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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The House Intelligence Committee voted to release the November 14 testimony of Glenn Simpson, the man at Fusion GPS who oversaw the creation of the now infamous Trump-Russia dossier. Simpson's testimony includes a number of startling claims, including that Russia infiltrated conservative political groups prior to the election, and that Trump had "long time associations" with the Italian Mafia," and that he "gradually during the nineties became associated with Russian mafia figures." Simpson also testified that Trump called off a post-election meeting with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank and a longtime member of the NRA, currently under investigation by the FBI for money laundering. Simpson said that the discoveries were so alarming that he felt compelled to go to the authorities. The full text of the transcript can be read here.
House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has the votes to pass a short-term spending bill tonight, but "Senate Democrats said they're confident they have the votes to block the stop-gap spending bill that the House is taking up, according to two Democratic senators and a senior party aide. And top Senate Republicans are openly worried about the situation as they struggle to keep their own members in the fold."
"The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency." Investigators have focused on Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank "who is known for his close relationships with both Russian President Vladimir Putin and the NRA." The solicitation or use of foreign funds is illegal in U.S. elections under the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) by either lobbying groups or political campaigns. The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections.
"Hundreds of new and supplemental FARA filings by U.S. lobbyists and public relations firms" have been submitted "since Special Counsel Mueller charged two Trump aides with failing to disclose their lobbying work on behalf of foreign countries. The number of first-time filings ... rose 50 percent to 102 between 2016 and 2017, an NBC News analysis found. The number of supplemental filings, which include details about campaign donations, meetings and phone calls more than doubled from 618 to 1,244 last year as lobbyists scrambled to avoid the same fate as some of Trump's associates and their business partners."