Radiation levels spike 7,000% at US nuclear site


AP, Nov. 6, 2014 (emphasis added): A pair of air samplers at [New Mexico’s WIPP] nuclear waste repository detected low levels of radioactive contamination after workers restarted one of the fans… workers took shelter inside buildings before restarting the fan…

Carlsbad Current Argus, Nov. 10, 2014: A new small, but measurable amount of radiation was detected… [Tim Runyon, of WIPP Recovery Communications said] officials were expecting a small radiation leak…

US Dept. of Energy – WIPP Air Sampling for Station B (The amount of radioactivity released into the atmosphere –Source), Nov 6, 2014:

  • Oct. 21-22, 2014: Alpha @ 72 dpm
  • Test results over the previous 6 months have averaged below 1 dpm
  • Levels haven’t been this high since the initial days of the Feb. 14 WIPP disaster

WIPP Town Hall, Nov. 6, 2014:

  • Tammy Reynolds, Nuclear Waste Partnership: On the 21st, we put that fan back in service… We wanted to make sure we were prepared if there were some particles that came lose… We were very pleased with the results… Less than we actually anticipated… much less than any person would ever be… impacted from.
  • Russell Hardy, Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring & Research Center (created by DOE funds): We did see a small amount of Americium-241a few hundred feet from Station B… This filter could have been… folded up and put in someone’s lunch bucket, that’s how small this is… It’s measurable [but] it does not pose any concern to public health. (Public health refers to the population as a whole, not the individual –WHO)

Nuclear Hotseat w/ Libbe HaLevy, Oct 21, 2014 — Don Hancock, Southwest Research & Information Center (at 22:30): Their analysis… showed the starting of that fan, it’s a different fan than the one that’s been operating most recently… could trigger some additional radiation coming out… Because the site is contaminated, there’s constantly the possibility that additional contamination can be released… This is an ongoing problem, and will be… unless the site is closed up… The DOE is proposing many activities that are very likely to release a lot more radioactivity than [the fan restart]… People are correct to be concerned… We’re talking about this going on for years into the future if DOE’s plans are approved.

Watch the WIPP town hall here