Unfiltered plutonium release at WIPP for at least 20 days.

Enenews has a story today which includes a summary of a presentation by Ted Wyka, chairman of Department of Energy’s Accident Investigation Board, at yesterday’s WIPP town hall meeting. A video of the meeting is available here.

Wyka was delivering a summary of a 300-page report which was released today in this large pdf.

Starting around the 1:04 mark in the video, Wyka says the bypass dampers of the ventilation system, which bypass the Station A filter, was the main source of the leak. This bypass system is left over from the initial excavation of the mine. It should have been removed when they starting putting transuranic waste in the mine.

Instead, it was leaking americium and plutonium until March 6, when workers applied foam and blocked the bypassing system.

Here is a quote from Dr. Peter Winokur, Chairman of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, in a letter to New Mexico Senators Udall and Heinrich:

Significant improvements in the safety strategy for WIPP are warranted to
address design basis accidents that lead to radiation releases. For example, neither the filtered ventilation system nor the underground air monitor that triggered the ventilation system to switch to filtered mode is a credited safety system. In fact, for six days after the fire, no underground air monitors were operational. Had there been a failure on February 14 of the air monitor or filtered ventilation system, or if the release event had occurred three days earlier, the release of radioactive material from the aboveground mine exhaust would have been orders of magnitude larger.
(emphasis mine)

For those who don’t know, an order of magnitude is a power of ten. So:

One order of magnitude larger = 10 times larger
Two orders of magnitude larger = 100 times larger
Three orders of magnitude larger = 1,000 times larger
Four orders of magnitude larger = 10,000 times larger

And so on. Since there was a failure of the ventilation system, then according to Winokur, the plutonium and americium release would have been at least 100 times larger than we have been told. Maybe even thousands of times larger.

Now, according to the Wyka report, the exhaust air from the bypass dampers would have been routed through Station B, which contains filters that are used to test for the presence of radionuclides. (It doesn’t block or filter the exhaust, though.) So the plutonium and americium from the unblocked stream of contaminated air should have shown up at Station B.

But the Station A and B results show that the concentrations of americium and plutonium are consistent with the exhaust blowing through Station A, with its HEPA filter removing 99.97% of these particles, and this reduction was reflected in Station B, which measures what leaked out into the environment. In fact, this fact was touted as giving evidence that the ventilation system was working properly.

Where is the unblocked plutonium???

It sounds to me like, there is either another hole that the exhaust came up through, or the Station B results are fabricated.

This whole thing is a result of gross negligence and incompetence on the part of the Department of Energy, and its contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership. On top of it, they exhibit gross mendacity, lying about radiation, like Tepco does.

13 thoughts on “Unfiltered plutonium release at WIPP for at least 20 days.

  1. There was a “green burst”, arcing and popping noise at the WIPP utility substation prior to the underground CAM going off with the radiation detection.

    • Quote of lam335: “So what exactly is the connection between the “arcing” and “popping” noises at the “utility substation” and the incident down in the mine? I wouldn’t think that rad monitors simply detecting readings off their scale would cause a nearby substation to arc and pop; I would think they would just either stop working or indicate an off-scale reading (or maybe just show an erroneous reading). Is the implication that whatever happened down there (explosion/roof collapse) damaged the circuitry of some electrical system in the mine and this in turn caused the problems at the “utility substation”?”

      . quoted from: http://enenews.com/govt-report-green-burst-reported-wipp-utility-yard-minutes-before-radiation-event-began-popping-noise-heard-facility-manager/comment-page-1#comment-511558

      Quote of mt1000: “WIPP 2014 permit modifications …

      . quoted from: http://enenews.com/wall-st-journal-containment-system-leaked-wipp-site-released-radiation-environment-ap-contamination-escaped-bypass-filtration-system-board-chairman-allowed-unfiltered-leakage-air-above-ground-vi/comment-page-1#comment-511391

      later Quote of jec: “1000 REMS per hour waste stored in WIPP!! Read the government documents from DOE. Was anyone aware they had OKAYED “remote handled” radioactive materials–not to exceed a surface dose rate of 1000 REMS per hour for WIPP? 1000 REMS per hour?? And other documents discuss measurements in 200 millrems per hour or GREATER. Since 5 REMS is the MAX dose rate for workers for a YEAR..go figure out what was stuck in WIPP!!! Wonder if anyone from the State of New Mexico was involved or knew?….”

      later Quote of jec: “Anyone worried about VENTING the containers (every 30 days to prevent explosions) down in the panel rooms of WIPP? No workers down there to do that..an accident just waiting to happen!!
      “workers will perform work on surface such as cleaning the waste hoist tower, which has not been cleaned since the fire”, Comments welcome, but from my point of view, having radioactive material in drums that has to be vented monthly (SEE CONTRACT!!) is NOT good to have to do for 10,000 years. What happens, like it has, if people are not there to keep babysitting this mess? TERRIBLE design and thought process. Who was the genius who designed this?? Person needs the Darwin Award this year!!!”

      . quoted from #comment-511403

      Quote of WeNotTheyFinally: “The fire they said was from a 29-year-old truck but that was, I believe, about two weeks PRIOR to the Valentine’s Day accident, which they said was then a separate, new accident.
      It would not be a surprise at all if they were related, but no, we don’t seem to be being told how.”

      . quoted from: http://enenews.com/wall-st-journal-containment-system-leaked-wipp-site-released-radiation-environment-ap-contamination-escaped-bypass-filtration-system-board-chairman-allowed-unfiltered-leakage-air-above-ground-vi/comment-page-1#comment-511376

      subsequent Quote of HeartOfTheRose: “I think it is related..
      Heat is a great facilitator of changes in chemical composition.
      WIPP is not testing for hydrogen, methane or VOC’s..
      A nuclear/gas event?

      At 4:05..
      Three days before the nuclear incident.. there was a..

      Transmittal of Requested Information Pertaining to an Estimation of the Gas Generation Rate of Some Remote Handled TRU Mixed waste Streams
      Feb 19 2014

      INHALED PLUTONIUM 96,000 TIMES Above HIGHEST Background Coming From New Mexico

    • Based on our analysis of the US Department of Energy’s [DOE] Accident Investigation Report, the first indication of a massive radioactive release from the WIPP facility occurred at 10:50pm on 2/14/2014 when a radioactive cloud of weapons grade Americium and Plutonium became so massively concentrated above WIPP’s electrical sub-station that an electrical “GREEN BURST” was triggered via the radioactively ionized air…

      As for the Carlsbad and all the people downwind of WIPP, the 2/14/14 Nuclear fire was much worse than is being reported by the DOE, and it happened at least an hour earlier than DOE has postulated. All in all the DOE report is extremely poor in analysis and those that submitted it should be ashamed. It is clear that DOE is doing all it can to under report what happened at WIPP, and their mathematical obfuscation of the environmental radiation levels based on technical procedures which peanut butter out radioactive concentration over the sampling period instead of the incident occurrence time frame is unconscionable and sinful.


      • More evidence that the WIPP release was unfiltered, and the plutonium and americium release was much larger then we have been told, and the plutonium figures that were shown to us are faked.

    • One would tend to think that those retaining bolts would have some decent length to them. Is there a way for a bolt to just “fall out” of the ceiling? Would that be more probable (or less) than bolt breakage? … :/

  2. I’m trying to make sense of the WIPP accident report. The CAM unit gave out an alarm for high radiation, and the system went into filtration mode, except that the fan had to be manually turned on and the HEPA bypass closed. This was achieved in 56 seconds, but it also says that the bypass dampers close slowly. So prior to this, all the air bypasses the HEPA system… after manual intervention, the bypass is closed, but leaks. Then the fan is blowing through the HEPA filters, but they got clogged soon after. This would cut the air flow and route more air through the leaky bypass. They have nominal air flow ratings but no estimates or studies on how much of the air went through HEPA and how much leaked. It’s important because the filters are 99.97% efficient, and what came out of the leaks has 3,300 times as much plutonium per cubic meter of air, as what exited the filters.

  3. Ach! I can’t get on Enenews! My iPad says “server not found”. Have the powers-to-be finally done it? Is there some place else we can go? Help!

  4. Sorry, Bobby, Enenews is back up again. My iPad has never done that before. Whew, that made me hyperventilate for a few minutes there. But while I’m on the subject, is there some place we posters and lurkers can go should we lose one or more of you brave people?

    • Glad it’s back up, weez. You can come here, but I have been experiencing cyberattacks. I unfortunately had to ignore good people that came here after WIPP because of a tsunami of trolls and pro-nukers. I’m on Facebook as Rob Soltysik (real name).


    Flynn grilled DOE and NWP for not disclosing the other waste stream and continuing to not be forthright with the public.

    “Mr. Blankenhorn identifies the waste stream, but then refuses to answer the question If you have information, then you need to disclose information with the public immediately,” Flynn said.

    Flynn also cautioned the public and government agencies to be more careful in its dissemination of information because of the dangers of spreading false rumors. He called a rumor that the state Environment Department was working to loosen the restrictions on WIPP “a lie.”


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