Sunday, 23 February 2014

Radiation leak in New Mexico

* BREAKING NEWS * Ceiling Collapse from Possible Explosion and Fire in New Mexico Nuke Storage Facility; Barrels of Nuclear Waste Smashed and Leaking

21 February, 2014

February 21, 2014 -- (TRN) -- *** BREAKING NEWS *** -- Carlsbad, NM --  New Information from lab tests and US Department of Energy (DOE) Reports indicate the actual release of radiation from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad, NM was 14,400 times more than previously thought, with eleven thousand Bequerels per cubic meter of Plutonium -239 and Americium-241 released into the air. In addition, a photo from the WIPP shows smoke coming from an exhaust vent indicating there may be an underground fire which the DOE is not yet in control of.

A source who has been proven to have credible inside information about the WIPP has confirmed seeing a photo showing SMOKE coming from a shaft at the WIPP site which is NOT supposed to have smoke. TRN takes this to mean there is a fire burning underground at the WIPP and that DOE does not have Air Flow Control over the underground fire. DOE reportedly has attempted to shut off air flow into the mine. Since this effort does not appear to have been 100% successful, we see a risk of a "backdraft" induced explosion occurring at the site.  DOE air filtration safety systems are NOT designed to survive an explosion.
Persons in, near and NORTH of the WIPP Plant in Carlsbad should be wearing NIOSH-Certified P-100 filter masks if they go outside and may want to THINK ABOUT preparing to evacuate.  It is not unreasonable to get some things together and prepare to "bug-out."  Officials at the WIPP said today "This is a very serious thing."
Officials at the WIPP have said they believe a large section of an underground roof collapsed in the underground facility storing radioactive waste from nuclear warheads, smashing barrels full of nuclear waste and allowing large amounts of radioactive material to spill.  Officials confirm that radiation levels in the underground facility are too high for anyone to go in to see exactly what happened, but they are now speculating that a "seismic event" may have had a hand in this accident.  They have not discussed the appearance of smoke from an exhaust vent, but have repeatedly told the public there is no danger.  This assertion does not match the facts on the ground.
New information obtained from lab test results indicate people on site in New Mexico were inhaling AT LEAST 1 TRILLION Plutonium atoms every 3.6 hours, based on a measurement taken 1/2 Mile away. Further, an analysis of government records indicates the source was likely an underground radioactive explosion caused by Radiation induced off-gassing of Hydrogen, Methane, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC's) produced by highly radioactive wastes mixed in with hazardous wastes.

Based upon the admission by DOE that lab tests found 0.092 Bq/M3 of Plutonium and 0.64 Bq/M3 of Americium on an air filter which recorded for FIVE WHOLE DAYS, in order for the filter to have had that much radioactive material on it, the WIPP likely released a combined Plutonium and Americium Radioactive Cloud measuring approximately 10,541 Becquerels per Cubic Meter of Air during the supposedly "brief moments" that unfiltered air was being released from the WIPP facility. We took "brief moments" to mean 30 seconds.

Obviously this value is significantly higher than what has been reported to the public. The massive low ball 'error' in reported values stems from the fact that air filter sampling measurements are averaged over the entire time period since the air filter was last checked. The filter in question had been sampling from 2/11/14 - 2/16/14, a total of 5 days over which the calculated released values would have been smoothed across.

However, according to public officials DOE's filtering system kicked in very quickly after the alarms went off. Assuming that to be truthful, the radioactive release of Plutonium and Americium would have occurred over a relatively short 30 second period (OR LESS).

Ratioing-out the actual 30 second  interval release of radioactive contamination vs the 5 days over which it was mathematically "smoothed out," the result is that the contamination was nearly 14,400 times greater than was reported to the public. How such an engineering blunder of time-unit-mismatch occurred, we'll leave to the reader to ponder; but don't discount that values and units may have been erroneously assumed on either their part or our part.
Nonetheless, for risk mitigation purpose the 10,541 Becquerel measurement is what we go by. TRN does not consider the current situation either safe or stable. The source of the radiation alarm was reported to be Panel Room 7.  WIPP's permitting documents indicate that Room 7 is where explosive gases are expected to be at their highest concentrations. All indications are that this was a radiation induced explosion of  Hydrogen, Methane, and/or VOC produced from radioactive wastes which are too radioactive to handle, which also happen to be coated with hazardous waste.

It is within DOE's power to release the raw data and let the facts fall where they may, but don't expect that to happen.
We don't think it is coincidence that DOE originally reported there was 'no release' yet prevented people from going on site to recover air measurement filters. If there was "no release" why keep everyone out?   Again, DOE's words do not match their actions; they say there's no danger, but they won't let anyone in the place.   The recovery delay serves to reduce the total reported amount of contamination as those values are averaged over the entire time period the test filters are sampling.

The locations of greatest airborne danger is a swath of the United States directly North and West of the WIPP plant. Airflow patterns during the event concentrated and directed the radioactive dispersal toward Colorado, normal weather patterns would have then dumped the Fallout over the Midwest Farm Belt.
WIPP officials admitted today that High levels of both alpha and beta radiation have been detected.  Officials said bluntly "this is a very serious thing."
State leaders are not happy that it took several days for the US Department of Energy (DOE) to share news of the contamination that escaped to the outside air. “I expect that information will be shared with the state in real time. And I will demand that the federal officials share information with the public in real time,” said Ryan Flynn, secretary of the New Mexico Environment Department (pictured at left).
A radiation leak inside the underground mine itself was detected by sensors late last Friday. The next morning, contamination was detected in the air outside the mine. It took several days for the news to reach state officials.  “That should have never happened. They should have been notified immediately and DOE, the Carlsbad office manager, has that responsibility and we’ll make sure that does not happen again,” said Joe Franco, manager of the DOE Carlsbad office. (Pictured at right below)
 No one has gone below the surface since the event, so officials can only hypothesize about what happened

Drums of radioactive waste are piled up in stacks underground and one of the working theories right now is that a big slab of the roof broke free, hit the stack, knocked some drums off and smashed and opened one or more of them.
The DOE says it will be at least two or three weeks before crews try to re-enter the WIPP and that will only be when they can do so safely.
In the meantime, information released by the DOE at a press briefing shows that radiation levels in the air around the WIPP plant reached 37 Becquerels per cubic meter (37Be M3) over a one-week average.  This means that the actual release of radiation when the accident began was FOURTEEN-THOUSAND FOUR-HUNDRED TIMES MORE than presently being reported!
That said, it now appears the US Government is about as forthcoming about this situation as the Japanese Government is about the Fukushima situation.  Lies, delays, and more lies.  Residents in the area should PRESS for answers.

Elevated Radiation Found in Air near New Mexico Nuclear Waste Site

20 February, 2014

Testing of surface air near an underground nuclear waste site in New Mexico's desert showed elevated levels of radiation but did not pose a threat to humans or the environment, a U.S. Department of Energy official said on Thursday.

Trace amounts of man-made radioactive elements such as plutonium were found at an air-monitoring site half a mile from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and are tied to a radiation leak in the underground salt formation where waste from defense research and nuclear weapons production is stored, said Joe Franco, manager of an Energy Department field office that oversees the plant.

Energy officials said over the weekend that there was no apparent surface air contamination from the accidental release of radiation that caused an air-monitoring alarm below ground to go off about 11:30 p.m. local time on Friday. That was the first such mishap since the facility opened in 1999.

The plant, located in southeastern New Mexico near Carlsbad, is a repository for so-called transuranic waste shipped from other federal nuclear laboratories and weapons sites. The waste includes discarded machinery, clothing and other materials contaminated with plutonium or other radioisotopes heavier than uranium.

No workers were underground when high levels of radioactive particles were detected in the vicinity of one of the plant's waste-disposal platforms and none of the 139 employees working above ground were exposed to contamination, Energy Department officials said.

They initially said a filtration system designed to remove 99.97 percent of contaminants had prevented radiation from reaching the surface and extensive early testing of air and surfaces above ground showed no radioactive particles associated with the accident.

Airborne radioisotopes can be harmful if inhaled or swallowed. Franco said the minute amounts detected above ground posed no threat to people or the environment but an investigation was ongoing.

"Even though it's well below levels established by the EPA to ensure protection of public health, it's a very serious thing," he said at a news conference Thursday afternoon. "WIPP is not intended to be in this kind of condition."

Secretary of New Mexico Environment Department Ryan Flynn said the state would be conducting a parallel probe into the incident.

"Radiation is simply not supposed to be released outside this facility. It's not supposed to be released inside the underground. Any type of release is unacceptable and disconcerting," he said.

Inbound waste shipments had already been suspended at the site since an underground truck caught fire earlier this month.

No one has been below ground since the release was detected last week and it may be several weeks before teams are allowed in the ancient salt formation to determine the source of the leak, said Franco. Just a few dozen essential personnel, including security offices, remain at the site.

Franco said indications suggest a drum or drums containing radioactive waste may have breached for reasons that are not yet known.

Radiation levels have steadily decreased underground, suggesting the release was a one-time event, said Franco.

The facility in the Chihuahuan Desert normally receives up to 6,000 cubic meters of radioactive waste a year and employs more than 800 government workers and contractors.

It was unclear on Thursday whether waste intended for the repository would be shipped elsewhere and when the plant would resume operations.

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