Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wildfire Approaches Thousands of Drums with Plutonium-Contaminated Waste at Los Alamos Lab

At least they are not saying "they are safe".

From AP:

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. (AP) — A wildfire near the desert birthplace of the atomic bomb advanced on the Los Alamos laboratory and thousands of outdoor drums of plutonium-contaminated waste Tuesday as authorities stepped up efforts to protect the site and monitor the air for radiation.

Officials at the nation's premier nuclear-weapons lab gave assurances that dangerous materials were safely stored and capable of withstanding flames from the 95-square-mile fire, which at one point was as close as 50 feet from the grounds.

A small patch of land at the laboratory caught fire Monday before firefighters quickly put it out. Teams were on alert to pounce on any new blazes and spent the day removing brush and low-hanging tree limbs from the lab's perimeter.

"We are throwing absolutely everything at this that we got," Democratic Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said in Los Alamos.

The fire has forced the evacuation of the entire city of Los Alamos, population 11,000, cast giant plumes of smoke over the region and raised fears among nuclear watchdogs that it will reach as many as 30,000 55-gallon drums of plutonium-contaminated waste.

"The concern is that these drums will get so hot that they'll burst. That would put this toxic material into the plume. It's a concern for everybody," said Joni Arends, executive director of the Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety, an anti-nuclear group.

Arends' organization also worried that the fire could stir up nuclear-contaminated soil on lab property where experiments were conducted years ago. Burrowing animals have brought that contamination to the surface, she said.

Lab officials said there was very little risk of the fire reaching the drums of low-level nuclear waste, since the flames would have to jump through canyons first. Officials also stood ready to coat the drums with fire-resistant foam if the blaze got too close.

Lab spokeswoman Lisa Rosendorf said the drums contain Cold War-era waste that the lab sends away in weekly shipments for storage. She said the drums were on a paved area with few trees nearby. As of midday Tuesday, the flames were about two miles from the material.

"These drums are designed to a safety standard that would withstand a wildland fire worse than this one," Rosendorf said.


Anonymous said...

"These drums are designed to a safety standard that would blah, blah, blah .."

Niigata said...

Totally agree with you, that's exactly the phrase that made ​​me think:

Ouch .... it sucks, we can begin to run ...

Anonymous said...

The two most common elements capable of severe destruction--fire, water-- and the nuke industry geniuses can't seem to get their heads around that.

Anonymous said...

I'm telling you, from all the stuff I've been reading across the internet on nuclear activities, the industry truly seems to be a refuge, a gathering place, for psychopaths, fools with impossible grudges against civilisation and a common interest in money at any cost.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
I'm telling you, from all the stuff I've been reading across the internet on nuclear activities, the industry truly seems to be a refuge, a gathering place, for psychopaths, fools with impossible grudges against civilisation and a common interest in money at any cost.

I second that !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Los Alamos Fire: EPA Testing for Radiation

".. air monitors, along with a special airplane that checks for radiation levels. So far officials have not been able to find anything.

"It contains approximately 20,000 barrels of nuclear waste," former top security official Glen Walp said. "It's not contained within a concrete, brick and mortar-type building, but rather in a sort of fabric-type building that a fire could easily consume.

"Potential is high for a major calamity if the fire would reach these areas," he added. "

EPA is also 'studying' fracking, allowed use of Corexit in the Gulf (ordered to). Reassuring?

Anonymous said...

After having read [i]Atomic Harvest[/i] about Hanford Nuclear Reservation and its description of Dept. of Energy devoting the majority of its funding to cleaning up Cold War mistakes and worthless PR, evidently DOE hasn't changed its tune at all,

".. the Department of Energy (DOE) has been scrambling to delay a Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (DNFSB) report about a potential major threat to public safety posed by plutonium at the Los Alamos National Laboratory .."

"Yet, a year later, DOE and Los Alamos had done nothing in response to the analysts’ findings that more than 2500 rem could be released in the event of an earthquake and resultant fire. Instead, .."

La terra non ha uscite di emergenza. said...


Radionuclide Activity Concentrations in Conifer Trees at the
Los Alamos National Laboratory
Internal Report
G. J. Gonzales, C. M. Bare, P. J. Valerio, and S. F. Mee
Contaminant Concentrations
in Conifer Tree Bark and
Wood Following the Cerro
Grande Fire
The ecological footprint: Los Alamos National Laboratory
Marla K. Maltin,
Thomas P. Starke
Article first published online: 23 JAN 2003
Soil Cleanup at Los Alamos National Laboratory:
Sediment Contamination in the South Fork of Acid Canyon

Migration of plutonium in ground water at the Nevada Test Site
A. B. Kersting1, D. W. Efurd2, D. L. Finnegan2, D. J. Rokop2, D. K. Smith1 & J. L. Thompson2

Mechanism of Plutonium Transport in a Shallow Aquifer in Mortandad Canyon, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico
Richard C. Marty,*† Deborah Bennett,‡ and Philip Thullen‡
5075 North 51st Street, Boulder, Colorado 80301, and Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico 87545
Environ. Sci. Technol., 1997, 31 (7), pp 2020–2027
DOI: 10.1021/es960817l

Mobility of plutonium and americium through a shallow aquifer in a semiarid region
William R. Penrose, Wilfred L. Polzer, Edward H. Essington, Donald M. Nelson, Kent A. Orlandini
Environ. Sci. Technol., 1990, 24 (2), pp 228–234
DOI: 10.1021/es00072a012

Transport and deposition of plutonium-contaminated sediments by fluvial processes, Los Alamos Canyon, New Mexico
William L. Graf1

Mass loading of soil particles on a pasture grass

J. E. Pinder, III , K. W. McLeod, R. F. Lide* and K. C. Sherrod
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, South Carolina 29801, USA

The uptake of radionuclides by beans, squash, and corn growing in contaminated alluvial soils at Los Alamos national laboratory
P.R. Fresqueza, D.R. Armstronga, M.A. Mullena & L. Naranjo Jr.a
pages 99-121
Available online: 21 Nov 2008

Comparative distribution of plutonium in contaminated ecosystems at Oak Ridge, Tennessee and Los Alamos, New Mexico

Concentrations of Radionuclides and Trace Elements in ...
Concentrations of Radionuclides and Trace. Elements in Environmental Media Around the. Dual-Axis Radiographic Hydrodynamic Test. Facility at Los Alamos ...
Emanation of Tritiated Water from Disposal Sites at Los Alamos ...
di WV Abeele - 1982
Radionuclides disposed of at the Los Alamos National Laboratory include significant amounts ..... C. Daniel and F. S. Wood, Eds.. John Wiley & Sons. Inc.. ...
Soils, Foodstuffs & Biota Monitoring - Los Alamos National Laboratory
Radionuclides in Fish Downstream of Los Alamos National Laboratory After the ....Contaminant Concentrations in Conifer Tree Bark and Wood Following the ... › Environment › Biological Resources -

Anonymous said...

"A representative of Senator Tom Udall's office responded that $360 million has been spent at [Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory] since the Cerro Grande fire in 2000. Some of the money was used for forest thinning around the LANL property."

— JAPAN-EARTHQUAKE-TEPCO — Executives at the Japanese utility behind the nuclear power plant sent into meltdown by the March quake apologize to investors who interrupt the meeting with heckles, yells and outraged questions.

Fort Calhoun June 26
water leaking around the concrete berm surrounding the main transformers.

100% chance of reactor core damage if floodwaters went above 1010 ft. at Ft. Calhoun nuke plant, NRC said in 2010 — River now around 1,007 ft. and expected to rise

River rise of 3 feet would not only cause core damage at Calhoun, Cooper's fuel storage area would also be flooded.

"[Ft. Calhoun] also could shift to secondary backup generators, which are stationed about 22 feet above the worst-case design standard — at an elevation of 1,036 feet, Bannister said."

"Fort Calhoun and Nebraska's other reactor, Cooper Nuclear Station, aren't being factored into the Army Corps of Engineers schedule of dam releases, said Erik Blechinger, corps spokesman.

“Flood-risk reduction is our priority right now,” he said. “We are working closely with OPPD and NPPD, so I would never say that we wouldn't consider adjusting releases, but I can't imagine all the possible scenarios. Currently, there is just no flexibility in the system.”

Sitting above Nebraska's nuclear plants are six upstream dams, part of one of the nation's largest reservoir systems. Failure of any of those dams would send devastating amounts of water downstream."

House committee cuts funding for plutonium lab

".. the committee is seriously concerned with the recent cost growth reported for construction of the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) and the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project,” the committee’s report reads."

Anonymous said...

“After the Dome Fire of 1996, we asked for hardened onsite storage for these drums. They did nothing. Then after the devastating Cerro Grande Fire of 2000 that burned 47,000 acres including 5,000 acres inside LANL, we pressed for it again. They laughed at us and told us that by the time they get the permit to build the hardened storage, all the drums will be offsite. Here we are 11 years later, [ and $360 million later ] 20,000 drums containing plutonium contaminated waste are still sitting stacked three high inside fabric tents .."
["cost overruns"]

".. story of the acid canyon. “During the WWII days, the lab used to dump radioactive fluid literally over the edge of a canyon on the north side of the lab. This area later came to be known as acid canyon,” he said."

".. there are only 1,000 toxic dump sites at Los Alamos .."

Massive Plutonium Bomb Factory Proposed at Los Alamos National Lab

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