Chris Harris, former licensed Senior Reactor Operator and engineer, June 19, 2014 (at 33:45 in): I do believe the part about it being a hydrogen explosion [at WIPP]– due to the decomposition of the green kitty litter — that causes a whole bunch of problems, and one of them is that this is a huge dirty bomb. >> Full interview here
Insight New Mexico interviews Don Hancock, director of the Nuclear Waste Safety program and administrator at Southwest Research and Information Center, June 12, 2014 (at 4:00 in): They haven’t been able to physically get to the one or more containers that… exploded, or had some kind of a deflagration. They had pictures of one container that’s clearly breached, has holes, the lid is off, there are signs that there’s melting around, small amounts of fire, etc… So clearly something major happened. We still don’t know how many containers are involved, I think it’s very likely that its more than the one… the reason I think there’s probably more than is while this particular container has 16 or 17 curies of plutonium and americium [592 billion to 629 billion becquerels] in it, which is a much larger amount than what the average container is, there are containers including ones sitting right beside it that have more radioactivity. We don’t know how much came out, but from what we do know, it looks to me that it was more than what could have come out of a single container. >> Watch the fwull interview here
Nuclear Hotseat #156, with host Libbe HaLevy, M.A., June 16, 2014 — Hancock (at 28:45 in): I think the evidence is pretty strong that there has to be more than one breached container. But the container that is breached… there are 54 other containers from that waste stream in the same room… I’m pretty convinced and other people that have looked at the data are pretty convinced that there’s got to be more than this one container that has leaked… there could be another container nearby that in fact caused the breach and because of its explosion, that forced this other container to leak. […] This morning the House Appropriations Committee, the US Congressional House released a draft report that will be considered by the full committee tomorrow morning in which they in essence say that their understanding is the ventilation system at WIPP and the exhaust shaft are so contaminated that they can never be used again… a new ventilation system and new exhaust shaft [are needed]… clearly they’ve said some things to members of the Houseand people in the House believe that they’re not going to be viable to us those parts of the WIPP anymore. […] At this point there are still risks of additional events happening… it’s going to keep going on and on and on for quite some time.
KEPR, May 14, 2014 (Emphasis Added): Serious and sometimes fatal birth defects are much more prevalent right here than anywhere else in the country. Benton, Franklin and Yakima Counties are being hit the hardest by neural tube defects, from spina bifida to anencephaly [fatal defect where large part of brain/skull is missing]. “it’s scary that the cause of this is such a mystery,” said Candelaria Murillo. […] Rate of babies being born without a brain in our part of the state is eight times the national average.
AP and other media outlets put the figure at “at least four times the national rate”. However, the Yakima Herald reports: “[Officials] issued a news release Jan. 30 announcing that eight cases of anencephaly had occurred in Yakima County in 2012. Typically [they] expect only one all year.”
NBC News, June 17, 2014: Health officials, scientists and other experts gathered to discuss the cause of an alarming local spike in the disorder [...] [Local residents] wanted to know exactly how long the problem had been going on, whether it could be linked to diet, occupation, geography — or the Hanford nuclear plant in nearby Richland. State officials reiterated their previous answers — no, no, no and no [...] “The next step is to interview the mothers and fathers of these babies,” [Allison Ashley-Koch, an anencephaly expert at the Duke University Medical Center for Human Genetics] said. “The challenge at this point is that many of these conceptions happened four years ago. So for parents to try and remember particular eating habits, environmental exposures and such is challenging.” […] “I believe it is an ongoing problem and I believe that the environment might have something to do with it,” Don Dufault said.
Oregon Public Broadcasting, June 16, 2014: Health officials have discounted several possible causes including: pesticide exposure, nitrates in water wells, and radiation from the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
Obstetrician Anita Showalter: “First thing I ask [...] what environmental thing might have happened [...] that we don’t know or understand yet?” [...] She wonders if there might be chemicals present [...]
CNN, June 1, 2014: Nearly two years after the state of Washington was alerted to a possible cluster of babies born with severe birth defects, experts are speaking out, criticizing the state health department for not doing enough to save babies’ lives. [...] The Washington Department of Health has steadfastly refused to interview the parents of these babies and has failed to accept offers of help from world-renowned anencephaly experts. “It really looks like they’re dragging their feet,” said Richard Finnell, a pediatric geneticist and birth defect expert at the University of Texas. He said that to find the cause of the cluster, state investigators need to speak with the parents of children with birth defects [...] But the state has not contacted these parents. [...] A team of experts [...] offered help to Washington investigators back in February but hasn’t received a response. “We’re frustrated that they’re not moving more quickly to find the cause,” said Janee Gelineau-van Waes [...] an associate professor of pharmacology at the Creighton University School of Medicine [...] “It’s very intrusive to start knocking on doors of people who’ve had a pretty major trauma in their lives,” [state epidemiologist, Juliet VanEenwyk] said. “That’s the lamest excuse I’ve ever heard,” said Billy Petersen, reflecting the viewpoint of several families interviewed by CNN whose children have neural tube defects. “We want to talk to them,” he said. “We’d do anything to help find out why our baby died and help other families. We don’t want anyone else to go through what we’ve been through.”
Watch KEPR’s broadcast here