Workers found contaminants in higher quantities as they moved into part of a Western nuclear-waste site vacated in February, the Associated Press reports.
Crews would need to re-enter the subterranean corridors of New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant a fifth time to isolate the source of airborne radioactive materials detected there, according to Thursday remarks by Tammy Reynolds, deputy recovery chief for the U.S. Energy Department. Underground portions of the site have been off-limits to personnel following a contamination incident, which came days after a vehicle caught fire inside the facility.
Reynolds said U.S. personnel hope to obtain further details next week. Crew members had to end their most recent venture into the site after five hours on Wednesday, as temperatures rose inside their protective clothing and power for their breathing apparatus dwindled, AP reported.
The Energy Department official said the entry team investigated both of the facility’s waste rooms that had not previously been permanently closed off. Waste is entombed in five additional storage “panels,” but workers rendered the airtight chambers permanently inaccessible after they reached capacity.
“It doesn’t seem to us that the contamination came from Panel 6, that the source came from Panel 7,” Reynolds said. Panel 6 had been completely filled but not closed off, making the latter chamber the only area receiving waste at the time of the incident.
Personnel might receive help from robotic equipment as they attempt to determine the source of the escaped contaminants, according to AP. Suspected culprits include a waste barrel possibly punctured by moving equipment, or by or a ceiling that may have fallen.
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Much has been made of David Brooks’s recent New York Times column, in which confesses to missing already the civility and humanity of Barack Obama, compared to who might take his place. In NewYorker.com, Jeffrey Frank reminds us how critical such attributes are to foreign policy. “It’s hard to imagine Kennedy so casually referring to the leader of Russia as a gangster or a thug. For that matter, it’s hard to imagine any president comparing the Russian leader to Hitler [as] Hillary Clinton did at a private fund-raiser. … Kennedy, who always worried that miscalculation could lead to war, paid close attention to the language of diplomacy.”
“We haven’t seen a true leftist since FDR, so many millions are coming out of the woodwork to vote for Bernie Sanders; he is the Occupy movement now come to life in the political arena.” So says Bill Maher in his Hollywood Reporter cover story (more a stream-of-consciousness riff than an essay, actually). Conservative states may never vote for a socialist in the general election, but “this stuff has never been on the table, and these voters have never been activated.” Maher saves most of his bile for Donald Trump and Sarah Palin, writing that by nominating Palin as vice president “John McCain is the one who opened the Book of the Dead and let the monsters out.” And Trump is picking up where Palin left off.