Time.com: Is Los Alamos Lab really safe from wildfire? — Additional plutonium problems?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
By Paul Martin

June 29, 2011:

Q&A: Is New Mexico’s Los Alamos National Laboratory Really Safe?, Time.com, June 29, 2011:

Peter Stockton, expert on nuclear materials and a senior investigator for the independent watchdog Project on Government Oversight (POGO)

[POGO] got tipped off in 2009 by a whistleblower that in PF-4—where the six metric tons of plutonium is […] they’ve painted over the sprinkler system so many times that it doesn’t work […] then it was determined that LANL had never tested the fire hoses in the building […] They found out about a year later that the pressure in the system isn’t great enough to get to the entire building, so they had to do something to mitigate that problem. […]

TA-54 contains 20,000-30,000 drums of waste, but just because it’s low-level waste doesn’t mean anything. If that becomes airborne, and just a speck of plutonium gets into your lungs, you’re going to end up with cancer down the road. It’s the most toxic substance known to man. It would be very nasty if those drums blew apart, and the wind carried them downwind. […]

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