What’s Leaking From the Nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Program
Located near Carlsbad, New Mexico this Department of Energy (DOE) experimental nuclear waste dump is attempting to store leftover radioactive plutonium and americium from the US weapons program. On February 14, 2014 there was a nuclear safety failure at the site and the Department of Energy is not being honest about it. In this film Fairewinds Energy Education’s Arnie Gundersen pieces together what happened and points out Fairewinds’ major concerns about the facility, the accident, and the lack of transparency at the DOE.
US Gov’t: Never faced challenge like this, but “not giving up hope” at WIPP; Salt from contaminated mine to be sold as feed to dairy farms — TV: “Residents flat out concerned for their safety”; “I want to believe them… but I don’t” — Reuters: ‘Falling slabs’ may have breached waste drums (VIDEO)
Subsidence concerns at WIPP nuclear dump — Over 100 operating oil and gas wells within mile of site, a ‘very active’ area — Reserves ‘directly underneath’ buried waste — Fracking to take place nearby? (VIDEO)
“WIPP release story doesn’t add up… accident is unbelievable” — New tests show “high level” release underground — “Contains things far more radioactive than High Level Waste” — “I want to hear what really happened down there” (VIDEO)
WIPP Expert: Nuclear waste is getting out above ground — Plutonium / Americium found in “every single worker” on site when leak began — New Mexico officials ‘totally unsatisfied’ with lack of info from Feds — “We don’t know how far away it’s gone” — Continuing threat for long time to come (AUDIO)
Robot to probe underground at WIPP
Major Nuclear Dump Has Leaked, But Does US Gov’t Have a Plan B?
Experts warn that troubled repository does not bode well for U.S. strategy for disposal of waste from nuclear weapons development
The BBC’s Jane O’Brien takes an underground tour of the nuclear waste site before the radiation leak
A recent radiation leak at America’s only nuclear waste repository threatens the future of waste storage in the country. But leaders in the city of Carlsbad, New Mexico, still want their area to be a destination for America’s radioactive history.
Carlsbad works underground.
On the road into the city, derricks pump oil from deep in the Earth.
Residents go to work mining potash, a raw material used in fertiliser. Others give tours at Carlsbad Caverns National Park.
And some of Carlsbad’s underground workers make a half-mile (0.8km) journey into the earth not to take from the ground, but to bury the wastes of human invention.
This is WIPP, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, the only long-term geologic repository for nuclear waste in the United States.
WIPP opened in south-eastern New Mexico in 1999
While other locales across the US have fought mightily to prevent the establishment of similar operations, almost all of Carlsbad is sanguine about the storage of nuclear materials just a 40-minute drive from the centre of town.
That confidence has been tested this month after a radiation leak and the initial report 13 workers had tested positive for radioactive contamination.
And as the only permanent storage facility for nuclear waste, problems at WIPP create problems for the larger US nuclear defence complex, including delays of already scheduled shipments from around the country.
But it is the first serious incident in WIPP’s history, and Carlsbad still appears to have confidence, albeit slightly shaken, in the site.
In fact, town officials are hoping their corner of New Mexico can be the home of even more nuclear waste.
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New Mexico sets deadlines for handling WIPP nuke waste
ALBUQUERQUE – The federal government’s only underground nuclear waste dump remained shuttered Monday and state environment officials said they have set deadlines for the U.S. Department of Energy and its contractor to deal with radioactive waste left above ground at the repository.Dozens of drums and other special containers that have been shipped to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant from federal facilities around the country are being stored in a parking area at the plant and inside the facility’s waste handling building.
From there, the waste is usually taken to its final resting place deep in underground salt beds. However, the repository has been closed since early February due to back-to-back accidents, including a radiation release that exposed at least 13 workers and set off air monitoring devices around the plant.
Under its permit with the state, the dump can keep waste stored in the parking area for only 30 days and up to 60 days in the handling building. Due to the closure, the state is extending those deadlines to 60 days and 105 days, respectively. The federal government would have to develop an alternative storage plan if the underground dump remains off-limits for more than three months.
The Environment Department outlined the deadlines, along with requirements for weekly reports and a mandatory inspection before operations resume, in an administrative order made public Monday.
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