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Ian McColgin
05-31-2014, 03:34 PM
Los Alamos unable to meet nuke waste deadline
Jeri Clausing Associated Press
UPDATED: 05/30/2014 04:33:22 PM EDT0 COMMENTS

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) Los Alamos National Laboratory won't be able to meet a deadline for getting toxic waste from decades of building nuclear bombs off its northern New Mexico campus before wildfire season peaks, the U.S. Department of Energy said Friday.

In a statement, the department said it has notified the New Mexico Environment Department that it can't move the last of thousands of barrels of waste containing things like contaminated gloves and tools until officials are sure it is safe.

A canister shipped from Los Alamos to the Waste Isolation Pilot Project has been linked to a radiation release Feb. 14 at the underground repository in southeastern New Mexico. Officials are investigating whether hundreds of other barrels from Los Alamos that are currently stored at the West Isolation Pilot Plant, Los Alamos and in West Texas are at risk of releasing radiation.

The waste was packed with cat litter to absorb moisture. Officials are trying to determine whether a switch from inorganic to organic litter is to blame for a chemical reaction with nitrate salts that caused the accident that contaminated 22 workers and indefinitely shuttered the plant.

Deputy Undersecretary David Klaus said the energy department has "made great strides in cleanup at the Los Alamos National Laboratory," but it is halting shipments "until we can reassure the public that it is safe to do so."

"This was a tough decision to make and the Department remains committed to solving this issue and resuming shipments," Klaus said.

The New Mexico Environment Department said it "was disappointed but not surprised," noting the top priority is public safety.

Los Alamos spokesman Matt Nerzig said the lab remains "determined to meet our obligations to the state of New Mexico" and is working to help find the cause of the radiation release.

The agreement for removal of the waste by June 30 was reached after a massive wildfire lapped at the edge of lab property three years ago, raising concerns about the thousands of barrels of waste that were being stored outside. There are still 57 barrels on the campus, which officials have repacked into special containers and are now storing under a dome with 24-hour monitoring and fire protection systems.

Also Friday, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is expected to detail its plans for sealing off areas where the suspect canisters are stored.

New Mexico Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn ordered the Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant to submit their plans for permanently sealing the two underground rooms where more than 300 barrels of the potentially dangerous containers of waste are stored.

Gerarddm
05-31-2014, 03:54 PM
Yes, well, what is the definition of "permanently sealing" when the stuff in question has extended half lives?

The only way to permanently deal with this stuff is to send it back where it came from, into the Sun.

hanleyclifford
05-31-2014, 03:54 PM
We sure are fixing up a nice mess for our children, eh?

RonW
05-31-2014, 06:21 PM
Good post Ian....and you are right, now what are we going to do with all these half life nuclear cell rods from all these " so called clean" nuclear energy plants that berry and the liberals want to build, to save us from the dreaded oil and coal burning electric generating plants ??

ahp
05-31-2014, 06:35 PM
Good post Ian....and you are right, now what are we going to do with all these half life nuclear cell rods from all these " so called clean" nuclear energy plants that berry and the liberals want to build, to save us from the dreaded oil and coal burning electric generating plants ??

Ron, have ever been near a coal burning plant that is compliant with the EPA standards? I have. They stink. I worked with a company that made stack gas analyzers.

According to a Scientific American article several years ago, the old and non-compliant coal burners caused about 80 premature deaths in their area each year. More recently that number has been reduced to about 10 to 15.

During Bill Clinton's administration there was a proposal to access the health risks of fossil fuel power plants. It never happened and I wonder why.

hanleyclifford
05-31-2014, 07:00 PM
The only real solution is to reduce usage.

skuthorp
05-31-2014, 07:17 PM
I suppose one could look at the health and other damage caused by our appetite for electricity as collateral damage, the price of our lifestyle?

hanleyclifford
05-31-2014, 07:22 PM
I suppose one could look at the health and other damage caused by our appetite for electricity as collateral damage, the price of our lifestyle? The problem is that the price is paid even by those who don't get to enjoy the "lifestyle".

skuthorp
05-31-2014, 07:25 PM
Tell that to the people effected by the oil industry in Sth Sudan, they already know.http://static.guim.co.uk/sys-images/Guardian/Pix/pictures/2009/11/17/1258472469592/Water-pollution-by-oil-pr-008.jpg

Jim Bow
05-31-2014, 08:26 PM
There are whole careers involved at Hanford near Richland, WA. WWII Plutonium reactor waste stored in 70 year old concrete tanks. Hundreds of millions of dollars spent to almost no avail. Makes me wonder if Putin is even bothering to control Russian byproducts.

RonW
05-31-2014, 08:46 PM
I find it ironic and hypocritical to say the least to scream over the nuclear waste from bombs that are for self defense, but yet ignore and push forward on clean electric generated from what,
the same stuff you condemned. Obama wants to get rid of coal, oil and gas generators and go to all nuke generators.

So what about japans 4 nuke generators that melted down through the cores and are leaking into the pacific ocean. The last I heard japan is going back to coal generators.
Japan has serious contamination. But yet the american media is, mums the word. As bill clinton said in the 90's the gate keepers of the media, to keep us safe from they don't want us to know about..

This site is filled with articles on fukushima. Japan is polluting the whole pacific ocean.

http://www.rense.com/

PeterSibley
05-31-2014, 09:09 PM
There is a slight difference.... now many of the USA's nuclear power plants would be subject to a tsunami washing out their power supplies ?

That said, the day the industry finds and actually uses a safe storage method for their waste I will be on side until then it's just corporate welfare.

Ian McColgin
05-31-2014, 09:16 PM
Who could RonW have in mind to "scream over the nuclear waste from bombs that are for self defense, but yet ignore and push forward on clean electric generated from what, the same stuff you condemned." [#11] No one I can recall. Sounds like a ficticious charactor for the purpose of slurring someone but maybe RonW can quote someone to demonstrate the factuality of that statement.

While we're on about factuality, Obama is not trying ". . . to get rid of coal, oil and gas generators . . . " He's supporting fracking and tar sands as part of his "all of the above" energy policy, supporting way to much to those of us who like breathing and drinking water, and the EPA's reluctant moves to continue with progressive moves on "cleaner" coal are just a continuation of old law. And since it's not on any table due to cost, he's certainly not about to ". . . go to all nuke generators." RonW, do you actually believe the stuff you make up. Even Fox news is not this nutsy.

Our real problem with the nukes in this nation is that NRC keeps relicensing aging units that have over-filled pools for spent fuel rods.

There's obviously huge problems caused by the Fukushima disaster, and just as China is expanding with coal, so Japan is joining the nations going for short term energy at the expense of our biosphere. Doesn't make it right.

RonW
05-31-2014, 09:34 PM
Sorry Ian. but the world is not going to run off of sun and wind, it just won't work. You have to use what you got till you find something better.

And you got to quit blaming fox news and Bush for all the failures of the left.

Ian McColgin
05-31-2014, 09:44 PM
RonW, energy is a complex issue with no perfect solutions at hand now. But I made a couple of specific points where I can find no factual basis for your statements. Energy is too important and too complex to be clouded with total fabricated political bull. Back your claims or keep changing the topic as your best confession that you have nothing.

Captain Intrepid
05-31-2014, 09:46 PM
Sorry Ian. but the world is not going to run off of sun and wind, it just won't work. You have to use what you got till you find something better.

And you got to quit blaming fox news and Bush for all the failures of the left.

The entire plant used about 144 petawatt hours(1) of energy in 2008. It receives about 122 petawatt hours (2) of energy from the sun... every hour. For those without a calculator, the first figure is 0.013% of the second. Difficult sure, but incredibly possible.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy

RonW
05-31-2014, 09:58 PM
RonW, energy is a complex issue with no perfect solutions at hand now. But I made a couple of specific points where I can find no factual basis for your statements. Energy is too important and too complex to be clouded with total fabricated political bull. Back your claims or keep changing the topic as your best confession that you have nothing.

And what fabricated political bull would that be...My statement that we do not have the technology to run the world off of sun and wind..I thought that was common knowledge..

Your thread is about hazardous waste from nuclear bomb making, fine..And I say then why in the world would you want to make more nuclear waste by creating a bunch of nuclear generators replacing, coal, oil, and gas ..not the way to go..

Do a little research on thorium...

Ian McColgin
05-31-2014, 10:10 PM
You are dancing but not to any beat of the real world here, RonW. I made specific points where so far as I know you made factually untrue statements and asked if you could support them. So far you are declined.

You write as if I " . . . want to make more nuclear waste by creating a bunch of nuclear generators replacing, coal, oil, and gas ..not the way to go.. " [#17] which is a stunningly insulting untrue claim that cannot be supported by anything I ever said, wrote or even thought. It's not a discussion if you are going to carry on with such negligable regard for truth.

PeterSibley
05-31-2014, 10:19 PM
The entire plant used about 144 petawatt hours(1) of energy in 2008. It receives about 122 petawatt hours (2) of energy from the sun... every hour. For those without a calculator, the first figure is 0.013% of the second. Difficult sure, but incredibly possible.

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_energy_consumption
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy

It can be done and if it weren't for the fossil fuel interests would have been done by now.

RonW
05-31-2014, 11:03 PM
You are dancing but not to any beat of the real world here, RonW. I made specific points where so far as I know you made factually untrue statements and asked if you could support them. So far you are declined.

You write as if I " . . . want to make more nuclear waste by creating a bunch of nuclear generators replacing, coal, oil, and gas ..not the way to go.. " [#17] which is a stunningly insulting untrue claim that cannot be supported by anything I ever said, wrote or even thought. It's not a discussion if you are going to carry on with such negligable regard for truth.

Try reading my original post # 4. It should clear up your confusion as to who............oh wait I will post it for you..


Good post Ian....and you are right, now what are we going to do with all these half life nuclear cell rods from all these " so called clean" nuclear energy plants that berry and the liberals want to build, to save us from the dreaded oil and coal burning electric generating plants ??

Ian McColgin
05-31-2014, 11:13 PM
And you still keep spouting the falsehood that liberals are promoting nukes. It would also, by the way, be a falsehood to say that conservatives want to build nukes. There are no plants on the table. More nuclear power is not part of the discussion. The only folk mentioning it at all are right wing fossile heads who raise nukes as a phoney issue that if we reduce fossile, wind and solar cannot do it and therefore we would have to build nukes. It's not something anyone argues in good faith, just a stalking horse for right wig pawns of the Kochs and their lot.

As we use them now, solar and wind cannot do it. And no one is asking them to. We have all too many thermal and hydro resourses that are not just going to vanish over night. We can build, especially if we invest in smart grid with more decentralized generation, to a less environmentally destructive energy economy. And that's not even talking about the largest single sourse of energy available with existing technology - conservation. Despite some progress since the '70s, conservation remains the largest immediate potential energy 'sourse'.

So stop with the falsehoods about who supports nukes. Repetition has not made it true.

WI-Tom
05-31-2014, 11:47 PM
To me, it seems like the debate between nuclear energy vs. fossil fuels comes down to this question:

Frying pan, or fire?

Tom

Ian McColgin
06-01-2014, 06:41 AM
When the fat in the pan catches fire, does it matter much?

It is an important point. The fossile heads don't really care about nuclear because there's no money in new plants now and probably never will be again. Even if we had fool proof design, which we don't, and even if we had perfect construction practices which anyone who ever had a role in building a nuke (I was an electrician's helper at Trojan) knows is a farce, we have no realistic approach to spent fuel. The regulatory environment where nukes are possible, the old Allowance for Funds During Construction days of clost plus, are gone and investors have better ways to gamble.

We are destroying our biosphere by maintaining a fossile based monoculture the reaches through our industry, transport, agriculture, everything including this MacBook. If we do not change, we will die. We will not change so long as we subsidize the extractive energy industries.

hanleyclifford
06-01-2014, 08:24 AM
I think our energy brain went off the rails when we started building structures with windows that don't open.

Gerarddm
06-01-2014, 10:24 AM
Your observations are without value, Ron. So biased that they deserve no further comment, and I won't.

Bah. :-(

Ian McColgin
06-01-2014, 10:56 AM
It's a sprawling facility and the environmental consequences of just turning into a sand pit of such size, not to mention the shere scale of the work, made this not an option.

AndyG
06-01-2014, 11:38 AM
Difficult sure, but incredibly possible.

"It's always sunny in space." (http://spectrum.ieee.org/green-tech/solar/how-japan-plans-to-build-an-orbital-solar-farm)

Article describing JAXA's work.

Andy

David W Pratt
06-01-2014, 11:56 AM
One solution to wild fire danger is to go out and pick up the litter.
My sister worked at Los Alamos, she told me that they had a wall that was contaminated, so some genius decided to encapsulate it by painting it with a sugar solution. As a result, the fruit flies started transferring radioactivity to the workers lunches

Ian McColgin
06-01-2014, 12:11 PM
“I posted a workable solution, but one that works against your narative.” [#29]

Yeah. Right. Have you any clue how unrealistic, how totally out of context your view is?

Try reading the 2009 plan at http://www.losalamosnm.us/parks/trails/Documents/Los%20Alamos%20County%20Community%20Wildfire%20Pro tection%20Plan%20OPT.pdf

Then carry on to read how well it didn’t work in 2011. Like at http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/06/28/us-wildfires-losalamos-idUSTRE75R12820110628

The bring yourself up to date by reading the OP and give a try at realistic thought. This is an amazingly complex problem, exacerbated by bad past ideas like the fruit flies and the change from all clay to “organic” kitty litter as a packing agent. Trivializing the issue is stunningly lame.

The lesson here is that it is now too late to find something that will work now. There is no approach that will work at this point and it's even too late to just move the stuff. We are falling back on prayer for this fire season. If we get away with it, maybe they will do better next winter. If not, don't stay down wind.