CCNS NEWS UPDATE
Runs 9/12/14 through 9/19/14
(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:
* WIPP Recovery Information to be Released Next Week
Information about the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) recovery plans will be released next week at a New Mexico Legislative Committee Meeting on Tuesday, September 16th and at the WIPP Town Hall on Thursday, September 18th, both of which will be held in Carlsbad, New Mexico. It is anticipated recovery would take at least two years following the February 14th release of plutonium and americium from at least one waste container shipped by Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) that exploded in the underground dump for nuclear bomb waste.
On Tuesday, September 16th, the interim Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Committee of the New Mexico Legislature will meet at the Western Commerce Bank Community Room, located at 3010 National Parks Highway in Carlsbad, from 10 am to 5 pm. http://www.nmlegis.gov/lcs/committee_detail.aspx?CommitteeCode=RHMC In the morning, presentations will be made by Dana Bryson, the Department of Energy (DOE) Carlsbad Field Office Deputy Manager, about the status of WIPP, and by Terry Wallace, the LANL Principal Associate Director for Global Security, about the status of LANL.
In the afternoon, presentations will be made by Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, about the environmental response; by Russell Hardy, Director of the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center, New Mexico State University, about the WIPP monitoring; and by Ryan Flynn, Secretary of the state Environment Department, and their consultant, Dr. Ines Triay, about the Environment Department response. Dr. Triay is the former manager of WIPP.
In recent weeks Environment Department Secretary Flynn has expressed frustration with DOE because they have not provided all of the requested information. As a regulator of WIPP and LANL, the Environment Department can impose fines and penalties on both sites. Flynn said that DOE has been muzzling scientists who possess critical information.
On Thursday, September 18th at 5:30 pm MST, the DOE will discuss its WIPP recovery activities, but not release the Recovery Plan, during the bimonthly town hall meeting at the Carlsbad City Hall. It will be webcast at http://new.livestream.com/rrv
The Recovery Plan has been under review by DOE Headquarters for months. Some recovery activities have already taken place, including radiological surveys of the mine floor and putting the waste hoist back into service. Recently, workers began preparations to resume maintenance work on the rock bolts used to hold the ceiling in place, but first they are doing maintenance on the equipment needed to do the work.
Don Hancock, of Southwest Research and Information Center, said, “The WIPP underground cannot be completely decontaminated. The Recovery Plan should describe what DOE deems acceptable levels of cleanup and worker exposure. It should also provide realistic costs and schedules for the proposed activities and be subject to public review.” http://www.sric.org
This has been the CCNS News Update. To learn more, please visit our website at http://www.nuclearactive.org.