A February radiation leak will force tighter precautions at a nuclear-waste burial ground in New Mexico, the Albuquerque Journal reports.
Employees at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant will be expected “to wear protective equipment — coveralls, shoe covers and gloves — to make sure contamination doesn’t get on us and respirators so it doesn’t get in us,” Bob McQuinn, the head of the facility’s managing contractor, told the Journal for a Tuesday report.
Workers stopped entering the plant’s subterranean section after warning systems identified escaped contaminants on Feb. 14. Since the incident, signs of radiation exposure have turned up in at least 21 employees.
The exact source of the leak still remains unclear. The Obama administration, though, has indicated that the facility would ultimately begin receiving new waste from U.S. atomic laboratories, according to the Journal.
“The place that really has had no radiation protection issues now has, not more than the rest of the sites, but similar radiation protection hazards,” said McQuinn, president and project manager of Nuclear Waste Partnership.
“The formality of what we do is going to have to be strengthened,” McQuinn added. “Although there was training, we weren’t as good at formality of operations as we need to be.”
Facility workers this week received training to potentially use robotic equipment during restoration efforts at the storage site, the Carlsbad Current-Argus reported on Tuesday. The equipment came from Sandia and Los Alamos national laboratories, which are both also located in New Mexico.
The Energy Department since Sunday has sent specialists to Carlsbad, N.M., to prepare employees to install new filtration gear at the waste storage facility. The visiting crews came from the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
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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.