This can't be true, can it? Blame the cat litter? Really?
Sure it can. One small mistake or oversight or hangover or miscue is all it takes...
2014 The world uranium industry projects 50,000+ ton production figure.
Seems we still can't take out the garbage, and the privateers dump the problems on the public.
Credits: Matt Stroud on
Apart from the absurdity in a multibillion-dollar project halted by the decision to use off-brand kitty litter, the real lesson here may lie in the fragility of even the best nuclear storage facility. Corrective action at WIPP could be a massive undertaking. How many other barrels contain the dangerous organic cat litter? Are all of those barrels underground at WIPP? Are they awaiting shipment at surface level in places like Los Alamos? Or are they located at the temporary storage site in Andrews, Texas, where some containers were transferred when problems arose at WIPP?
"Expert assessment will be needed," writes Per Peterson, a professor and researcher at UC Berkeley’s Department of Nuclear Engineering, in an email shared with The Verge, to merely "determine whether the safety benefits of stabilizing or repackaging the material in these drums are justified by the risk to personnel who would attempt to do this work."
And if the DOE decides stabilizing or repackaging the material is unjustified, that would close WIPP for good.
"If that happened, it would be a shame and a disaster — particularly for taxpayers," says the retired WIPP geologist Rempe. The DOE estimates the total cost of the WIPP plant to be $7.2 billion.
Even if WIPP does begin operating again, "we have no idea how long this will take until WIPP is back to normal operations, or what the new normal operations will be," Rempe says. "No one knows right now. And it could be a long time before anyone knows." MOre...