A delayed delivery of radiation-monitoring equipment scuttled a team’s planned Tuesday entry of a vacated nuclear waste site, the Associated Press reports.
The still-pending arrival of wearable radioactivity monitors prompted the Energy Department to delay sending a team into the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant’s subterranean corridors, spokesman Ben Williams said.
The group’s planned descent would mark the first venture by personnel into the New Mexico atomic-waste burial site since detectors there picked up the presence of airborne radioactive particles in February. The incident exposed no fewer than 21 employees to radiation and resulted in contaminants escaping to the outside environment in trace amounts.
Authorities have yet to determine the severity of radioactivity in the facility’s waste storage area, which is located more than 2,600 feet below the earth’s surface. The source of the original contamination leak also remains unclear.
Meanwhile, Los Alamos National Laboratory on Wednesday said it has started sending nuclear waste to a private site in Texas for temporary storage. Prior to February’s radiation leak, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant was receiving material that the New Mexico laboratory had pledged to send away by the middle of this year.
“Our commitment to the state of New Mexico is to remove the waste stored above ground so it would not pose a risk in the event of another wildfire in Los Alamos,” says an e-mailed statement by Pete Maggiore, an official with the Energy Department’s National Nuclear Security Administration.
Maggiore said the storage site in Andrews, Texas, “is the best option available to ensure the lab meets its commitment without delay.”
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Hillary Clinton hopes that television ratings for the candidates' acceptance speeches at their respective conventions aren't foreshadowing of similar results at the polls in November. Preliminary results from the networks and cable channels show that 34.9 million people tuned in for Donald Trump's acceptance speech while 33.3 million watched Clinton accept the Democratic nomination. However, it is still possible that the numbers are closer than these ratings suggest: the numbers don't include ratings from PBS or CSPAN, which tend to attract more Democratic viewers.
The US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned North Carolina's 2013 voter ID law, saying it was passed with “discriminatory intent." The decision sends the case back to the district judge who initially dismissed challenges to the law. "The ruling prohibits North Carolina from requiring photo identification from voters in future elections, including the November 2016 general election, restores a week of early voting and preregistration for 16- and 17-year-olds, and ensures that same-day registration and out-of-precinct voting will remain in effect."
An oil pipeline almost as long as the much-debated Keystone XL has won final approval to transport crude from North Dakota to Illinois, traveling through South Dakota and Iowa along the way. "The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers gave the final blessing to the Dakota Access pipeline on Tuesday. Developers now have the last set of permits they need to build through the small portion of federal land the line crosses, which includes major waterways like the Mississippi and the Missouri rivers. The so-called Bakken pipeline goes through mostly state and private land."
The U.S. economy grew at an anemic 1.2% in the second quarter, "well below the 2.6% growth economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal had forecast." Consumer spending was "robust," but it was offset by "cautious" business investment. "Since the recession ended seven years ago, the expansion has failed to achieve the breakout growth seen in past recoveries. "The average annual growth rate during the current business cycle, 2.1%, remains the weakest of any expansion since at least 1949."