Saturday, December 12, 2015

Gray Matters: Making Sense (Cents) Of WIPP Incident


There has been extensive media coverage of the February 2014 release of radioactive material at WIPP, which has resulted in the shutdown of the facility.

The purpose of this column is to examine the incident and point out that there has been a massive over-reaction to the release resulting in a tremendous waste of taxpayer's money.

In more common terms it is “making a mountain out of a mole hill” and “much ado about nothing”. The incident should have resulted in a shutdown of the facility of no more than a week or two and then business as usual at the facility.

We will examine in some detail the radiation doses received by the workers and why there was nothing in the operational plans to accommodate releases as a part of the ordinary operations.

The name WIPP stands for Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and is totally inappropriate for the facility since it is now a permanent disposal of defense related to nuclear waste.

The proper name should now be Defense Nuclear Waste Disposal Site or more simply Nuclear Waste Disposal Site (NWDS). It is neither a plant nor a pilot plant.

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