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Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Lacks Sufficient Safety Controls, Emergency Response Plans, Permits And Regulatory Compliance Approvals, There Is No Neutral Impartial Outside Inspector, Regulator To Counter DOE Control


WIPP WAS CONSTRUCTED, BUILT AND OPERATED WITHOUT A PERMIT, IN SECRET


Some people believe that WIPP is operating without any permits or permissions. In part that is true. WIPP was originally built without a permit. 

"The New Mexico Environment Dept. (NMED) believes external regulation of non-mixed waste is a critical issue. There is an inherent conflict of interest between the DOE's mission and its self-regulation of safety. This conflict is aggravated by a long legacy of secrecy which is at the root of many of the safety problems and contamination at the DOE facilities around the country....The NMED has always intended to guarantee that no prohibited waste is disposed of at WIPP. The NMED has the discretion to enforce this matter as they see fit. In fact, new permittees are usually prohibited from even constructing a facility without a permit. The NMED determines if the facility design can protect human health and environment, before the facility is constructed. This requirement is part of the RCRA regulations. Yet, WIPP was constructed without a permit.
http://www.nuclearactive.org/wipp/hearings/zappe.html

Today, WIPP is regulated, approved and operating under the Presidential Environmental Justice Order 23898, and with permits from both the EPA on a federal level, and on a state level through the New Mexico Environment Dept. The federal Dept Of Mines is involved when it comes to miner safety and health. Details about these permits and approvals are provided below. It is important to note that there has been a HUGE mission creep at WIPP.


According to the New Mexico Environmental Evaluation Group, the WIPP facility via the DOE is to contain 25 million curies of radiation, including RH and high level nuclear waste materials 'for experimental purposes,' when completed. http://www.wmsym.org/archives/1983/V1/17.pdf


FIRST PERMIT ONLY ALLOWED RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT AROUND TRU WASTES, WHICH ARE LOW LEVEL RADIATION WASTE MATERIALS, LIKE GLOVES AND HARD HATS


Original WIPP Permit

According to the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management, Accident Investigation Report: "DOE was authorized by Public Law 96-164, Department of Energy National Nuclear Security and Military Applications of Nuclear Energy Authorization Act of 1980, to provide a research and development facility for demonstrating the safe, permanent disposal of TRU wastes from national defense activities and programs of the United States exempted from regulations by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

The WIPP Land Withdrawal Act, Public Law 102-579 (as amended by Public Law 104-201), authorized the disposal of 6.2 million cubic feet of defense TRU waste at the WIPP facility. The WIPP facility operates in several regulatory regimes. DOE has authority over the general operation of the facility, including radiological operations prior to closure

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through its regulations at 40 CFR Parts 191 and 194, certifies the long-term radiological performance of the repository over a 10,000-year compliance period after closure of the facility

The State of New Mexico, through EPA delegation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), has issued a Hazardous Waste Facility. 

The State of New Mexico, through EPA delegation of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), has issued a Hazardous Waste Facility Permit for the disposal of the hazardous waste component of the TRU waste. 

Additionally, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) is required to perform four inspections per year of WIPP. pg 2
http://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/03/f11/Final%20WIPP%20Underground%20Fire%20Report%2003.13.2014.pdf

THE FIRST PERMIT DID NOT ALLOW RH (HOT NUCLEAR WASTE) WHICH MUST BE REMOTE HANDLED BECAUSE IT IS SO RADIOACTIVE, BUT WIPP ACCEPTED AND STORED THIS KIND OF NUCLEAR WASTE ANYWAY, ILLEGALLY


The draft Permit prohibits any RH waste at WIPP whether mixed or not. [Remote Handled (RH) waste is so 'hot' that it must be remotely handled.] So little is known about RH waste that it would be almost impossible to characterize it and determine what hazardous constituents are in the waste. DOE/WID wanted NMED to change the Permit to allow RH waste at WIPP, but they included almost no information about RH-TRU characterization or management in their Permit application.

DOE is required by the Land Withdrawal Act and its Amendments to have an annual inspection of the WIPP mine by the US Bureau of Mines (USBM). Since the USBM was abolished four years ago, DOE has pursued no outside inspection of WIPP....
http://www.nuclearactive.org/wipp/hearings/permitissues.html

THERE ARE NO ANNUAL INSPECTIONS, AS REQUIRED BY PERMIT, THERE ARE NO OUTSIDE 'REGULATORS', AND WASTE CANNOT BE INSPECTED OR HAULED OUT IN CASE OF FUTURE PROBLEMS, AS THE ORIGINAL PERMIT REQUIRED



WIPP was supposed to be a low risk, SMALL, low level nuclear waste pilot project that would be studied for a number of years, to work all of the bugs out. WIPP was ORIGINALLY designed so that nuclear waste could be retrieved if problems developed or were discovered in the annual inspection. Now the annual inspections are not happening. There is no outside inspection agency. The DOE is a promoter of nuclear power and is now also it's own 'regulator and inspector', plus it seems to be the sole funder of all associated entities. 

As they are filled up, the 'rooms' are being sealed up, so no inspections are even possible any more. Why is DOE doing this? The WIPP site had and still has numerous geological problems, which were identified BEFORE it opened. Those problems are still there and growing more evident with each passing year. The WIPP site should stay open and accessible for the annual inspections and all barrels should stay accessible, so they can be retrieved later, if something happens that requires this.

Numerous, Severe Geological Problems Identified At WIPP Site; via @AGreenRoad
http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2014/03/numerous-severe-geological-problems.html

MAYBE, if WIPP could have pulled off a low level nuclear waste storage facility without a hitch or anything going wrong in 30 - 150 years, documented by annual inspections of all barrels of waste and no radioactive releases, then it would possibly be time to construct a NEW full scale nuclear waste storage facility and maybe experiment with storing some high level nuclear waste on a small scale with everything designed around that goal. WIPP is not that place, and it was NOT designed for this purpose. 

Since the original permit was provided for WIPP, as detailed above, which did NOT allow any high level wastes all the way up to 2005, DOE has changed everything, and all of it in a negative, risk increasing manner. From a small, low level nuclear waste experimental facility that had a third party inspector, WIPP has mutated this into an anything and everything is ok to go in full scale high level waste 'permanent' facility, with no way to pull anything out in case things go bad. (See documentation below all of the organizational items below)

The annual mine inspections went out the window and filled up rooms are now backfilled and sealed up with cement and salt. No wonder WIPP went haywire with a nuclear leak happening before it was even done. You can see how much has changed with the DOE description of WIPP below... Compare the above original permit to what is going on now.

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WIPP REGULATED BY PRESIDENTIAL ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE ORDER 23898 

The DOE and the EPA are federal agencies and receive federal funds. As such, these federal agencies are required to follow the President's Environmental Justice Executive Order No. 23898, dated February 11, 1994. [The Executive Order requires each federal agency to "make achieving environmental justice part of its mission by identifying and addressing, as appropriate, disproportionately high and adverse human health or environmental effects of its programs, policies, and activities on minority populations and low-income populations in the United States."]

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IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1979 THAT CONGRESS AUTHORIZED WIPP AND IT WAS NOT UNTIL 1998 THAT TRU (RH) HOT NUCLEAR REMOTE HANDLED WASTE COULD LEGALLY BE PLACED INTO WIPP


DOE

Federal Dept Of Energy (DOE) WIPP Project Is Approved By Congress

"In 1979, Congress authorized the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The WIPP facility, located 26 miles southeast of Carlsbad, N.M., was constructed during the 1980s. Congress limited WIPP to the disposal of defense-generated TRU wastes. In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified WIPP for safe, long-term disposal of TRU wastes.

Generally, TRU waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, residues, debris, soil and other items contaminated with radioactive elements, mostly plutonium. These man-made elements have atomic numbers greater than uranium, thus trans-uranic, or beyond uranium on the Periodic table of Elements. There are two categories of TRU waste. Contact-handled (CH) TRU waste can be safely handled by workers under controlled conditions without any shielding other than the containers itself. CH TRU waste will make-up approximately 96 percent of the total volume of waste to be disposed at WIPP.

The remaining four percent will be remote-handled (RH) TRU waste, which emits more penetrating radiation than CH TRU waste and must be handled and transported in lead-shielded casks.

Primary regulators at WIPP are the EPA and the New Mexico Environment Department. A number of other agencies, committees and panels monitor WIPP's progress and contribute to project success. Mine Safety and Health Administration - MSHA  (it is supposed to inspect the facility 4 times per year, but has not done this.)

The DOE Carlsbad Field Office, which leads the nations TRU waste disposal effort, has coordinated TRU waste cleanup at a number of generator sites around the country. Since 1999, WIPP has set the standard for safe, permanent disposal of long-lived radioactive defense wastes.

RECOVERY ACT

Recovery Act Projects at Carlsbad focus the supplemental appropriations for job preservation and creation to accelerate the disposition of defense-generated TRU waste across the nation. Specifically the project entitled “TRU Waste Accelerated Disposition” involves the accelerated TRU waste characterization, certification and transportation for disposition of defense-generated TRU waste from the targeted generator and interim storage sites above and beyond the currently-approved baseline project using Recovery Act funds."

To submit a FOlA request to DOE;  you may also search on the FOIA Portal that consists of documents previously released under the FOIA. If the information is not available here, submit a Freedom of Information Act request electronically.

You may also mail in your FOIA request to the following address:

FOIA Requester Service Center
1000 Independence Avenue, SW
Mail Stop MA-90
Washington, DC 20585

Or by facsimile at (202) 586-0575. If you have any questions, please give us a call at (202) 586-5955.
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) EPA Compliance Certification

The WIPP is a DOE facility proposed for the disposal of transuranic mixed waste (combined hazardous and radioactive waste) in a geological repository (a salt bed 2,150 feet below the land surface). The facility is located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico (P.O. Box 3090; Carlsbad, New Mexico 88221), in Eddy County.
http://energy.gov/management/office-management/operational-management/freedom-information-act

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WIPP IS NOT FOLLOWING THE EPA COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATE, WHICH REQUIRES ACCESS TO NUCLEAR WASTE, SO IT CAN BE REMOVED IN CASE OF PROBLEMS


EPA

"WIPP is regulated under:

A Compliance Certification Approval (40 CFR Parts 191 and 194) for radioactive waste from the EPA's Office of Radiation and Indoor Air;


The 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act of 1992 (LWA) (8) directed the EPA to develop final disposal regulations and related compliance criteria for the WIPP site. In December 1993, the EPA promulgated the final disposal regulations, also referred to as 40 CFR 191 (1). In February 1996, prior to the enactment of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act of 1996 (LWAA) (9), the EPA promulgated “Criteria for Certification and Re-Certification of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant's Compliance With the 40 CFR Part 191 Disposal Regulations; Final Rule”, also referred to as 40 CFR 194 (2). Subpart 40 CFR 194.46 defines the following "Removal of waste" requirement for WIPP:  Any compliance application shall include documentation which demonstrates that removal of waste from the disposal system is feasible for a reasonable period of time after disposal....."

A Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Permit (40 CFR Parts 264 and 270) for hazardous wastes from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED).


Radiation Compliance Certification Application, Federal Contact:

Mr. Nick Stone (Coordinator, EPA Environmental Engineer) 
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
1445 Ross Avenue (6PD-O) 
Dallas, Texas 75202-2733 
Telephone Number: (214) 665-7226 
FAX (214) 665-7263 

Hazardous Waste (RCRA) Permit Application, State Contact:

Mr. John Kieling, Bureau Chief
Hazardous Waste Bureau 
New Mexico Environment Department 
P.O. Box 26110 
Santa Fe, NM 87502 
Telephone Number: (505) 476-6035 
FAX (505)-476-6030 
E-Mail Address: john.kieling@state.nm.us  "

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MINING SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION IS SUPPOSED TO BE IN CHARGE OF WIPP, SO WHY IS IT NOT SEEMING TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT?


The authority of the Mining Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) governs actions at WIPP through the federal Dept. Of Labor. "Protecting Miners' Safety and Health Since 1978"
http://www.msha.gov/

MSHA's National Hazard Reporting Page

ONE CALL DOES IT ALL!

To report a hazardous condition at a mine to MSHA, call: 1-800-746-1553
or use the on-line filing option (For more information, see below).

You do not need to identify yourself!

To report an imminent danger hazardous condition call: 1-800-746-1553
(a condition that could cause a serious accident, injury, illness or fatality)
http://www.msha.gov/codeaphone/codeaphonenew.htm#.Ux8o9vldWHQ

FOIA Request
http://www.msha.gov/readroom/readroom.htm#.UyOMnfldWHQ

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State of New Mexico Environment Department

"Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Permits 2010-2014
http://www.nmenv.state.nm.us/wipp/pdfpermit.html

Permit Table of Contents - Feb 2014
Part 1 - General Permit Conditions - Feb 2014
Part 2 - General Facility Conditions - March 13, 2013
Part 3 - Container Storage - Feb 2014
Part 4 - Geologic Repository Disposal - Feb 2014
Part 5 - Groundwater Detection Monitoring - May 8, 2012
Part 6 - Closure Requirements - Nov 30, 2010
Part 7 - Post-closure Care Plan - Nov 30, 2010
Part 8 - Corrective Action for SWMUs and AOCs - Nov 30, 2010
A - General Facility Description and Process Information - Oct 1, 2012
A1 - Container Storage - Oct 2013
A2 - Geologic Repository - Oct 2013
A3 - Drawing Number 51-W-214-W, "Underground Facilities Typical Disposal Panel" -Nov 30, 2010
A4 - Traffic Patterns - Oct 2013
B - Hazardous Waste Permit Application Part A - Feb 2014
C - Waste Analysis Plan - Oct 2013
C1 - Waste Characterization Sampling Methods - March 13 , 2013
C2 - (Reserved) - March 13 , 2013
C3 - Quality Assurance Objectives and Data Validation Techniques for Waste Characterization Sampling and Analytical Methods - Feb 2014
C4 - TRU Mixed Waste Characterization Using Acceptable Knowledge - March 13, 2013
C5 - Quality Assurance Project Plan Requirements - March 13 , 2013
C6 - Audit and Surveillance Program - Feb 2014
C7 - TRU Waste Confirmation - March 13, 2013
D - RCRA Contingency Plan - Oct 2013
E - Inspection Schedule, Process and Forms - Feb 2014
F - Personnel Training - Dec 21, 2012
F1 - RCRA Hazardous Waste Management Job Titles and Descriptions - Nov 30, 2010
F2 - Training Course and Qualification Card Outlines - Oct 2013
G - Closure Plan - Feb 2014
G1 - Detailed Design Report for an Operation Phase Panel Closure System - Apr 15, 2011
G1-G - Technical Specifications, Panel Closure System - Oct 1, 2012
G1-H - Design Drawings - Nov 30, 2010
G2-E - Design Drawings - Nov 30, 2010
H - Post-Closure Plan - Nov 30, 2010
M - Figures (Reserved) - Nov 30, 2010


"October 29, 2004 - NMED issued a Final Determination on a Class 2 modification request to the WIPP Permit submitted by the Permittees on July 2, 2004. The subject of the modification proposed to prohibit TRU mixed waste from tanks that had ever been managed as high-level waste unless specifically approved through a separate Class 3 PMR. After considering all public comment, NMED approved the modification with changes, such as expanding the prohibition to include a specific list of tanks at Hanford, Savannah River, and INEEL that are covered under the exclusion. NMED will issue responses to comments at a later date..
Final Determination letter sent to Permittees

The Permit was modified as a result of this administrative action. Go to the Download Page for the current version of the Permit.

September 17, 2004 - NMED today published notice of a public comment period of its intent to approve a Class 3 modification to the WIPP Hazardous Waste Facility Permit. The draft Permit issued today proposes to allow the construction and use of additional underground HWDUs, or panels, for TRU mixed waste. The following documents are available for public review:

Public Notice - discusses public review of the draft Permit, public comment, procedure of issuance of final permit decision, arrangements for persons with disabilities, and additional information

Fact Sheet - discusses background, administrative history, Permittees' modification request and prior public comment, proposed action, availability of additional information, public comment and request for hearing, and final decision

The affected attachments to the permit ( Module IV, Attachments A, I, M2, N, and O) included in the draft Permit are available for download in two formats (figures are not included):
New Panels draft Permit in WordPerfect 8 (165 KB zipped) - includes embedded comments

August 31, 2004 - NMED today issued a compliance order to the Permittees for violations of state hazardous waste management regulations carrying a total civil penalty of nearly $2.4 million. These violations concern shipments of radioactive waste from the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) to WIPP between March and July of this year. Further information is available in the following documents:

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Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring And Research Center (CEMRC)
The Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center is a division of the College of Engineering at New Mexico State University

"CEMRC has partnered with Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), Sandia National Laboratory (SNL), and Nuclear waste Partnership, LLC (NWP) to create a unique facility with programs that include: environmental monitoring of almost any radiological and inorganic constituent; actinide chemistry and repository science particularly concerning the environmental behavior of Pu, Am, U and Np; dirty bomb mitigation research and training particularly for 137Cs and 60Co, head space gas and volatile organic compound (VOC) analyses; in vivo and in vitro bioassay, whole body dosimetry, military small arms range clean-up, evaluation and design of innovative treatment technologies, and soil, water, air and waste characterization.

The Department of Energy Carlsbad Field Office (DOE CBFO) currently operates the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, as a repository site for transuranic (TRU) waste generated as part of the nuclear defense research and production activities of the federal government. The CEMRC facility and staff provide support to WIPP, LANL, SNL and WTS primarily through site and environmental monitoring, in vivo bioassay, and scientific and laboratory support." Source: http://www.cemrc.org

Sampling results; 
http://www.cemrc.org/2014/03/05/cemrc-radiological-results-air-sampling-wipp-site-following-february-14th-2014-radiation-detection-event-2
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DOE PUSHED FOR AND GOT RID OF SAFETY, HEALTH AND PERMIT 'RULES' SO THAT THEY COULD PUT JUST ABOUT ANYTHING THEY WANTED INTO WIPP, IN ANY QUANTITY THAT THEY DESIRED, DESPITE WIPP JUST BEING A 'RESEARCH' AND NOT A NUCLEAR WASTE STORAGE FACILITY



2005 seems to be the date when the WIPP 'monster' was unleashed, via the DOE. They pushed for getting rid of safety, health rules and modified the permit to allow just about anything into WIPP, without inspections and including high level waste, which was labeled as remote handled or RH waste. Almost all of what DOE wanted was granted.  

According to SRIC; "On November 23, 2005, those three forces began the latest phase of the on-going struggle, as the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) issued a draft permit to change many aspects of the WIPP operating permit based on the Department of Energy (DOE) permit modification request. Critics dubbed the DOE request the "monster mod" because of its size -- more than 1,100 pages, its scope -- re-writing major parts of most of the permit, and its substance -- substantially loosening the health and safety requirements while dramatically increasing the lethality of the waste coming to WIPP.

The “monster mod” combines three DOE modification requests to the WIPP operating permit that were opposed by many people and rejected by NMED. In a sharp reversal of its previous rulings, the draft permit included most of the major items of the "monster mod," including virtual elimination of chemical and physical analysis of waste containers before they can be shipped to WIPP, allowing highly radioactive remote-handled (RH) waste, and more than quadrupling the amount of waste allowed to be in the surface storage areas.....Because DOE had virtually no characterization information for more highly radioactive wastes and did not want to carry out visual examination, commentors opposed and NMED prohibited any RH waste in the 1999 permit."

ISSUES AROUND WIPP PERMITS INCLUDED CEILING AND WALL COLLAPSES


Ceiling And Wall Collapses

"DOE plans to emplace waste in steel drums in direct contact with salt, the most corrosive host rock imaginable. Upon closure, WIPP will be a wet repository due to the steady inflow of brine. The tunnels themselves are subject to salt creep. The floors heave, the roofs collapse, the walls cave in. Already a 1,500 ton slab of rock salt has fallen from the ceiling in one of the WIPP experimental rooms. These rooms have since been barricaded, with no access for inspections. The roofs in Panel 1, the area proposed for waste emplacement, have already experienced failure, and are presently supported by 13 ft. roof bolts, wire mesh, expanded metal, channel steel, and point-anchored threaded rebar.

There is a 220 ft. long open fracture, up to 3 inches wide, in Room 7. There is a 180 foot-long network of open fractures, up to 3 inches wide, in the ceiling of Room 7. No one can say for certain that a roof fall will not occur in Panel 1 during the time of waste emplacement. Because of worker safety concerns, the NMED should prohibit the use of Panel 1 for waste disposal in the final Permit."
http://www.nuclearactive.org/wipp/hearings/phillips.html

Bottom line, there is no plan on keeping this waste inside containers and away from brine water flows, or ceiling collapses. The plan is to let them all rust, collapse and/or dissolve, and then let Nature take the radioactive water and gases anywhere and everywhere.

HOW CAN REQUIRED ANNUAL INSPECTIONS OF WASTE HAPPEN IF THEY ARE ALL SEALED UP IN ROOMS AND THE CEILING COLLAPSES IN ON TOP OF THE WASTE, CRUSHING EVERYTHING IN THE ROOM, AND MAKING IT IMPOSSIBLE TO RETRIEVE? 


WIPP is supposed to have annual inspections. How is this 'inspection' going to happen if all of the panels are sealed up? How are the containers going to be inspected if they are cemented in, and/or covered with salt? Who is going to do the inspections, because the original inspection agency has been abolished completely? Does anyone trust DOE to perform this 'inspection' for the rest of time?

Since there is no way to inspect anything that is all sealed up, DOE has no intention of inspecting anything. WIPP is currently a hide it underground, seal it up and run away kind of storage facility.


THERE IS NO SITE ACCESSIBILITY AFTER THE NUCLEAR WASTE IS CRUSHED BY COLLAPSING WALLS AND CEILINGS


The EPA requires that the site remain accessible for a 'reasonable amount of time', but leaves it totally up to the DOE to decide what this period is.. The DOE can say a couples of hours is enough time, and just seal it all up and walk away after they have filled it all up with highly volatile, high level nuclear waste, the way things are written up right now. They could care less if water leaks in and bad things happen, as they have already demonstrated with violations detailed above and with the truck fire, as well as the radiation release..

In Germany, the same thing happened in their nuclear waste storage facility as it is happening at WIPP right now. The Germany salt mine nuclear waste storage facility developed huge water 'leaks', so the Germans decided to pull the waste back out. But they found out it was much harder to do than they originally planned and they found out a lot of stuff went in that was not supposed to... Bottom line, they decided it was a BAD IDEA to try and store nuclear waste in a salt mine.

Now the Germans are spending money to pull the nuclear waste back out, while trying to keep the water pumped out that is leaking in.. WIPP also has several water leaks already, and according to miners, that spells doom for any mine, and there is no way to stop it from getting progressively worse and worse, until the whole mine floods.

HIGH LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE ISSUES INCLUDE BURNING WASTE INSIDE CONTAINERS, WITH BLACK SMOKE COMING OUT, WHILE PARKED UNDER A FREEWAY OVERPASS WITH TRAFFIC GOING OVER IT, AND ANOTHER ONE TRAVELING DOWN THE FREEWAY, SMOKING


High Level Nuclear Waste Transport Permit Issues

WhipRoutine March 8, 2014 "I live along one of the WIPP routes in NM. Well, all the routes pretty much come through here. We've been seeing the trucks come through for over a decade now. This article has finally prompted me to come online and tell what I've witnessed over the years. I'm a little scared. DHS agents come to your homes now around here to interrogate people...

One day after the first shipments started moving down the highways, I was driving through Santa Fe County where I-25 and US 285 meet. One of the WIPP trucks that had the 3 stainless steel special shipping containers was parked just under the overpass of I-25. One of the containers had Black Smoke coming out of the top of the container. Blacker than diesel. My thought was 'what if that's plutonium waste'.

Later that year I was at a community weed and debris burn at the local volunteer fire station. I asked one of the regulars what happened? Was it radioactive? Are we contaminated now in all these communities here. He shrugged his shoulders and said yes there was an incident and he couldn't talk about it....One other time about 6 years ago, I saw one on Interstate 25 with smoke coming out of one of those kegs and I just went as fast as I could to get ahead of it and get upwind."....
http://enenews.com/container-fire-at-wipp-may-have-caused-leak-after-spontaneous-combustion-expert-couldve-crapped-up-a-whole-lot-of-real-estate-down-there-ntions-radioactive-waste-disposal/comment-page-2#comment-489089

OUTSIDE MONITORS AND RESEARCHERS ARE NOT ALLOWED INSIDE OR AROUND WIPP, ONLY PRO NUCLEAR PROMOTERS AND THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH THE PROJECT, BEING PAID BY WIPP, NO COMMUNITY RADIATION MONITORS ARE ALLOWED INSIDE MINE OR INSIDE VENTS TO OUTSIDE


NO Access Of Monitors Or Researchers To Site Allowed

The plutonium, americium and other radioactive element nuclear accident at WIPP was covered up and denied for six days. This should not be allowed. No one can get into WIPP unless the DOE allows it, so they can cover up disasters and deny anything bad is happening for as long as they want. No community radiation monitors are installed on the vents or directly inside the mine, so no one knows what is really going on, and DOE can keep everything secret. 

WIPP Radioactive Plutonium/Americium Plume Release Covered Up For Six Days, Researchers Denied Access; via @AGreenRoad
http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2014/03/wipp-radioactive-plutoniumamericium.html

RECOMMENDATIONS


AGRP recommends the following around WIPP:

1. Stop putting more high level RH or low level nuclear waste into WIPP. This is a PILOT PROJECT. It is an experiment, not a fully functioning high level nuclear waste depository. It was originally designed to a ONE room depository with only low level waste. Ideally, everything should be pulled back out, due to the EXTREME geological risks at WIPP, as documented by numerous scientists and geologists, all of where fired or moved. 

2. Develop a LONG TERM 1,000 year plan for realistic monitoring, safety, emergency response and inspections via an independent and neutral third party; NOT DOE.

3. Install LIVE very sensitive radiation monitors both inside the mine, at the filters, in the vents and outside in a ring around WIPP, where the community can see the radiation readings from the Internet; and capable of reading alpha, beta, and gamma radiation, because all types of man made radiation (including cesium, strontium, uranium) are going into WIPP, not just plutonium and americium. The Military should be forced by law to install, maintain and repair these meters and have battery backups in case of power failures, when most accidents happen.

4. Review all geological warnings already identified (see link below), and assess whether all wastes need to be pulled out, RH wastes need to be pulled out, or modifications need to be made, due to numerous ceiling collapses and other geological problems at WIPP site. 

Numerous, Severe Geological Problems Identified At WIPP Site; via @AGreenRoad

5. Assess and redo the emergency response plan, especially around the venting, filtering and sealing of the shafts in case something goes wrong; specifically radioactive explosions, leaks or fires underground, including back up systems in case the primary HEPA filters fail for ANY reason; power loss, explosion, fire, etc. ALL shafts should be covered and 100% hermetically sealable in case of accident, without any power source. 

6. Do not allow any further expansion. One 'room' is enough for a pilot project. Seven football field sized rooms is way too much for an 'experiment.' If things go bad, it will be too large to handle. 

7. Tighten high level RH waste transportation rules, laws and who is responsible, who responds, who measures radiation, how it is required to be reported, in case of high level waste transport container leakage, fire, accident, etc. Mandatory and transparent data reporting to EPA on all incidents, visible to public at all times, no FOIA request necessary. Fines and automatic whistleblower rewards for reporting, disclosure of hidden incidents, and for non compliance.

8. Require that the US military fund this disposal site out of their annual budget, and that any disposal of nuclear weapons waste is NOT paid for by taxpayers through DOE. Transfer responsibility for site to the Pentagon.

9. Require the US military to pay and/or provide the labor to put up a LARGE STEEP 50 foot tall berm around the site along with markers at the top of the fenced berm, with warning monuments. They would also be in charge of having onsite guards, patrolling the top of this berm to make sure no one trespasses and/or drills.

10. Make the US military responsible for making sure no one drills into the site, paid for out of their annual budget. The military would have to monitor anyone drilling within 3 miles and visit those rigs to make sure they are complying with horizontal drilling regulations; not allowed into or under WIPP, due to subsidence and other issues.

11. Make the US military responsible for patrolling WIPP underground for the next 1,000 years to ensure safety, paid for out of their annual budget. Minimum patrols; once daily..

12. If the transfer to the military and out of the hands of DOE is not accomplished, make sure that the cost of WIPP and other military facilities cleanup and storage like Hanford and Savannah is included in the military budget and costs. 

13. All events involving fires, leaks, radiation release should be reported immediately, and researchers, as well as radiation monitors allowed on site, immediately. Laws and local ordinances should be passed along with fines, jail terms and revocation of permit to operate in case of non compliance. 

WIPP Radioactive Plutonium/Americium Plume Release Covered Up For Six Days, Researchers Denied Access; via @AGreenRoad
http://agreenroad.blogspot.com/2014/03/wipp-radioactive-plutoniumamericium.html

Bottom line, WIPP is like a wild, out of control elephant that is on the rampage. The original permit was for a small experimental facility, to test the feasibility of storing LOW LEVEL waste such as rags, wipes and towels in an undergound salt mine that gets water in it and is subject to all kinds of things going wrong. Since 2005, WIPP has mutated into an out of control monster with high level wastes that were reportedly smoking/burning before they even get into the facility, and we have containers leaking radiation just a few years into the 'experiment'.

Obviously, this WIPP experiment is NOT WORKING with numerous leaks, ceiling collapses, container leakage/explosion, and ventilation issues.  If it is isn't working just a few years into the experiment, what is going to happen when the S(#*# really hits the fan, down the road?

GET INVOLVED, ESPECIALLY IF YOU LIVE LOCALLY

For more local information and how to make a difference around WIPP: 

Southwest Research and Information Center (505) 262-1862  -  http://www.sric.org

Citizens for Alternatives to Radioactive Dumping  http://www.cardnm.org

Concerned Citizen for Nuclear Safety (505) 986-1973 - http://www.nuclearactive.org

Nuclear Watch New Mexico  (505) 989-7342 -  http://www.nukewatch.org

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Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Lacks Sufficient Safety Controls, Emergency Response Plans, Permits And Regulatory Compliance Approvals, There Is No Neutral Impartial Outside Inspector, Regulator To Counter DOE Control
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