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NEW MEXICO FINES US-DoE ENVIRON AGENCY FOR NUCLEAR WASTE BLUNDERS

 22 Dec 2014

On 7 Dec 2014, Regulators in New Mexico State fined the US government (US-DoE) Environmental Agency for over $54 million charging violations at a nuclear waste facility which resulted in a fire and two radiation leaks. Yea! Some “leaks” Hell! Two fires: one deep underground at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) an abandoned salt mine near Carlsbad. The other at the Los Alamos Laboratories, home of many low-level nuclear waste fires, recently and in the past (some of very significant magnitude).

NEW MEXICO GOVERNOR SUSANA MARTINEZ SAID: “The health and safety of New Mexicans will always be our priority and we have to hold federal agencies accountable for safe operations in the state” (My translation: Don’t mess with New Mexico, at least not anymore). Problem is: New Mexico is making it cheap for the US-DoE, Environmental Agency to continue their wrongdoings. You see, money they have! Our money!

THE NEW-MEXICO STATE ENVIRONMENT DEPT claims there were 37 violations of its hazardous waste permits on the part of the U.S. Department of Energy (US-DoE) Environmental Agency at its (WIPP) near Carlsbad, NM and another at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, NM; (just east of the WIPP) in separate nuclear incidents-both with significant long, and near term consequences.

CLEARLY BOTH INCIDENTS WERE THE RESULT OF SHODDY, INCOMPETENT, ACTIONS by “Nuclear Waste Partnership Inc” under contract to remediate both sites. We said it before, these people do not fully understand, or know what they have been contracted to do, or the dangers involved, and appear to be “milking the government”. The incident at the WIPP was so severe that the facility was declared off-limits for at least five (5) years or longer, and well into 2020. We believe such accidents have demonstrated the folly of underground nuclear waste storage; specially transuranic nuclear waste (what comes out of NPP reactors as “spent fuel”). Even when such high-level waste is “dry-casked” (Placed in very expensive stainless steel 20 foot tall thermos bottles) such high-level waste seldom stays put for more than 60 years, before it corrodes through the “casking” thus, necessitating “re-dry-casking” High –level (transuranic” radiation is pure hell!- A real Godzilla! (The Fukushima Dai No.1 NPP nuclear remediation crews know full well; just don’t ask TEPCO et-al, they lie a lot) The same dangers apply to the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Waste Repository (In Nevada) which was never used, and legally declared dead. However, with a Republican controlled Congress, it might be resurrected, and subterranean storage reconsidered. Ah! The folly of it all! The cold indifference/ignorance of our politicians is inexplicable. They talk a good game yet even when they do something good, it is for the wrong reasons.

THE NEW MEXICO BILL OF PARTICULARS ALLEGES that US-DoE) Environmental Agency is to blame for “major procedural problems” that caused a badly maintained salt truck to ignite on 7 Feb 2014 at the WIPP, causing its probably permanent closure. Separately  a Los Alamos National Laboratory barrel of low-level waste ruptured and ignited a week later. The leak at the WIPP resulted in 22 workers being exposed to low levels of radiation, “Nuclear Waste Partnership”, the contractor that operates the facility, said: “Their exposure is not expected to pose any threat to their health”. New Mexico said that the response by the US-DoE Environmental Agency and the contractor was “less than adequate”. Hell! We think it was cavalier.

THE TOTAL BILL FOR “LESS THAN ADEQUATE CONTRACTOR PERFORMANCE”: U S-DoE Environmental Management Agency faces $17.7 million in fines for violations at the WIPP, and another $36.6 million for Los Alamos Lab violations. According to the U.S. DoE, the cost for initial recovery of the WIPP is estimated to be around $240 million (nearly five times what New Mexico seeks in fines-they are such wimps!). What are a few hundred million in the scope of the Contractors wrongdoing? -Just a spit in the ocean; after all our government just passed a one-plus trillion Dollar budget for 2015. Just to think what those millions could do to help our education system, and to help our promising students with the dilemma of College: is it worth the huge debt? Folks, our government is misplacing its fiscal priorities, there ain’t no doubt about it! Not in my mind anyhow.

A HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015! AND A HEARTFELT “THANK YOU” to our readers in all corners of the world. We sense growing public awareness (thanks in part to the Internet which binds us in many parts of the world), and that is translating to political /social activism. We hope 2015 will usher a greater sense of social responsibility on the part of our Citizenry, elected officials, businessmen and Industrialists as, well as a reduction in graft/corruption; but above all, let there be peace among us, and an renewed sense of: “live and let live” without regard to religion or political affiliations. To the very wealthy we say: You can take it to Switzerland or the Antilles, but you can’t take it with you when your maker calls. Be generous to the needy, for it is in giving that we receive.

Your Friend in Texas,

Edward Oliver Gonzalez (gonzedo)

 

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December 22, 2014 at 5:54 AM Comments (31)