I remember the petitions and the protests against WIPP, the waste isolation pilot plant, in the early nineties in New Mexico.
WIPP is an underground storage facility for nuclear waste outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico, that as of mid February is reportedly undergoing a significant “incident” which is being opaquely covered by very few media sources. Originally, the federal government stated that there was no release of radioactive materials, however, there have been information leaks which suggest that plutonium-contaminated air was released in large quantities and that ongoing radiation is being blown into surrounding areas.
Because the radiation levels are so high at the site, no one has been able to actually go to the spill area to see what and how much has been released. There is also no real information about what exactly is happening underground.
Because there are a variety of radioactive materials at the site, including tools, rags, etcetera, there is some concern that due to a process known as “radiolysis”, the leaking radiation could cause further issues. If those materials break down and mix together they could spontaneously combust in a gigantic explosion. If that were to happen, everything within a one hundred mile radius (perhaps farther reaching depending on the winds) would be in grave danger.
Like most other controversial issues facing us today, it is rather difficult to find facts. There are many indications of government cover-ups and of fanatical suppositions. It seems that, like Fukushima, the immediate news has been an attempt to underplay the gravity of the situation. It also seems that as the reality becomes grimmer, there are continued attempts to release as little information as possible without setting off any alarms. As more people are becoming aware, however, there will have to be some kind of official statement that will answer some basic questions. Like Fukushima, by the time we, the people, know what’s really going on, it might be too far after the fact to attempt acts of personal safety.
It’s worth paying attention to globally, as we have found out from Japan’s disaster. Perhaps international inquiry would support local concerns and help to push for truth. This kind of contamination infiltrates our air, our waters and our sense of fear. This ‘New Mexi-Shima’ looks like one more failure of the nuclear age.