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Disaster at US Nuke Dump: Equivalent of 370 Billion Bq of Plutonium Feared Released

May 11, 2015

370 billion Bq of plutonium equivalent may have escaped from a nuclear waste drum during "thermal runaway " at the government's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, near Calsbad, New Mexico. Multiple fires suggesting a "significant number" of breached drums. Over 5,000 times amount in waste drum blamed for WIPP release. According to one official: "We thought for sure" there were multiple ruptured drums -- "It actually was measured" in city many miles away.


Government Analysis:
Up to 592 [Billion] Bq of Plutonium Equivalent Involved in Disaster at US Nuclear Dump

(May 8, 2015) -- Over 5,000 times amount in waste drum blamed for WIPP release -- Official: "We thought for sure" there were multiple ruptured drums -- "It actually was measured" in city many miles away.

DOE Town Hall in Los Alamos on WIPP Leak Findings (mp3)
April 23, 2015 (emphasis added):

Question (at 1:43:15 in): So you've come up with an amount that you think was in the drum, and you've been able to forensically track that. The underground is pretty contaminated at this point, the walls are contaminated, the filters are contaminated – and it actually was measured in Carlsbad 30 miles away. So that's a significant quantity of plutonium or other isotopes. How is that quantity matching with what is in the drum?

Ted Wyka, US Dept. of Energy Chief Nuclear Safety Advisor and chairman of DOE's Accident Investigation Board: You're right, any release is obviously too much. We do have hundreds of surveys . . . We think we have a pretty good source term calculation to the extent that we need to identify it as one drum . . .

Question: I don't feel like that answers my question, which is of course is your job, right? . . . There's so much plutonium, americium, or whatever those secret ingredients were, and now it's spread all over in a layer and it's leaked into the air -- what is that quanity? . . .

Wyka (at 1:49:15 in): Does that mean there's no other sympathetic secondary releases from other drums? I can't tell you that.

US DOE Accident Investigation Board (AIB) Report Phase 2, Radiological Release at WIPP (pdf)
April 2015: The inventory in drum 68660 [was] 2.84 PE-Ci [plutonium equivalent curies] . . . Source terms initially released in Panel 7 Room 7 [is estimated at] 2 to 10 PE-Ci.

Savannah River National Laboratory WIPP Source Term Attribution Analysis (pdf)

* Source Term (ST) = MAR [Material at Risk] x DR [Damage Ratio] x ARF [Airborne Release Fraction] x RF [Respirable Fraction]

* Assume a 2 Ci release from Room 7 based on assessment from previous slide

* Bounding Case 1 . . . MAR = ST / (DR x ARF x RF) = 2 Ci / 0.5 x 0.0005 x 0.5 = 16,000 Ci [592,000,000,000,000 becquerels]

* Bounding Case 2 . . . MAR = ST / (DR x ARF x RF) = 2 Ci / 0.5 x 0.01 x 1.0 = 400 Ci

Note the AIB reports the total inventory of activity in drum 68660 was 2.84 Ci. SRNL's estimate of total inventory of activity involved was 400-16,000 Ci (141-5,634 times drum 68660 inventory).

This may explain Wyka's statement at the Carlsbad Town Hall: "We went in thinking there's another drum . . .We thought for sure we'd see something. Most of the analysis team thought so."

Government: Radioactive Release "Orders of Magnitude"
Worse than Predicted at US nuclear Dump

370 Billion Bq of plutonium equivalent may have escaped from WIPP drum during "thermal runaway" and multiple fires suggesting a "significant number" of breached drums

The Santa Fe New Mexican & ENE News

(April 23, 2015) -- The head of a team of federal investigators [said] he's not certain whether more than one drum of nuclear waste contributed to contamination of [WIPP] . . . The reaction pushed temperatures inside the container to nearly 1,600 degrees, ripping open the drum and scattering radioactive material that breached not only the fortified room that held the waste, but WIPP itself, which was designed to never leak . . . [Officials] would not rule out minor seepage from other drums.

Accident Investigation Report
Phase 2, Radiological Release at WIPP

US Department of Energy (April 2015)

6.4.1 Analysis Summary
* The radiological release . . . resulted from an exothermic reaction that led to a thermal runaway in drum 68660 [that] exhibited the following fire behaviors: Expanding flame front of material expelled from drum . . . Ignition of exposed combustibles . . . Propagation within the waste array by flame impingement . . . Melting and burning of exposed plastics.

* The combustibles external to the waste containers were ignited . . . direct fire effects were limited to Rows 8 through 18 . . . there were multiple small fires that caused direct flame impingement on several waste packages . . . the fire . . . caused the migration of contamination throughout Panel 7 [and] significant fire damage.

* A thermal runaway is characterized as a very rapid temperature rise within the container . . . [This] ultimately . . . led to failure of the lid . . . permitting a rapid release of combustible gases and combustible solids.

7.1 Accident Scenarios and Source Term Evaluation
* Source term at Station A should be 10 to 100 times lower than the source term in Panel 7 Room 7 . . . Station A source term is estimated [at] 0.1 plutonium equivalent curies (PE-Ci).

* DOE-STD-5506-2007 . . . recommends a bounding estimate of 1E^-4 ARF [0.0001 Airborne Release Fraction] for a drum over-pressurization without a fire . . . This release estimate, when applied to the . . . drum inventory of 2.84 PE-Ci, results in an initial source term released to the room of 2.8E^-4 PE-Ci [0.000284 PE-Ci] . . . less than 1 percent of the 0.1 PE-Ci source term at Station A.

* The chemical reaction resulting in over-pressurization of the drum described above is similar to the . . . evaluation of a drum deflagration from hydrogen buildup from radiolysis which assumes burning of material expelled from the drum and a contained burning of material remaining within the drum . . . [The modeled] release estimate from a drum deflagration is about 3 percent of the 0.1 PE-Ci source term at Station A . . . the actual amount of material released as measured at Station A was larger than the amount predicted . . . by almost two orders of magnitude . . . For either the drum over-pressurization or drum deflagration scenarios discussed above, a much greater airborne source term is possible if the nitrate salts behaved as a combustible dust ignited in air or if a greater fraction of material were ejected and burned.

* The 0.1 PE-Ci source term at Station A can be divided by the range of 0.01 to 0.05 LPFs [Leakpath Factor] to estimate the range of source terms initially released . . . This results in a range of 2 to 10 PE-Ci [74 to 370 billion Bq] airborne in the room . . . [I]nventory in drum 68660 [was] 2.84 PE-Ci.

* If drum 68660 released a source term as modeled . . . a significant number of waste containers would be expected to be breached to cause the 2 to 10 PE-Ci source term estimate . . . Based on the above estimates . . . release fractions and deposition in the underground, indicated the release from drum 68660 alone was much larger than what would be modeled . . . [T]he source term evaluation, using conventional release modeling assumptions, could not conclusively affirm that container 68660 was the sole contributor to the release.

Watch the DOE's Presentation of the Report Below
WIPP Townhall Meeting 4/16/15

(April 16, 2015) -- What caused the radioactivity to escape in the first place, repository storage, chemical incompatibility, mixed waste, nuclear safety upsets, chemical hazards, Savannah River site, chemical hazards, chemical reprosessing plants, kitty litter organic, DoD, secondary gas eruption, Los Alamos National Lab. . . .
Thu April, 16 2015 7:30 PM EST -- Thu Apr, 16 2015 10:00 PM EST by Red Rocket. Sign up to get their updates. They will email you shortly before the live Townhall meetings.

I always like to hear the people's comments from the audience. The Q and A from the audience is at the end of the video.

I had promised myself I would take some time off, but I really wanted to post this before I do take time off. PS: please remember to subscribe to MissingSky101 for Fukushima Triple Plus Nuclear Meltdown updates https://www.youtube.com/user/MissingS...

And in case you are just coming upon this information, I'll give you several related links you can check out here: Latest Headlines: http://enenews.com/

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Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.




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