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plutonium 5 articles

Radioactive waste packed in unstable mixture has nuclear sites on high alert

LOS ALAMOS, N.M. — Federal officials are scrambling to contain hundreds of barrels of radioactive nuclear waste at two sites in New Mexico and one site in Texas after discovering that they were packed in a potentially explosive mixture of cellulose from wheat-based organic kitty litter and nitrate salts. Investigators suspect that the combination of the two compounds is to blame for blowing the lid off a drum of nuclear waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) site in Carlsbad, N.M., in February, causing a radioactive leak that contaminated 22 workers and the surrounding land. On May 20, the ... Read More

Workers at New Mexico nuclear waste facility test positive for radioactive contamination

Thirteen employees of a New Mexico nuclear waste dump who were at work when a radioactive leak was detected Feb. 14 have tested positive for radiation contamination. The workers, employees of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Southeastern New Mexico, were tested as a precautionary measure after the “radiological event” occurred and air monitors in the area began registering radioactive particles on Feb. 15. WIPP’s Radiological Control Program collected biological samples from each of the employees present at the site during the leak.  A part of the testing called a bioassay, used to determine whether radioactive contamination from outside ... Read More

New Mexico nuclear waste dump remains closed amid radiation leaks

CARLSBAD, N.M.–U.S. regulators say that radiation leaking from a nuclear waste dump in southeastern New Mexico does not pose a threat to human health and safety, but so far officials have been unable to determine the source of the leak. Radioactive isotopes have been detected in the air a half-mile from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) site near Carlsbad, N.M., and an official from New Mexico State University’s Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center confirmed that amounts of plutonium and americium have been found in an air filter monitor in an area northwest of the WIPP. The U.S Department ... Read More

Nuclear waste leak in Washington much worse than originally feared, officials say

Last week, Washington state officials announced that one of the 177 underground storage tanks at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation in the state’s south-central region is leaking radioactive nuclear waste at a rate of 150 to 300 gallons per year, threatening the water table and nearby Columbia River. Further inspections, however, reveal the problem to be much worse. In meetings Friday, Washington governor Jay Inslee learned that six of the tanks containing hundreds of thousands of gallons of radioactive sludge were found to be leaking. Combined, the tanks contain some 53 million gallons of nuclear waste, a byproduct of the federal ... Read More

Nuclear waste leak threatens Washington State’s groundwater, rivers

Washington Governor Jay Inslee and other state officials sounded an alarm Friday over a leaking underground storage tank at south-central Washington’s Hanford nuclear reservation, a former plutonium production facility that is already the nation’s most contaminated nuclear waste site. The leaking tank contains hundreds of thousands of gallons of radioactive nuclear waste and is one of 177 World War II-era tanks at the site designed to last 20 years. Gov. Inslee said that officials estimate the tank could be leaking 150 gallons to 300 gallons of nuclear waste over a year and that the long-term threat to the state’s groundwater ... Read More