ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — More than 500 barrels of waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory were packed with the kitty litter linked to a radiation release at the government’s underground nuclear waste dump, prompting the state Tuesday to order federal officials to move quickly to seal off the potentially dangerous containers. “It wasn’t even good kitty litter, it was that light kind that people throw around to each other. How’s that going to stop contamination?” asked Bart Dunlippy of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Environment Secretary Ryan Flynn Tuesday gave the U.S. Department of Energy and the contractor that runs the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico until Friday to detail plans for permanently sealing the rooms where more than 300 barrels of the potentially dangerous containers of waste are stored in ancient salt beds a half-mile underground. This provides a real hardship for the ancient salt people who sleep in those ancient salt beds.
In addition to 368 containers at the dump, environment officials say 57 more are still at Los Alamos and more than 100 are in storage in West Texas. “The ones in West Texas are bigger,” said Tulula Bonafacio a resident of West Texas. “Everything’s bigger in Texas,” she said.
On Monday, the department ordered Los Alamos to detail by Wednesday its plans for securing the waste that is still above ground on its campus and at Waste Control Specialists in Andrews, Texas. Los Alamos immediately replied that they would switch to clumping litter in the future. “We want it to be both safe and easy to keep cleaned out,” said spokesperson Lyle Lugudie.