration, Senator Udall recently took to the Senate floor to deliver a speech about the Consortium and the importance of their work to support amending RECA.  He said, “The original RECA bill required years of work on the ground. My father, [Stewart Udall], helped lay the groundwork for RECA a quarter century ago through his work with radiation exposure survivors and their families, compiling stories, records and histories of victims. The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium continues this critical work, and I encourage them to keep up the fight.  This is a bipartisan effort and driven by simple fairness for American citizens who should have been helped, but were ignored instead.  …  It would also help post-1971 uranium workers to be eligible for compensation, and would fund a critical public health study of those who live and work in uranium development communities.”  http://www.tomudall.senate.gov/?p=new_media&type=videos&id=1703&#new_media_stage

Concerning the memorial event, Tina Cordova, a co-founder of the Consortium, said, “This year we will hold our fifth annual candlelight vigil in Tularosa to memorialize those who have lost their lives to cancer and other diseases associated with radiation exposure and honor those who have survived or are living with cancer.  It will be a bittersweet evening because we will be missing the co-founder of the Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium, Fred Tyler.  I know Fred would want us to keep up the fight so in his memory we carry on”.

For more information and opportunities to volunteer, please contact Tina Cordova at 505-897-6787.

 

This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information, please visit our website at http://www.nuclearactive.org or our Facebook page.

 

LANL Stormwater Meeting on Tuesday, July 8th and 35th Red Water Pond Road Community Uranium Tailings Spill Commemoration on Saturday, July 19th

CCNS NEWS UPDATE

Runs 7/4/14 through 7/11/14

(THEME UP AND UNDER)  This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.  Here is this week’s top headline:

  •  LANL Stormwater Meeting on Tuesday, July 8th and 35th Red Water Pond Road Community Uranium Tailings Spill Commemoration on Saturday, July 19th

As required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) will hold a public meeting about its Individual Stormwater Permit on Tuesday, July 8th, from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the Cities of Gold Conference Center, located at 10 Cities of Gold Road, in Pojoaque.  http://www.lanl.gov/community-environment/environmental-stewardship/protection/compliance/individual-permit-stormwater/index.php

The meeting will begin with a poster session about the individual stormwater permit, which regulates over 400 sites that have the potential to release contaminants when stormwater runs on or runs the polluted sites created by industrial activities.  LANL will discuss the mitigation measures it has taken for flood events, the rain gage network located in the canyons that flow to the Rio Grande, and its recent application to EPA to renew the permit.

Then the Youth Council Initiative Project of the Communities for Clean Water will present about the work they are doing.  The Youth Council began meeting at the beginning of the year to learn about LANL and the stormwater issues.  Recently, they toured LANL and will report on their experiences.  The Communities for Clean Water is a network of community groups from Taos to the South Valley of Albuquerque along the Rio Grande, that includes CCNS.  The Communities for Clean Water  have been instrumental in addressing storwmwater issues at LANL.

 

On Saturday, July 19th, the Red Water Pond Road Community Association will be hosting its Sixth Annual North East Church Rock Environmental Awareness Conference from 7 am to 3 pm, located 12 miles north of Red Rock State Park on State Highway 566.  The public is cordially invited to attend.  It will include the 65th commemoration of the North East Church Rock Tailing Spill, which occurred on July 16th, 1979.  On that day, an earthen uranium tailings dam at the United Nuclear Corporation Church Rock Uranium Mill failed, spilling 93 million gallons of liquid toxic waste into the Rio Puerco in New Mexico, which eventually flowed downstream into Arizona.  The spill contributed to the long-term contamination already present in the watershed from the release of untreated or poorly treated uranium mine water into the Rio Puerco.

The organizers ask you to join them “to heal our Dine’ and Mother Earth.  We believe we need to support one another and cherish our families and communities, just as our elders have.  By working together, with our combined intelligence and wisdom we can address this legacy to provide a life of balance and harmony for our people and future generations.”

For more information, please contact Edith Hood at 505 717-5731.

 

This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information, please visit http://www.nuclearactive.org and like us on Facebook.

 

U.S. Conference of Mayors Adopts Bold New Resolution Calling for Constructive Good Faith U.S. Participation in International Nuclear Disarmament Forums

CCNS NEWS UPDATE

Runs 6/27/14 through 7/4/14

(THEME UP AND UNDER)  This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.  Here is this week’s top headline:

*  U.S. Conference of Mayors Adopts Bold New Resolution Calling for Constructive Good Faith U.S. Participation in International Nuclear Disarmament Forums 

On June 23, 2014, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), the national non-partisan association of America’s cities with populations over 30,000, unanimously adopted a sweeping new resolution Calling for Constructive Good Faith U.S. Participation in International Nuclear Disarmament Forumsat its 82nd annual meeting in Dallas, Texas. According to USCM President Kevin Johnson, Mayor of Sacramento, California, “These resolutions, once adopted, become official USCM policy.”

Recalling that “August 6 and 9, 2015 will mark the 70th anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which killed more that 210,000 people by the end of 1945,” the resolution notes that “the people of the Republic of the Marshall Islands continue to suffer from the health and environmental impacts of 67 above-ground nuclear weapons test explosions conducted by the U.S. in their islands between 1946 and 1958….”

On April 24, 2014, the Republic of the Marshall Islands filed “landmark” cases in the International Court of Justice against the U.S. and the eight other nuclear-armed nations, claiming that they have failed to comply with their obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and customary international law to pursue negotiations for the global elimination of nuclear weapons, and filed a companion case in U.S. Federal District Court. In its resolution, the Conference “commends the Republic of the Marshall Islands for calling to the world’s attention the failure of the nine nuclear-armed states to comply with their international obligations to pursue negotiations for the worldwide elimination of nuclear weapons, and calls on the U.S. to respond constructively and in good faith to the lawsuits brought by the RMI.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors also “calls on the President and Congress to reduce nuclear weapons spending to the minimum necessary to assure the safety and security of the existing weapons as they await disablement and dismantlement, and to redirect those funds to meet the urgent needs of cities.”

The resolution states that “according to the General Accounting Office, the U.S. will spend more than $700 billion over the next 30 years to maintain and modernize nuclear weapons systems,” and that “this money is desperately needed to address basic human needs such as housing, food security, education, healthcare, public safety, education and environmental protection.”

The Conference all proclaims September 26th as the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and asks the cities “to support activities to enhance public awareness and education about the threat posed to humanity by nuclear weapons and the necessity for their total elimination.”

To read the resolution, please go to Western States Legal Foundation at http://www.wslfweb.org.

 

This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information, please visit http://www.nuclearactive.org and like us on Facebook.

 

U.S. Senate and House Support Recovery Funding for WIPP

 

CCNS NEWS UPDATE

Runs 6/20/14 through 6/27/14

(THEME UP AND UNDER)  This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.  Here is this week’s top headline:

*  U.S. Senate and House Support Recovery Funding for WIPP

This week members of a U.S. Senate subcommittee appropriated $220 million for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and added $102 million to try to get the nuclear bomb waste facility back up and running.  The House Appropriations Committee also provided additional funding for WIPP, but did so by cutting cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), another Department of Energy (DOE) facility located in New Mexico.  House and Senate negotiators eventually must agree on funding amounts that could take effect on October 1, 2014.

The additional recovery funding was approved without DOE providing a cleanup plan and schedule.  New Mexico Senator Tom Udall, a member of both the Senate Appropriations subcommittee and committee, was frustrated that DOE had not provided an updated cost estimate.  He said, “I still need that so I can make my best case for an increase in funding.  There’s still a feeling that we haven’t received a detailed recovery plan so we’re going to keep pushing for the [DOE] and the Secretary [Ernest Moniz] to provide that.”  http://www.tomudall.senate.gov/?p=press_release&id=1695

The Senate subcommittee also funded nuclear weapons work at LANL that will continue to generate transuranic waste, destined for the now-closed WIPP.  The Senate appropriated $35.7 million for upgrades to the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Radiological Laboratory and $3.8 million for the design of a new CMRR modular approach.  The funding fully supports the Life Extension Program for the B61 nuclear weapon at LANL and Sandia. DOE defines the life extension program as one “to repair/replace components of nuclear weapons to ensure the ability to meet military requirements,” so that “a weapon can safely and reliably remain in the stockpile without having to be replaced or removed.”  Both programs will create plutonium-contaminated nuclear and hazardous waste that, with the closure of WIPP, has no place to go.

In 2011, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez approved a Framework Agreement with DOE and LANL to prioritize the removal of transuranic waste to WIPP by June 30, 2014.  http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/documents/LANL_Framework_Agreement.pdf  Due to the WIPP closure, that project has been put on hold.

The Framework Agreement also prioritized monitoring storm water that flows from LANL to the Rio Grande, and monitoring groundwater that includes the chromium plume that is directly west of Santa Fe’s drinking water wells.

The LANL cleanup work is now in jeopardy because the House cut $45 million and that funding would go towards WIPP recovery.

Joni Arends, of CCNS, said, “Congress always finds funding for nuclear weapons work at LANL.  When will cleanup that will protect our precious water from the mess that began over 70 years ago be the priority?”

 

This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information, please visit http://www.nuclearactive.org and like us on Facebook.

 

House Subcommittee Approves an Additional $120 Million for WIPP Recovery and Cleanup Efforts

 

 

CCNS NEWS UPDATE
Runs 6/13/14 through 6/20/14

(THEME UP AND UNDER)  This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.  Here is this week’s top headline:

*  House Subcommittee Approves an Additional $120 Million for WIPP Recovery and Cleanup Efforts

Members of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee appropriated $220 million for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), matching the Obama Administration request, and added $120 million in order to try to get the nuclear bomb waste facility back up and running.  The House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee allowed the Department of Energy (DOE) to offset the additional funding for Fiscal Year 2015 with cuts to some DOE pension funds.  Details about how the money may be spent should be available in a few weeks.  If approved by both the House and Senate, the funding would be available on October 1st.

Last week, New Mexico Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich wrote to President Obama requesting additional funding “to restore full operations at WIPP.”

Don Hancock, Nuclear Waste Director of Southwest Research and Information Center, commented that DOE does not know how much it will cost to reopen WIPP and asked whether additional funds will be needed in the future, since the cleanup process could be ongoing for several years.  http://sric.org/

Because the explosion and release were never supposed to happen, no cleanup standard has been established.  Further, it is unknown what type of cleanup would be needed to meet such a standard because cleanup of a salt mine contaminated with nuclear bomb waste has never been done before.

In related news, WIPP workers dressed in full protective equipment began replacing the contaminated High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters from one of two large ventilation filter banks located on the surface.  The workers went through training to learn how to remove the filters contaminated with plutonium and americium.  The filters are being sprayed with a fixative to hold the contamination during filter removal.  It is estimated that it will take anywhere from four to eight weeks to complete the operation.  During the change out, no one will be allowed to go into the underground mine.

Both filter banks have been operating since the February 14th radiation release.  During the filter change, ventilated air from the underground will only be going through one filter bank.  It is unknown whether the ventilation changes will result in an increase or decrease in the amount of contamination that will leave the underground.  If it increases, the workers may have problems changing the filters.  Every effort is being made to protect the workers.

On Thursday, June 19th, the City of Carlsbad and DOE will co-host a public meeting about the WIPP recovery activities at 5:30 pm at the Carlsbad City Council Chambers.  The meetings are now being held on the first and third Thursdays of the month and are live-streamed at http://new.livestream.com/rrv/ 

 

This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information, please visit http://www.nuclearactive.org and like us on Facebook.

 

 

Rocky Flats Then and Now: 25 Years After the 1989 FBI and EPA Raid

CCNS NEWS UPDATE

Runs 6/6/14 through 6/13/14

(THEME UP AND UNDER) This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. Here is this week’s top headline:

* Rocky Flats Then and Now: 25 Years After the 1989 FBI and EPA Raid  

This weekend, the Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship, a project of the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, invites you to a series of informative events to commemorate the 25 years since the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) raided the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Rocky Flats Nuclear Plant on June 6th, 1989. The theme for the weekend is the raid and its consequences, such as the grand jury investigation and the subsequent controversy about environmental crimes. All the events will take place at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, located at 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard, Arvada, Colorado.

Rocky Flats, a massive industrial production facility for the plutonium cores of nuclear weapons, began operations in 1952. It was the first time that DOE was able to mass-produce plutonium cores. Located between Denver and Boulder, Rocky Flats manufactured about 70,000 cores over 37 years of operations.

On June 6th, 1989, the FBI and the EPA made history as the first U.S. government agencies to raid another agency when they locked down the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant near Arvada.  Five months later, the production activities were shut down.

Before Rocky Flats, the manufacture of plutonium cores was done at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), located in north central New Mexico. Shortly after the raid, the manufacturing equipment was returned to LANL, where it is now the only U.S. manufacturing facility for plutonium cores.

The weekend will include art, history and photography exhibits, as well as discussions by people who were involved at the time, such as former Colorado Governor Roy Romer, former U.S. Representative David Skaggs, former FBI agent Jon Lipsky, author Kristen Iversen, activist LeRoy Moore, and former plant workers, neighbors, and experts.

On Friday, June 6th, beginning at 7 pm, activist LeRoy Moore, a founder of the Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship, will be part of a citizen panel. He will speak about his fast in front of the State Capitol after the FBI raid in response to the failure of then Governor Roy Romer to seek a halt to production at Rocky Flats.

On Saturday, there will be panels on “The Raid in Retrospect,” and “Secrecy and Its Fallout,” followed by a performance piece.

On Sunday afternoon, there will be two panels about “What Do We Know about Rocky Flats Workers’ Health Issues, 25 Years Later?” and “What Do We Know Today about Contamination from Rocky Flats?” Unfortunately, no discussion is planned about public health impacts, and the cleanup panel does not include a critical voice about ongoing concerns.

A link to the entire schedule is available at the Rocky Flats Nuclear Guardianship website at http://www.rockyflatsnuclearguardianship.org/ or the Arvada Center website at http://arvadacenter.org/on-stage/rocky-flats-then-and-now-2014.

This has been the CCNS News Update. For more information, please visit http://www.nuclearactive.org and like us on Facebook.

 

WIPP Waste Characterization Has Been an Issue for Over Two Decades

CCNS NEWS UPDATE

Runs 5/30/14 through 6/6/14

(THEME UP AND UNDER) This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety. Here is this week’s top headline:

  • WIPP Waste Characterization Has Been an Issue for Over Two Decades

Essential to disposal of radioactive and hazardous waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is to know what is being disposed of through a process called waste characterization. Chemical and radiological reactions can occur in the waste containers, and for that reason it is essential to test each container before it is transported to WIPP. This is to assure that ignitable, corrosive, reactive, or chemically incompatible materials are not in the container. If a drum contains any of these types of waste, it cannot be shipped to WIPP unless it is treated first with industrial absorbents or the problem materials are removed.

For over two decades, the Department of Energy (DOE) and its contractors have resisted comprehensive waste characterization.   The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), a federal hazardous waste law, administered by the New Mexico Environment Department, requires comprehensive waste characterization.

In 1998, the Environment Department released a draft hazardous waste permit for WIPP. Southwest Research and Information Center and CCNS submitted joint comments, hired technical experts, and participated in the permit hearing, which lasted 19 days. Including stronger waste characterization in the permit was a core issue. DOE opposed some of those requirements.

Rather than using comprehensive testing, DOE and its contractor wanted to rely primarily on historical records, called acceptable knowledge. That is still DOE’s position. Last year DOE requested, and the Environment Department approved, provisions eliminating some of the chemical sampling and analysis requirements. They claimed this would save $5 million. But now, 14 weeks after the radiation leak, it appears “acceptable knowledge” was not enough sufficient for the Los Alamos National Laboratory drums involved in the release. It is obvious that it will cost more than $5 million to cleanup WIPP.

It is unfortunate that some of the waste characterization issues raised by citizen groups were ignored at the 1999 hearing. Deborah Reade represented Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping at that hearing. She specializes in translating technical information into language understandable to laypeople, and her excellent summaries of the testimony are available at nuclearactive.org. Given the accident and current situation, taking time to read them is eye opening.

As Ms Reade pointed out, “I think it’s great that we had the foresight to memorialize the testimony so that now, when it’s needed, we can look back and see what was considered important at the time and remains important now. Originally, comprehensive waste characterization, in addition to acceptable knowledge, was considered essential for WIPP to ‘start clean and stay clean’ throughout its operations. We still need this type of characterization now since the acceptable knowledge is often so lacking–especially about the hazardous part of the waste. Clearly, we also need better regulation both at WIPP and at the sites sending waste to WIPP. This two-fold approach is needed to prevent releases both at WIPP and on the highways.”

 

This has been the CCNS News Update. For more information, please visit our website at nuclearactive.org.

 

 

 

NMED Issues Administrative Orders to LANL and WIPP

CCNS NEWS UPDATE
Runs 5/23/14 through 5/30/14


(THEME UP AND UNDER)  This is the CCNS News Update, an overview of the latest nuclear safety issues, brought to you every week by Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety.  Here is this week’s top headline:

•    NMED Issues Administrative Orders to LANL and WIPP

This week the New Mexico Environment Department issued administrative orders to the Department of Energy (DOE) at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) requiring plans about how the facilities will isolate, secure and possibly treat their nitrate salt bearing waste containers so that they do not pose a threat to human health or the environment.  The orders also state that the current handling, storage, treatment, transportation and disposal of the hazardous nitrate salt bearing waste containers at LANL and in the WIPP underground “may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to health or the environment.”  http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/, see WIPP Update on the right side of the home page.

The orders mandate a schedule for implementation of the plans.  The orders also provide for the continuation of daily telephone calls with the Environment Department staff, as well as daily written reports.  All documents are to be posted in the electronic public reading rooms for each DOE facility within five working days.

WIPP has until Friday, May 30th to respond. LANL responded on Wednesday, May 21st.  http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/, see WIPP Update on the right side of the home page.    At LANL, there are three categories of nitrate salt-bearing waste containers, which are the wastes that have been remediated, those that have not been remediated, and those wastes that have been cemented or those that are newly-generated.  The remediated wastes were treated with the kitty litter and repackaged into new drums.  The unremediated wastes are those that were not treated with the kitty litter.  LANL argues that the cemented and newly-generated wastes are not explosive or corrosive.

On May 1st, WIPP announced that possibly drums disposed of in the underground were unremediated nitrate salt-bearing waste.  On May 2nd, LANL did a review and began to take precautionary actions to prevent an explosion, such as the one that apparently occurred on Valentine’s Day in the WIPP underground.

LANL moved all the remediated containers into a dome structure at Area G, which has an active fire suppression system.  They began to take daily temperature measurements of each container and installed a continuous air monitoring system.  LANL overpacked 57 remediated containers into standard waste boxes, which will be moved by June 3rd into two other domes that are temperature controlled and equipped with HEPA filtration and fire suppression systems.  The unremediated containers have been overpacked into 85-gallon drums and also will be moved by June 3rd into the two domes.

The Environment Department is requiring WIPP to present a plan to expedite the closure of Panel 6, which contains 313 nitrate salt-bearing waste containers, and Panel 7, Room 7, which contains 55 of the same drums.

More than 100 of the suspect containers are stored at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas.

This has been the CCNS News Update.  For more information and to make a tax-deductible contribution, please visit our website at http://www.nuclearactive.org.

 

ABQ Journal: Photos show cracked LANL container at WIPP

For those interested, the video of the WIPP containers is at:
http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/NMED/Issues/WIPP_photos/Phase_3_Activity_8__Medium%20video.mov

The photos are at (MAPS and PHOTOS):
http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/NMED/Issues/WIPP2014Docs.html

and at wipp.energy.gov

ACTION ALERT

Please contact your elected officials and request an independent investigation of the radiation release at WIPP.

 

Photos show cracked LANL container at WIPP

By Albuquerque Journal Staff and Wire
PUBLISHED: Friday, May 16, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Federal officials say a radiation leak at the government’s troubled nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico has been linked to waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Officials Friday said pictures from the latest entry into the half-mile deep Waste Isolation Pilot Project confirm that a container from Los Alamos has a cracked lid and evidence of heat damage.

Officials last week said the leak was likely caused by a chemical reaction in nuclear waste that was mixed with nitrate salt. Among the possibilities that officials have since confirmed are being studied: a switch in the type of kitty litter used to absorb moisture before the containers are sealed and shipped to WIPP.

The repository has been shuttered since the mysterious release on Feb. 14 contaminated 22 workers with low levels or radiation.

The federal Department of Energy provided this statement:

“Since the February 14 radiological release, the Department and its Waste Isolation Pilot Plant have been working deliberately to safely determine the cause of the release. The team that entered the underground facility yesterday was able to get additional visual evidence that shows a damaged waste container, identified as one from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

“`In the new pictures, the LANL container has a cracked lid and shows evidence of heat damage. Workers will continue investigating to determine what caused the container breach and if any other containers were involved or damaged,’” said a DOE spokesperson.

LANL director Charles McMillan sent a message to all lab personnel Friday afternoon.

It says: “I’d like to bring you up to speed on the latest developments related to the radiological incident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plan (WIPP) in Carlsbad, N.M. Last evening, we were notified that photographic evidence collected from yesterday’s entry into the WIPP showed a potential breach and heat damage to a Los Alamos drum.

“The Laboratory is fully cooperating with WIPP, the Department of Energy (DOE), and the State of New Mexico. My top priority – and the top priority of DOE – is to ensure the safety of our employees, the community, and the environment.

“Additional Safety Precautions: We have already taken additional precautionary measures to ensure that similar waste drums here at the Lab and those sent to Waste Control Specialists in Texas are in a safe and controlled configuration. Based on this, we do not believe there is any imminent threat to the safety of our employees, the public, or the environment at this time.

“Further Analysis and Investigation: While many details remain unknown, additional investigative work is being planned to pinpoint the cause of the breached drum, the radiological release, and whether other containers were involved in the release. Experts from DOE, WIPP, Los Alamos, and Savannah River National Laboratory are working together to establish the range of possibilities that may have caused this event.

“We will continue to keep you informed as the investigation proceeds.’