ABQ Journal: Photos show cracked LANL container at WIPP

For those interested, the video of the WIPP containers is at:

The photos are at (MAPS and PHOTOS):

and at wipp.energy.gov


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.’



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