Drum beat: Missing tag, mistaken assumptions may have caused problem container to go awry

-A A +A
By Roger Snodgrass

Investigators are beginning to unravel the story behind the 55-gallon barrel that recently had to be plucked from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and returned to Los Alamos National Laboratory for corrections.

The New Mexico Environment Department announced at the time that the disposal had been “improper” and related to “prohibitions on liquids.”

LANL officials acknowledged that a mistake was made and a drum containing radioactive waste was shipped to the Department of Energy’s WIPP site near Carlsbad, N.M., that should not have been sent.

LANL is awaiting ongoing investigations before commenting further, said LANL spokesperson Kevin Roark shortly after the problem was made public.

Several investigations are now in process. A preliminary report was released June 13 by David Moody, manager of the Carlsbad Field Office in charge of WIPP.

The report discusses why the drum got all the way into the underground repository before it was discovered and how the error was uncovered.

The drum was originally X-rayed in April 2004, when no deficiencies were found, according to background summary in the report. A year later, it was pulled for visual inspection, under provisions of the permit then under effect, which called for an additional examination of a certain percentage of the drums.

If you subscribe to the newspaper, you receive FREE access to all the exclusive content of the web site! Simply register to receive uninterrupted access to our award-winning and in-depth local online content!

Renew Current or Past Subscription / Register for Online Subscription

If you currently subscribe or have subscribed in the past to the Los Alamos Monitor, then simply find your account number on your mailing label and enter it below.

Click the question mark below to see where your account ID appears on your mailing label.

Newspaper Acct. ID:
Street Address:
(exactly as it appears on the label)

If you are a subscriber and you do not know your account ID or don't have a copy of your newspaper available that shows the information on the address label you can click continue below to search for your account.

New Subscription/30 Day Free Trial Account

If you are new to the award winning Los Alamos Monitor and wish to get a subscription or simply gain access to our online content then please enter your ZIP code below and continue to setup your account.

ZIP Code:

Create a limited access account.
Register to participate in community forums, post on the community calendar, blog etc. This registration does not give you full access to read our award winning content, etc.

The Los Alamos Monitor | lacirculation@lamonitor.com | 505-662-4185
256 DP Road, Los Alamos, NM 87544
Office Hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday