LOCAL SHERIFF IS INVESTIGATING.
FACILITY BASICALLY PARALYZED AND ISOLATED DUE TO ICE AND SNOW...ROADS ALMOST IMPASSABLE INTO FACILITY.
CAN EMPLOYEES GET IN OR OUT?
WIPP ASKS FOR STATE HELP, ISSUES LEVEL 1 EMERGENCY ACTIVATION.
"Robert Staffel was a quality assurance employee.
Phil Breidenbach, NWP president and project manager [said] “We will continue to support the investigation into Mr. Staffel’s death.”
SEVERAL ARTICLES IN NEW MEXICO'S MEDIA HAVE REPORTED ON WIPP'S FAULTY DESIGN, LACK OF PROPER AIRFLOW UNDERGROUND, THE HASTY "FIX" THAT WASN'T A FIX, BUT NO MENTION OF VENTILATION PROBLEMS AT OLD WIPP WHEN A MAN IS FOUND DEAD...
WIPP was a DOE disaster from the start(SCROLL DOWN TO THE ABOVE HEADLINE ON THAT WEBSITE)
THE WIPP FACILITY has insufficient air flow in the underground mine.
This problem has its origin in an unconscionable decision by Department of Energy managers several decades ago.During the WIPP construction, DOE headquarters proposed eliminating the air supply shaft as a supposed cost-saving measure.
Managers in the DOE Albuquerque field office mindlessly concurred, despite strong objections raised by an internal engineering review.
The DOE executives then awarded themselves cash bonuses for this bogus cost savings.
After WIPP was built, the underground airflow – not surprisingly – was found to be inadequate.
An air supply shaft was then constructed at significantly higher cost than the original concept.
But the underground configuration was such that the resulting air flow rate was necessarily lower than it would have been with the original design.
The WIPP ventilation debacle is but one of an endless series of costly fiascoes demonstrating that DOE is intellectually and morally bankrupt.
THAT SAME FAULTY VENTILATION SYSTEM WAS DUE TO BE OVERHAULED YET AGAIN THIS PAST OCTOBER.
"The IVS consists of two fans that draw air from out of the underground and of High Efficiency Particulate Air filter units that filter the air in the underground before it is released into the environment.
Duct work also needs to be installed to connect the IVS to the existing ventilation system at the site.
The IVS will be used with already existing HEPA filters and fans at the facility, "significantly increasing the overall amount of airflow in the underground."
With increased airflow in the WIPP underground it will increase the amount of work that can be down in the underground at once, as well as allow more diesel-fueled equipment to be used."
HAD WIPP GOTTEN AROUND TO THAT YET, OR WAS IT STILL INSUFFICIENT FLOW WHEN THIS MAN DIED?
KNOWING THAT IT WAS UP FOR REPAIRS YET AGAIN, SHOUDN'T WE WONDER IF THIS MAN WAS BELOW GROUND LEVEL WHEN HE DIED, AND IF HE HAD SUFFICIENT AIRFLOW DOWN THERE, OR NOT?
IF HE WAS MY RELATIVE, I'D BLOODY WELL WANT TO KNOW.
WIPP HAD BEEN CLOSED FOR TWO DAYS
DOESN'T THE DOE MANDATE FACILITIES TO MAKE PREPARATIONS FOR ALL POSSIBLE NATURAL DISASTERS, EMERGENCIES?
IF WIPP WAS READY FOR INCLEMENT WEATHER, IT WOULDN'T NEED TO CLOSE!
Officials at an underground nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico say they have activated their emergency operations center in response to the severe weather that has hit much of New Mexico.
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has been closed for the past couple of days due to the inclement weather.
[WIPP IS A DEEP UNDERGROUND FACILITY.
DOES SNOW AFFECT THE UNDERGROUND SALT CAVERNS WHERE ALL THAT WASTE IS STORED?
IF EMPLOYEES WERE THERE WHEN THE 'INCLEMENT WEATHER' BEGAN, AREN'T THEY STILL THERE?
IF THEY LEFT AND THEIR REPLACEMENTS DIDN'T SHOW UP, WHO'S RUNNING THINGS?
WAS THIS MAN SCHEDULED TO LEAVE THE FACILITY AND DID NOT AND THAT IS WHAT PROMPTED HIS FAMILY TO SEARCH FOR HIS WHEREABOUTS?
MANY UNANSWERED QUESTIONS.]
The emergency operations center was activated Tuesday on a limited basis so resources could be coordinated to clear roads in the area so employees could return to work.
Officials say the roads were snow packed and icy.
ICE AND SNOW SLOWED ARRIVAL OF RESCUE SQUAD AND SHERIFF
The Eddy County Sheriff's Office said a man who was found unconscious at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant on Sunday is dead.
Emergency service responders were dispatched to WIPP at around 9:45 p.m. when the employee was found unresponsive at the facility located about 23 miles from Carlsbad.
The snow storm that blew through Southeast New Mexico and dumped 15 inches of snow in Carlsbad was in full force at that hour.
Chief Deputy Mark Cage said in a news release that the man was pronounced dead at the scene.
The cause of death is unknown and the sheriff's office is actively investigating the incident, said Sgt. Matt Hutchinson.
Hutchinson could not confirm whether the weekend snow storm was a factor in the man's death.
However, Hutchinson said because of the icy road conditions, it took emergency responders longer to reach the WIPP site.
"Snow is going to be a factor but only because of the time it took to get to them," Hutchinson said. "It took detectives, at a maximum speed of 20 miles per hour because of the weather, some time to respond too."
It was also not [initially] known what the man's job at the facility was."
TODAY, WIPP ANNOUNCED A LEVEL 1 EMERGENCY ACTIVATION
"...to support coordination of resources needed to safely restore normal operations at WIPP due to the recent severe snow storm in southeast New Mexico.
The icy and snow packed road conditions have made road conditions difficult for the workforce tocommute to the WIPP site.
Resources are being requested, both locally and from the state of New Mexico, to mobilize snow removal equipment to clear the north and south access roads and the WIPP parking lot.
A Level 1 EOC activation allows monitoring and coordination of resources by key emergency management and Department of Energy personnel.
Level 1 is the least severe of all EOC activation levels."
AND GREATER THAN LEVEL 1 WOULD PANIC THE POPULACE, RIGHT?
WIPP SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN OPENED...EXPERTS WARNED THE DOE MANY YERARS AGO.
NOW THAT IT'S FALLING DOWN, LEAKING LIKE A SIEVE, HOW CAN ANYONE ACTUALLY CLOSE IT?
IS THERE ANY WAY TO CLOSE IT SAFELY?
YOU MAY BE UNAWARE THAT IN OCTOBER THIS YEAR, AN OLD NUCLEAR WASTE DUMP EXPLODED IN THE NEVADA DESERT.
On Sunday of last week [October 18, 2015] a long closed radioactive waste dump ~100 miles northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada burned and exploded from "heavily corroded" 55-gallon drums of supposedly "low level" radioactive waste.
This waste is purportedly a step below the "medium-level" bomb and fuel slurry wastes that more recently has gone for long-term sequestration in the "troubled" (as in "exploding") and still closed deep salt mine WIPP facility near Carlsbad, New Mexico.
State officials said this week they didn't immediately know what blew up.
Federal records document 4.7 million cubic feet of radioactive materials were buried before the company lost its license and the facility was closed.
There is a 40-second cell phone video of white smoke and big explosions available here [please watch]. Note the size of the buildings in the background to the right of the burning/exploding trench for some perspective on how big these explosions were. A 20' x 30' crater was created, debris was scattered nearly 200 feet around and two drums of radioactive waste were blown outside the fence line of the 40 acre dump site.
Another 40 acre hazardous waste dump site next to this one is still operated by US Ecology and disposes of industrial PCB [polychlorinated biphenyls] waste. The company was fined nearly $500,000 by the EPA in 2008 when inspectors found leaking containers and operations logs documenting improperly vented smoke emissions contaminated with hazardous wastes.
Former US Senator Richard Bryan recalled hearings about what was going into the site when he was NV Attorney General
More on the Nevada fire:
Tests underway after fire put out at radioactive waste site
[Note: The fire was not "put out," it was allowed to burn itself out because responders had no idea what was burning and the explosions were big.]"
IF ANY READERS ARE RESIDENTS OF THAT AREA, WERE ANY EVACUATION SUGGESTIONS MADE, ANY DOOR-TO-DOOR NOTIFICATIONS?
I SERIOUSLY DOUBT IT.
NOR WERE RESIDENTS DOWNWIND FROM WIPP INFORMED, NOT WHEN THE FIRST 'ACCIDENT' HAPPENED, NOT NOW THAT THE FACILITY HAD TO CLOSE AND IS ASKING FOR STATE HELP, NOT EVER..
WE ARE ON OUR OWN, AMERICANS.