Inaction following the first radioactive leak at the worlds only deep geologic nuclear waste repository was threatening to stamp the most successful government program in history with an undeserved scarlet letter. Fortunately, the State of New Mexico, Los Alamos National Laboratory and the U.S. Department of Energy have moved fast, realizing that time is not our friend in this situation.
Recall that the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, the only operating geologic nuclear waste repository, had its first minor accident on Valentines Day after 15 years of perfect operations (NMED). It was a small release of radiation that did not, and will not, harm anyone or have any environmental consequence.
Those of us studying this issue figured since it happened at WIPP, it must be a WIPP problem, so we thought about what could go wrong with the rock or with the way WIPP operates. But WIPP was not the problem at all. The problem was what came to WIPP ( Kitty Litter). Some drums slowly got hot, and one blew its top, because of what was in them.
May 25, 2014
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