Cumbria Trust followers will recall that back in February inside the Carlsbad Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, (GDF) a 55 gallon drum of waste shipped from LANL (Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory) burst, leaking radiation and contaminating more than 20 workers at the plant.
Following a six month investigation, KOB4 and partners at The New Mexican have published their findings among which:
Los Alamos Study Group executive director Greg Mello says:
“One drum from Los Alamos… burst its lid, and it got very hot… the drum in question was basically kind of a time bomb.”
A switch from clay-based kitty litter to a highly acidic organic kitty litter used to soak up excess liquid in the storage process created the volatile mixture.
“Everything suggests that they should have known that,” said Mello.
Now, a major question remains.
“Why did they make those ridiculous chemistry errors,” Mello asks.
James O’Neill from the National Nuclear Security Administration told the Carlsbad Department of Energy Office:
“…putting the type of kitty litter… created a patented explosive mixture.”
The field officer wrote back:
“How can the explosive mixture be in the drum content that could be sent to WIPP?”
The Los Alamos Study Group reacted to the New Mexican’s 6-month long investigation Sunday night.
“We do know that one subcontractor wrote and asked a question, ‘Is this really safe?'” said Mello.
Mello is a former nuclear waste inspector for LANL. He now runs the study group, a watchdog group that keeps tabs on the lab.
In the pursuit of a $2.2 billion contract renewal, Mello says the e-mails and memos suggest the privately run lab ignored warning signs and potential danger in order to be on time. He goes on to say a lab culture focused on deadlines and profits is a ticking time bomb too:
“If management does not change, there will be a worse accident”
The New Mexican’s 6-month long investigation also references an assessment conducted by WIPP personnel that estimates over 5,000 drums of waste may contain the volatile organic kitty litter that caused the one drum to split open.
Source and full article: Caleb James, KOB Eyewitness News 4, 11/16/2014 10:06 PM
Original article: KOB4 and partners at The New Mexican