Saturday, May 17, 2014

US Department of Energy Releases Update on Radiation Leak at Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico, Container with Broken Lid Identified

(UPDATE 5/20/2014) Possible culprit: kitty litter. See my new post.


And it was a container from Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

The first report of radiation leak (plutonium) from the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) that necessitated the evacuation of workers and plant shutdown was in February this year.

From Department of Energy WIPP Update (5/16/2014):

New Information Provided About Possible Contributor to the WIPP Radiological Event

The Department of Energy issued the following statement today regarding new information generated during the May 15 entry into WIPP:

Since the February 14 radiological release, the Department and its Waste Isolation Pilot Plant have been working deliberately to safely determine the cause of the release. The team that entered the underground facility yesterday was able to get additional visual evidence that shows a damaged waste container, identified as one from Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In the new pictures, the LANL container has a cracked lid and shows evidence of heat damage. Workers will continue investigating to determine what caused the container breach and if any other containers were involved or damaged,” said a DOE spokesperson.

Community Meetings Scheduled

May 20 – A WIPP Recovery update will be provided at the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County Annual Meeting. The update, which will be provided by a member of the NWP Communications team, is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Location: Hobbs Country Club, 5001 W. Carlsbad Highway.

May 22– The City of Carlsbad and DOE will co-host its weekly meeting featuring updates on WIPP recovery activities. The meeting is scheduled today at 5:30 p.m. Location: Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halagueno Street. Live streaming of the weekly meetings can be seen at

"Evidence of Damaged Drum in Panel 7, Room 7" from DOE WIPP "Photo and Video" section (more photos at the link):

"The May 15 entry into Panel 7, Room 7 produced this photo of a waste container (left) with its lid unsealed and apparent heat discoloration."

There is a video of re-entry to WIPP on May 15, 2014.

According to Japan's NHK reporting on the DOE update, it may take at least three years before the facility resumes operation.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

(OT) Head and Shoulders Topping Pattern in Japan's Nikkei Weekly Chart?

Uh oh... Is about the only "success" story of so-called "Abenomics", Nikkei Stock Index, in danger of collapsing?

If this "head and shoulders" topping pattern (10 months in the making) plays out, the target seems somewhere below 11,500. There is not much of a support until 10,200 or so.

I'm sure Bank of Japan's Governor Haruhiko "wages are rising even as they are falling for 22 months" Kuroda will do whatever it takes to prop up the market.

Or in this new normal world, the topping pattern is actually bullish, signaling the central bank's intervention and sending the stock market even higher.

US Ambassador to Japan Visits #Fukushima I NPP with Her Son, Praises Workers for Dedication and Determination

From TEPCO's Photos and Videos Library (English), 5/14/2014:

On the operating floor of Reactor 4, overlooking the Spent Fuel Pool. From the left, Chief Decommissioning Officer Masuda, Ambassador Caroline Kennedy, TEPCO's CEO and President Hirose:

Ambassador Kennedy speaking with a female TEPCO employee in the Anti-Seismic Building:

So it is true that TEPCO now has female workers working at the plant...

UK's Daily Mail (5/14/2014) has a short video clip of Kennedy speaking to the press, with her son Jack:

"...very grateful for the chance to see. It is hard to visualize and understand the complexity of the challenge when you just read about it. So this was a very informative visit, and I'm very grateful to all those who are working here every day and those who showed us around."

"We stand ready to help in any way we can, going forward."

Ambassador Kennedy's statement, from the press release by the US Embassy in Tokyo:



14-13R May 14, 2014

Ambassador Caroline Kennedy Statement
on Visit to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant

Earlier today, I visited the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Station. I am grateful to the Tokyo Electric
Power Company and relevant Japanese government authorities for making this visit possible.

I was struck that more than three years after the tragic events of March 11, 2011, the destructive force of the
Great East Japan Earthquake and the resulting tsunami are still visible. TEPCO and Japan face a daunting task
in the cleanup and decommissioning of Fukushima Dai-ichi. Decommissioning will take years of careful
planning and arduous work, under difficult conditions. Today, I was able to see firsthand these challenges, and
I gained new appreciation for the dedication and determination of the workers at the Fukushima site.

Immediately following the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident, the United States—through the Department of Energy,
the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and other agencies—began supporting the Government of Japan and
TEPCO in response efforts, decommissioning, and cleanup activities. We are committed to providing support
as long as it is necessary. At Fukushima Dai-ichi, I saw examples of the assistance we provided, as well as the
continuing partnerships between TEPCO, U.S. Government agencies, U.S. national laboratories, and U.S.
companies. The United States Government will offer our experience and capabilities, in particular, toward the
near term resolution of ongoing water contamination issues. We welcome Japan’s steps toward ratification of
the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage which will make it easier for American
and other international firms to add their expertise to Fukushima cleanup and decommissioning efforts.

Tomorrow, I will have an opportunity to visit a wind turbine and a power substation in the Fukushima Floating
Wind Farm Demonstration Project. This project is one of the symbols of the Tohoku region’s recovery from
the Great East Japan Earthquake. It is one of many examples of how the Japanese people have realized new
opportunities, even in the midst of great tragedy. Such projects are creating new employment and industries,
as well as potential trade opportunities. The United States looks forward to continuing a strong cooperative
relationship with Japan in the energy security and clean energy arenas, in addition to our ongoing assistance in
the Fukushima region.