Last Friday, the Regional Coalition of LANL Communities received updates on the Feb, 14 radiological release at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad. LANL WIPP Recovery Leader and Principal Associate Director For Global Security Terry Wallace and Jeff Kendall, general counsel for the New Mexico Environment Department, provided the updates.
The event occurred just two weeks after a drum of radioactive waste processed at Los Alamos National Laboratory was placed at WIPP. The breached drum was part of a shipment from the 3,706 campaign to remove 3,706 cubic meters of above ground transuranic waste from lab property.
The campaign was 93 percent complete when the incident occurred and WIPP shipments were halted.
Wallace reported that 300 LANL scientists with a range of expertise have performed roughly 3,000 experiments to determine the cause of the breach.
That work has revealed some answers, but not definitive ones. Experts have determined that the breach in the drum was caused by a series of step-wise exothermic reactions.