U.S. laboratories failed to replicate a cat-litter reaction hypothesized to have ruptured a storage drum in an underground nuclear-waste dump, Reuters reports.
Neither Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico nor any of the nation’s other atomic research centers have produced the type of thermal reaction tentatively blamed for a February contamination release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Energy Department spokeswoman Lindsey Geisler said on Friday. The breach was theoretically caused by a cat-litter and nitrate-salt packing mix placed in hundreds of waste barrels at the Los Alamos facility.
“There’s still a lot we don’t know,” Geisler said. The waste complex near Carlsbad has remained largely off-limits since the release spread radioactive particles to 22 workers earlier this year.
The Energy Department is examining possible alternative methods of dealing with materials previously scheduled for shipment to the repository, Geisler added.
Fully resuming operations at the subterranean storage site may require up to 36 months, according to oversight officials. A lengthy recovery period would raise questions over how to handle waste containers previously slated for shipment to the facility from Los Alamos, Idaho National Laboratory and other locations, according to Reuters.
Meanwhile, the possibility of a contamination threat from problematic waste drums has focused new attention on a legal action against New Mexico’s state government, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported on Friday. The Southwest Research and Information Center’s 2-year-old lawsuit challenges New Mexico’s decision to permit use of a new type of waste container without first consulting the public.
State environment personnel stood by their actions in court last week, according to the New Mexican.
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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.