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Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Lies from LANL Further Endangered The Workers at WIPP

Some great investigative reporting in New Mexico

http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html

Taken together, the documents provide a window into a culture of oversight at the lab that, in the race to clean up the waste, had so broken down that small missteps sometimes led to systemic problems.
Even before the waste was treated at Los Alamos, mistakes had been made that could have been instrumental in causing the accident at WIPP. Emails between WIPP contractors involved in the leak investigation indicate that something as simple as a typographical error in a revision of LANL’s procedural manual for processing waste containing nitrate salts may have precipitated a switch from inorganic clay kitty litter to the organic variety.
And for two years preceding the February incident, the lab refused to allow inspectors conducting annual permitting audits for the New Mexico Environment Department inside the facility where waste was treated. Only since the radiation leak has the Environment Department demanded that it go inside the facility for inspections.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.U7QN1Dse.dpuf

Taken together, the documents provide a window into a culture of oversight at the lab that, in the race to clean up the waste, had so broken down that small missteps sometimes led to systemic problems.
Even before the waste was treated at Los Alamos, mistakes had been made that could have been instrumental in causing the accident at WIPP. Emails between WIPP contractors involved in the leak investigation indicate that something as simple as a typographical error in a revision of LANL’s procedural manual for processing waste containing nitrate salts may have precipitated a switch from inorganic clay kitty litter to the organic variety.
And for two years preceding the February incident, the lab refused to allow inspectors conducting annual permitting audits for the New Mexico Environment Department inside the facility where waste was treated. Only since the radiation leak has the Environment Department demanded that it go inside the facility for inspections.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.U7QN1Dse.dpuf
“This is direct contradiction of DOE/NNSA policy and what we believed in,” Chiou wrote to Franco, Bryson and others. “It is most important that we have the information (regardless official or unofficial) so that we as [the Carlsbad Field Office of the Energy Department] can make better informed decisions as best we could. However, it may not work that way as it seems. … I hope that we can do better in getting relevant information from LANL so we can make a better decision for the WIPP project.”
After a conference call with LANL officials, WIPP decision-makers on May 30 sent workers in protective suits into the room to collect samples. But a June 17 report by LANL personnel based at WIPP found the intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste that were in close proximity to Waste Drum 68660 when it ruptured, calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst.
“[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures caused by the heating of the drums is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”
Keeping secrets
Frustrations over LANL’s reluctance to share what it knew about Waste Drum 68660 had been percolating at WIPP long before the discovery of the memo that suggested the drum contained all the ingredients of a patented plastic explosive.
A May 5 email between WIPP employee James Willison and federal contractor Fran Williams suggested LANL was reluctant to acknowledge the most basic details about what Waste Drum 68660 held.
“LANL used a wheat-based kitty litter rather than clay-based kitty litter as a stabilizer,” Willison wrote. “They fessed up after we nailed down the general area. … At least now we know.”
“Wow,” Williams responded. “How bad is that?”
On paper, the volatile combination of contents inside the drum that burst were not evident to experts who reviewed them because they were not included in the list of ingredients Los Alamos is required to generate for regulatory purposes and to assure the waste is stable enough to be accepted at WIPP.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.OyAxVRJE.dpuf
“This is direct contradiction of DOE/NNSA policy and what we believed in,” Chiou wrote to Franco, Bryson and others. “It is most important that we have the information (regardless official or unofficial) so that we as [the Carlsbad Field Office of the Energy Department] can make better informed decisions as best we could. However, it may not work that way as it seems. … I hope that we can do better in getting relevant information from LANL so we can make a better decision for the WIPP project.”
After a conference call with LANL officials, WIPP decision-makers on May 30 sent workers in protective suits into the room to collect samples. But a June 17 report by LANL personnel based at WIPP found the intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste that were in close proximity to Waste Drum 68660 when it ruptured, calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst.
“[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures caused by the heating of the drums is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”
Keeping secrets
Frustrations over LANL’s reluctance to share what it knew about Waste Drum 68660 had been percolating at WIPP long before the discovery of the memo that suggested the drum contained all the ingredients of a patented plastic explosive.
A May 5 email between WIPP employee James Willison and federal contractor Fran Williams suggested LANL was reluctant to acknowledge the most basic details about what Waste Drum 68660 held.
“LANL used a wheat-based kitty litter rather than clay-based kitty litter as a stabilizer,” Willison wrote. “They fessed up after we nailed down the general area. … At least now we know.”
“Wow,” Williams responded. “How bad is that?”
On paper, the volatile combination of contents inside the drum that burst were not evident to experts who reviewed them because they were not included in the list of ingredients Los Alamos is required to generate for regulatory purposes and to assure the waste is stable enough to be accepted at WIPP.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.OyAxVRJE.dpuf
“This is direct contradiction of DOE/NNSA policy and what we believed in,” Chiou wrote to Franco, Bryson and others. “It is most important that we have the information (regardless official or unofficial) so that we as [the Carlsbad Field Office of the Energy Department] can make better informed decisions as best we could. However, it may not work that way as it seems. … I hope that we can do better in getting relevant information from LANL so we can make a better decision for the WIPP project.”
After a conference call with LANL officials, WIPP decision-makers on May 30 sent workers in protective suits into the room to collect samples. But a June 17 report by LANL personnel based at WIPP found the intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste that were in close proximity to Waste Drum 68660 when it ruptured, calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst.
“[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures caused by the heating of the drums is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”
Keeping secrets
Frustrations over LANL’s reluctance to share what it knew about Waste Drum 68660 had been percolating at WIPP long before the discovery of the memo that suggested the drum contained all the ingredients of a patented plastic explosive.
A May 5 email between WIPP employee James Willison and federal contractor Fran Williams suggested LANL was reluctant to acknowledge the most basic details about what Waste Drum 68660 held.
“LANL used a wheat-based kitty litter rather than clay-based kitty litter as a stabilizer,” Willison wrote. “They fessed up after we nailed down the general area. … At least now we know.”
“Wow,” Williams responded. “How bad is that?”
On paper, the volatile combination of contents inside the drum that burst were not evident to experts who reviewed them because they were not included in the list of ingredients Los Alamos is required to generate for regulatory purposes and to assure the waste is stable enough to be accepted at WIPP.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.OyAxVRJE.dpuf
“This is direct contradiction of DOE/NNSA policy and what we believed in,” Chiou wrote to Franco, Bryson and others. “It is most important that we have the information (regardless official or unofficial) so that we as [the Carlsbad Field Office of the Energy Department] can make better informed decisions as best we could. However, it may not work that way as it seems. … I hope that we can do better in getting relevant information from LANL so we can make a better decision for the WIPP project.”
After a conference call with LANL officials, WIPP decision-makers on May 30 sent workers in protective suits into the room to collect samples. But a June 17 report by LANL personnel based at WIPP found the intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste that were in close proximity to Waste Drum 68660 when it ruptured, calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst.
“[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures caused by the heating of the drums is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”
Keeping secrets
Frustrations over LANL’s reluctance to share what it knew about Waste Drum 68660 had been percolating at WIPP long before the discovery of the memo that suggested the drum contained all the ingredients of a patented plastic explosive.
A May 5 email between WIPP employee James Willison and federal contractor Fran Williams suggested LANL was reluctant to acknowledge the most basic details about what Waste Drum 68660 held.
“LANL used a wheat-based kitty litter rather than clay-based kitty litter as a stabilizer,” Willison wrote. “They fessed up after we nailed down the general area. … At least now we know.”
“Wow,” Williams responded. “How bad is that?”
On paper, the volatile combination of contents inside the drum that burst were not evident to experts who reviewed them because they were not included in the list of ingredients Los Alamos is required to generate for regulatory purposes and to assure the waste is stable enough to be accepted at WIPP.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.OyAxVRJE.dpuf
“This is direct contradiction of DOE/NNSA policy and what we believed in,” Chiou wrote to Franco, Bryson and others. “It is most important that we have the information (regardless official or unofficial) so that we as [the Carlsbad Field Office of the Energy Department] can make better informed decisions as best we could. However, it may not work that way as it seems. … I hope that we can do better in getting relevant information from LANL so we can make a better decision for the WIPP project.”
After a conference call with LANL officials, WIPP decision-makers on May 30 sent workers in protective suits into the room to collect samples. But a June 17 report by LANL personnel based at WIPP found the intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste that were in close proximity to Waste Drum 68660 when it ruptured, calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst.
“[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures caused by the heating of the drums is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”
Keeping secrets
Frustrations over LANL’s reluctance to share what it knew about Waste Drum 68660 had been percolating at WIPP long before the discovery of the memo that suggested the drum contained all the ingredients of a patented plastic explosive.
A May 5 email between WIPP employee James Willison and federal contractor Fran Williams suggested LANL was reluctant to acknowledge the most basic details about what Waste Drum 68660 held.
“LANL used a wheat-based kitty litter rather than clay-based kitty litter as a stabilizer,” Willison wrote. “They fessed up after we nailed down the general area. … At least now we know.”
“Wow,” Williams responded. “How bad is that?”
On paper, the volatile combination of contents inside the drum that burst were not evident to experts who reviewed them because they were not included in the list of ingredients Los Alamos is required to generate for regulatory purposes and to assure the waste is stable enough to be accepted at WIPP.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.OyAxVRJE.dpuf
“This is direct contradiction of DOE/NNSA policy and what we believed in,” Chiou wrote to Franco, Bryson and others. “It is most important that we have the information (regardless official or unofficial) so that we as [the Carlsbad Field Office of the Energy Department] can make better informed decisions as best we could. However, it may not work that way as it seems. … I hope that we can do better in getting relevant information from LANL so we can make a better decision for the WIPP project.”
After a conference call with LANL officials, WIPP decision-makers on May 30 sent workers in protective suits into the room to collect samples. But a June 17 report by LANL personnel based at WIPP found the intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste that were in close proximity to Waste Drum 68660 when it ruptured, calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst.
“[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures caused by the heating of the drums is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”
Keeping secrets
Frustrations over LANL’s reluctance to share what it knew about Waste Drum 68660 had been percolating at WIPP long before the discovery of the memo that suggested the drum contained all the ingredients of a patented plastic explosive.
A May 5 email between WIPP employee James Willison and federal contractor Fran Williams suggested LANL was reluctant to acknowledge the most basic details about what Waste Drum 68660 held.
“LANL used a wheat-based kitty litter rather than clay-based kitty litter as a stabilizer,” Willison wrote. “They fessed up after we nailed down the general area. … At least now we know.”
“Wow,” Williams responded. “How bad is that?”
On paper, the volatile combination of contents inside the drum that burst were not evident to experts who reviewed them because they were not included in the list of ingredients Los Alamos is required to generate for regulatory purposes and to assure the waste is stable enough to be accepted at WIPP.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.OyAxVRJE.dpuf
“This is direct contradiction of DOE/NNSA policy and what we believed in,” Chiou wrote to Franco, Bryson and others. “It is most important that we have the information (regardless official or unofficial) so that we as [the Carlsbad Field Office of the Energy Department] can make better informed decisions as best we could. However, it may not work that way as it seems. … I hope that we can do better in getting relevant information from LANL so we can make a better decision for the WIPP project.”
After a conference call with LANL officials, WIPP decision-makers on May 30 sent workers in protective suits into the room to collect samples. But a June 17 report by LANL personnel based at WIPP found the intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste that were in close proximity to Waste Drum 68660 when it ruptured, calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst.
“[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures caused by the heating of the drums is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”
Keeping secrets
Frustrations over LANL’s reluctance to share what it knew about Waste Drum 68660 had been percolating at WIPP long before the discovery of the memo that suggested the drum contained all the ingredients of a patented plastic explosive.
A May 5 email between WIPP employee James Willison and federal contractor Fran Williams suggested LANL was reluctant to acknowledge the most basic details about what Waste Drum 68660 held.
“LANL used a wheat-based kitty litter rather than clay-based kitty litter as a stabilizer,” Willison wrote. “They fessed up after we nailed down the general area. … At least now we know.”
“Wow,” Williams responded. “How bad is that?”
On paper, the volatile combination of contents inside the drum that burst were not evident to experts who reviewed them because they were not included in the list of ingredients Los Alamos is required to generate for regulatory purposes and to assure the waste is stable enough to be accepted at WIPP.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.OyAxVRJE.dpuf
“This is direct contradiction of DOE/NNSA policy and what we believed in,” Chiou wrote to Franco, Bryson and others. “It is most important that we have the information (regardless official or unofficial) so that we as [the Carlsbad Field Office of the Energy Department] can make better informed decisions as best we could. However, it may not work that way as it seems. … I hope that we can do better in getting relevant information from LANL so we can make a better decision for the WIPP project.”
After a conference call with LANL officials, WIPP decision-makers on May 30 sent workers in protective suits into the room to collect samples. But a June 17 report by LANL personnel based at WIPP found the intense underground flare may have destabilized up to 55 more drums of waste that were in close proximity to Waste Drum 68660 when it ruptured, calling into question whether they, too, had become poised to burst.
“[The high heat event] may have dried out some of the unreacted oxidizer-organic mixtures increasing their potential for spontaneous reaction,” the report said. “The dehydration of the fuel-oxidizer mixtures caused by the heating of the drums is recognized as a condition known to increase the potential for reaction.”
Keeping secrets
Frustrations over LANL’s reluctance to share what it knew about Waste Drum 68660 had been percolating at WIPP long before the discovery of the memo that suggested the drum contained all the ingredients of a patented plastic explosive.
A May 5 email between WIPP employee James Willison and federal contractor Fran Williams suggested LANL was reluctant to acknowledge the most basic details about what Waste Drum 68660 held.
“LANL used a wheat-based kitty litter rather than clay-based kitty litter as a stabilizer,” Willison wrote. “They fessed up after we nailed down the general area. … At least now we know.”
“Wow,” Williams responded. “How bad is that?”
On paper, the volatile combination of contents inside the drum that burst were not evident to experts who reviewed them because they were not included in the list of ingredients Los Alamos is required to generate for regulatory purposes and to assure the waste is stable enough to be accepted at WIPP.
- See more at: http://www.lasg.org/press/2014/SFNM_16Nov2014.html#sthash.OyAxVRJE.dpuf

2 comments:

  1. The total lack of accountability is infuriating!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Well today the feds bitch slapped LANL, instead of letting them make $65M profit, they reduced it to $6M

    Shareholders take note, it is no longer safe to own radiation related stocks.

    ReplyDelete

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