Sunday, February 16, 2014

Possible Radiation Leak at WIPP Facility

Reuters reports:
Unusually high levels of radioactive particles were found at an underground nuclear waste site in New Mexico on Saturday in what a spokesman said looked like the first real alarm since the plant opened in 1999.

U.S. officials were testing for radiation in air samples at the site where radioactive waste, such as plutonium used in defense research and nuclear weapon making, is dumped half a mile below ground in an ancient salt formation.

"They (air monitors) have alarmed in the past as a false positive because of malfunctions, or because of fluctuations in levels of radon (a naturally occurring radioactive gas)," Department of Energy spokesman Roger Nelson said.

"But I believe it's safe to say we've never seen a level like we are seeing. We just don't know if it's a real event, but it looks like one," he said.
More information on WIPP at Wikipedia. What the article neglects to point out is the facility was a major source of pork for New Mexico. New Mexico was constantly placing road blocks to construction and opening of the facility based on environmental laws in order to get money for expanding highways and other political pork. Congress finally had to exempt WIPP from RCRA and other environmental laws. A perfect example of why there are no "shovel ready" infrastructure projects in the United States.

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