WIPP’s Refusal On Public Accountability

Since the incidents at WIPP in February the city of Carlsbad has been holding periodic town hall meetings to update the public on the situation at WIPP. These meetings have been broadcast online and the public has been allowed to ask questions via online submission. That sadly hasn’t obligated DOE or the contractor running WIPP to actually answer them or even take them seriously. It isn’t just the public attending the meetings online but those who showed up in person to sit in on the meetings that have expressed considerable frustration with the non answers and sometimes outright scoffing at the public that has been going on.

The questions below came from some members of our research team and a number of random individuals that showed up to ask questions. We shared all the questions, not just ours as their questions are just as valid as ours and deserve answers. These questions relate to the current safety situation at WIPP and the potential for other undesired outcomes. DOE and the contractor’s lack of accountability to the general public is concerning. This is a sad but somewhat expected behavior by DOE and the contractor. Both still act like the public exists in an ignorant, uninformed 1960’s world. People are more educated and have access to much more information than they did fifty years ago. DOE & the contractor’s lack of transparency and accountability must change.

Previous meetings, chat logs and upcoming meetings can be found here on Livestream:
The next town hall meeting is to be held tomorrow, Thursday the 5th at 5:30pm Carlsbad time (Mountain Time)

WIPP’s unanswered questions:

Questions not answered:

The status of criticality safety evaluations on LANL barrels and any other waste coming into WIPP, have these been done, why not?

Situation of about 2 out of 10 inventory record for room 7 are missing/blank.

Someone asked for the incoming xrays taken of the drums that exploded, that the xrays be posted publicly.

Are either INL or SRS taking actions similar to LANL related to any of the waste streams still at those sites?

DNFSB letter to doe and udall… about them redoing their safety basis, and performing a FORMAL OPERATIONAL READINESS ASSESSMENT prior to restart?

Who supplied the ‘kitty litter’?

Who has the contract for the absorbants?

How much Pu is in panel 7?

Are the interaction rates used in the accident analyses for the inerting material interaction with the non-pit weapons grade plutonium in the containers?

What is the design pressure for the LANL type barrels?

Has the diatomaceous earth used to inert the Savannah River non-pit weapons grade plutonium converted to puox in the 51 barrels in question been tested against heat and blast impacts?

What is the proximity of the 51 barrels plutonium oxide barrels from Savannah River to the LANL barrels that are currently suspect?

Question for WIPP and DOE..will you abide by the DNFSB recommendations to upgrade WIPP safety basis, the engineered safety features and conduct a formal Operational Readiness Review prior to operation

Have you inspected the 51 barrels of surplus non-pit weapons grade plutonium from Savannah River that are stored in panel 7 room 7, what is their condition?

PLEASE FOLLOW UP – Tammy Reynolds responded to Q: “When did NWP or DoE notify NMED about kitty litter changes” by saying “I don’t know off the top of my head – I’ll have to get back to you” – So I’ll ask again: When did they tell NMED that they had switched from inorganic to organic kitty litter to absorb excess liquid in the waste containing nitrate salts?

Why is the infoctr (at) wipp.ws no longer responding to questions?

Have the Counts per Minute (CPM) readings from the recent swips brought back by the Room 7 investigation team been publicly posted?

Has any analysis been run on the potential for these other LANL barrels to have an event?

Question for DOE or WIPP.. will you guarantee that the Keff in the damaged barrel is less than 1? Criticality analysis done for the barrels at WIPP says the Keff is .9,, which is only .1 away from

Exactly how much Plutonium Oxide currently resides at WIPP?

DOE Order 5481.1B requires significant modification to the WIPP FSAR if there is an increase risk from a new hazard such as the incident.. will the FSAR be modified .. for DOE or WIPP?

For DOE or WIPP.. have you used a thermal heat gun to point it at various containers to look for elevated temperatures in the drums?

An ignition source due to an electrostatic discharge in a container is a credible event and even if vented gases can form within the containers .. are the containers grounded in panel 7 to prevent this?

My first question was supposed to be.. has DOE-WIPP followed the emergency procedures for the spilled Magnesium Oxide that are listed on the MSDS sheet to isolate the area until secured?

image credit } hcrenewal.blogspot.com

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