A specialist thinks he has pinpointed the cause of a February radiation leak at a federal atomic waste dump — a packing material similar to kitty litter.
The firm responsible for preparing containers of radiation-contaminated materials for shipment from the Los Alamos National Laboratory to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant for underground storage changed the type of absorbent material in packing the containers, says Jim Conca, who previously worked at both the nuclear weapons facility and in environmental monitoring for the New Mexico repository.
The absorbent material is used to sponge up any liquid in the drums and remains in the containers when they are stored in the tunnels of the nuclear waste dump, the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported Conca as saying. This switch from a clay-based absorbent to a wheat-based filler material could have produced nitrate salts that caused a “mild” explosive reaction to occur in one of the drums, according to Conca, a science columnist for Forbes.
Officials from the Energy Department, which is still investigating the cause of the February leak, did not respond to Conca’s theory, nor did officials from Los Alamos or the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. Underground operations at the waste site have been halted since the leak occurred. An Energy Department statement earlier this month indicated that a chemical reaction in one of the drums sent over from Los Alamos could be responsible for the emissions release.
The official in charge of the recovery effort at the WIPP facility last week said it would probably take between 18 months and three years to fully reopen the nuclear repository.
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The Commission on Presidential Debates put out a statement today that gives credence to Donald Trump's claims that he had a bad microphone on Monday night. "Regarding the first debate, there were issues regarding Donald Trump's audio that affected the sound level in the debate hall," read the statement in its entirety.
"A video of Donald Trump testifying under oath about his provocative rhetoric about Mexicans and other Latinos is set to go public" as soon as today. "Trump gave the testimony in June at a law office in Washington in connection with one of two lawsuits he filed last year after prominent chefs reacted to the controversy over his remarks by pulling out of plans to open restaurants at his new D.C. hotel. D.C. Superior Court Judge Brian Holeman said in an order issued Thursday evening that fears the testimony might show up in campaign commercials were no basis to keep the public from seeing the video."
No matter that his recall of foreign leaders leaves something to be desired, Gary Johnson is the choice of the Chicago Tribune's editorial board. The editors argue that Donald Trump couldn't do the job of president, while hitting Hillary Clinton for "her intent to greatly increase federal spending and taxation, and serious questions about honesty and trust." Which leaves them with Johnson. "Every American who casts a vote for him is standing for principles," they write, "and can be proud of that vote. Yes, proud of a candidate in 2016."
"By all means vote, just not for Donald Trump." That's the message from USA Today editors, who are making the first recommendation on a presidential race in the paper's 34-year history. It's not exactly an endorsement; they make clear that the editorial board "does not have a consensus for a Clinton endorsement." But they state flatly that Donald Trump is, by "unanimous consensus of the editorial board, unfit for the presidency."