Tag Archives: Accident

New Mexico nuclear plant workers exposed to radiation

New Mexico nuclear plant workers exposed to radiation 2 New Mexico nuclear plant workers exposed to radiation

Positive results for radiation exposure were found in 13 workers following a leak at the United States’ first underground nuclear waste repository near Carlsbad, New Mexico, an Associated Press report stated.
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Officials said that all employees were checked for external contamination before they left the Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) facility the day the leak occurred, but that biological samples were also taken to test for the possibility that they were breathing in radioactive particles.

The US Department of Energy and the Nuclear Waste Partnership, which manages the plant’s daily operations, are expected to hold a press conference on Thursday to discuss the test results.

“It is important to note that these are initial sample results,” the DOE and Nuclear Waste Partnership said in a joint statement. “These employees, both federal and contractor, will be asked to provide additional samples in order to fully determine the extent of any exposure.”

According to CNN, Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) spokesman Donavan Mager said the number of people exposed to radiation could not be confirmed due to the privacy rule under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. He did say the test results suggest exposure to the synthetic, radioactive metal americium.

The preliminary test results come just days after more airborne radiation was detected in the area surrounding the plant. Earlier this month, WIPP officials noticed a sharp rise in radiation levels, which they connected to a leak inside one of its underground tunnels. The plant is one of three deep nuclear repositories around the globe, storing nuclear waste 600 meters below the earth’s surface.

Since the WIPP’s creation in 1999, this is the first time it has been known to release any radioactive material. Officials told the AP that it may take weeks to learn what caused the leak. Even before this incident, a salt truck caught fire in a separate part of the facility, but that is believed to be unrelated.

Despite the record levels of radiation detected around the area, the DOE stated the readings fall “well below” the standards outlined by the Environmental Protection Agency, and that they do not pose a public or environmental threat.

New Mexico nuclear plant workers exposed to radiation New Mexico nuclear plant workers exposed to radiation

On Monday, the DOE’s Joe Franco and the NWP’s Farok Sharif held a community meeting to ease public fear over the situation. In response to a question from a local resident, Franco said, “there is no risk from this event that would be a hazard to you or your children.”

Regardless, the AP noted that Senator Tom Udall (D-N.M.) will ask the EPA to send portable air monitors to Carlsbad as a precaution.

“The health and safety of the Carlsbad community and WIPP personnel are my top priority,” he said.

Source: RT

Michigan man kills himself while demonstrating gun safety

Michigan man kills himself while demonstrating gun safety Michigan man kills himself while demonstrating gun safety

A Michigan man from Independence Township accidentally killed himself after reportedly firing a gun into his head while attempting to demonstrate how safe the weapon was.
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The 36-year-old man’s girlfriend told law enforcement that he’d been drinking throughout the day when the incident occurred Sunday evening. Police told the Oakland Press that when they arrived at the home, the girlfriend was performing CPR on the man. He was declared dead at the scene.

Authorities have declined to release the names of those involved until the family has been notified. The girlfriend had been living with the man at the time with her three children, aged seven, 10, and 12.

According to the Oakland Press, the man was explaining to his girlfriend that his three guns were safe when not loaded. Police said he put two guns to his head and pulled the trigger, but when he did the same with the third gun, it discharged and a bullet went into his head.

“(The situation) is pretty unique, as I have never heard of anyone testing out the safety of a gun by pointing at their head and pulling the trigger,” Undersheriff Michael McCabe told the newspaper.

The man’s death has been ruled a suicide by the Oakland County Medical Examiner.

There have been numerous incidents related to accidental gun discharges over the last few years. Last week, a Florida man accidentally shot himself in the leg after leaving a gun safety class and manipulating his weapon in the parking lot. He was taken to a hospital and treated.

Just two months ago in Michigan, the vice president of the United Automobile Workers union, General Holiefield, mistakenly shot his wife in the stomach while cleaning a loaded gun. Fortunately, she survived the incident, and Holiefield pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges.

In August 2013, meanwhile, the instructor of a gun safety class in Ohio accidentally shot one of his students while he was demonstrating the firearm to the class. He apparently did not realize the gun was loaded, and the boy survived after being struck in his arm.

Source: RT

Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima

Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima Study claims USS Reagan crew exposed to extremely high levels of radiation near Fukushima

A new report on the nuclear crisis that started to unfold in Fukushima, Japan almost three years ago suggests that American troops who assisted with disaster relief efforts were exposed to unheard of radiation levels while on assignment.
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Kyle Cleveland, a sociology professor at Temple University Japan, makes a case for that argument in an academic paper published in the Asia-Pacific Journal this week titled Mobilizing Nuclear Bias: The Fukushima Nuclear Crisis and the Politics of Uncertainty.

According to Cleveland, transcripts from a March 2011 conference call obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request shows that United States servicemen on the USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier experienced radiation levels 30-times above normal during relief operations that week.

During that March 13 phone call, Cleveland wrote, Troy Mueller — the deputy administrator for naval reactors at the US Department of Energy — said the radiation was the equivalent of “about 30 times what you would detect just on a normal air sample out at sea.”

“So it’s much greater than what we had thought,” Mueller reportedly warned other American officials after taking samples on the Reagan. “We didn’t think we would detect anything at 100 miles.”

After Mueller made that remark, according to Cleveland’s transcript, Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel Poneman asked him if those levels were “significantly higher than anything you would have expected.”He responded yes.

When Poneman later asked Mueller, “how do the levels detected compare with what is permissible,”Mueller said those on the scene could suffer irreversible harm from the radiation within hours.

“If it were a member of the general public, it would take — well, it would take about 10 hours to reach a limit,” he said. At that point, Mueller added, “it’s a thyroid dose issue.”

If people are exposed to levels beyond the Protective Action Guideline threshold released by the Energy Department, Cleveland acknowledged in his report, radiation could have ravaged their thyroid glands.

When approached for comment by reporters at the website NextGov, however, Navy spokeswoman Lt. Cmdr. Sarah Flaherty said in an email that the crewmembers aboard the USS Reagan were never at danger of such exposure.

“Potentially contaminated personnel were surveyed with sensitive instruments and, if necessary, decontaminated. The low levels of radioactivity from the Fukushima nuclear power plant identified on US Navy ships, their aircraft, and their personnel were easily within the capability of ship’s force to remedy,”Flaherty said

The latest report, NextGov’s Bob Brewin wrote, comes only days after the attorneys representing 79 USS Reagan crewmember filed an amended lawsuit in California against Tokyo Electric Power Co., or TEPCO., which has been accused of negligent with regards to maintain the Fukushima nuclear facility ahead of the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami that started the emergency.Attorneys for those servicemen are asking TEPCO for $1 billion in damages, and say that the infant child born of one of the crewmembers since the incident has a rare genetic disorder likely brought on by radiation exposure.

Attorneys in that suit say that “up to 70,000 US citizens [were] potentially affected by the radiation,” and might be able to join in their suit.

Source: RT

New Mexico nuclear waste site has ‘radiological event’

new mexico nuclear leak New Mexico nuclear waste site has ‘radiological event’

Officials are monitoring the levels of airborne radiation at the deep underground facility in southeastern New Mexico where the US government disposes of its low-grade nuclear waste.

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Air samples were taken around the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) after a monitoring system detected traces of radiation on the underground levels of the facility around 11:30 pm Friday night, the US Department of Energy said in a news release.
The 139 workers above ground at the time of the incident were ordered Saturday to remain where they were as a precaution. None of the employees tested positive for radioactive contamination, and all non-essential personnel were released, Department of Energy spokesman Roger Nelson said.

Nelson said the cause of the leak remains a mystery, since inspection crews have not yet gone underground. He added that he was not sure when that would happen.

Surface samples show no sign of radiation, thus suggesting the leak was “not significant,” he said.

But officials aren’t taking any chances.

“We are going to take measurements and make sure we understand it” before sending down a team, Nelson said.

US Rep. Steve Pearce issued a statement, saying: “WIPP has acted quickly and cautiously to ensure the safety of personnel and the local community.”

The incident comes on the heels of an underground truck fire at the facility that prompted an evacuation. Six workers were treated for smoke inhalation on Feb. 5.

Asked if the incidents were related, Nelson said: “I just can’t think of a scenario where there would be a relationship.”

WIPP is the country’s only deep nuclear waste facility. It takes plutonium-contaminated waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory and other federal nuclear projects.

It is located approximately 26 miles (42 kilometers) east of Carlsbad, New Mexico, in a region known as the southeastern New Mexico nuclear corridor, which also includes the National Enrichment Facility near Eunice.

Source: RT

 

Innocent man beaten and tasered by California police for signaling he is deaf

cop tasered and beaten deaf man Innocent man beaten and tasered by California police for signaling he is deaf

A California man was allegedly beaten and tasered multiple times by four police officers while attempting to signal that he was deaf. Now, he’s suing local law enforcement.
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The suit was filed on behalf of Jonathan Meister by the Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, and claims police used excessive force and violated Meister’s civil rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The incident took place on February 13, when Meister visited a friend to pick up snowboarding equipment that was stored in his home. Suspecting a burglary, a neighbor called out to the man, who didn’t respond because he cannot hear.

When two officers arrived at the scene shortly after, Meister reportedly put his boxes down and tried to use hand gestures to tell them he was deaf. As he approached police, though, the officers supposedly grabbed his hands, turned him around, and attempted to handcuff him.

“Because he is deaf, Mr. Meister depends on using his hands while facing a person to communicate,” the lawsuit states, according to a local publication called the Daily Breeze. “The officers’ sudden aggression, which both caused pain and interfered with his ability to communicate, caused Mr. Meister reflexively to pull his hands away, hop back over the fence and step toward the gate … to create some space so that he could communicate.”

Police then became more physical with Meister, taking him to the ground with a stun gun. Two other officers had arrived at the scene by this time, and helped the other officials by striking Meister with their fist and feet. The Courthouse News Service reported that in the lawsuit, Meister said police then subjected him to multiple “punishing shocks” with tasers and were purposely “burning his flesh.”

Meister was eventually knocked unconscious and taken to a hospital, where he was charged with assault. Police described him as “aggressive and violent” in their report, but ultimately ended up dropping the charges and releasing him.

According to Courthouse News, Meister’s lawsuit claims the entire confrontation could have been avoided if Hawthorne police were trained to properly communicate with deaf individuals.

“We’re really concerned about the problem of law enforcement and people who are deaf,” said Meister’s attorney, Paula Pearlman, to the Daily Breeze. “He wasn’t doing anything other than trying to get away from people who were hurting him.”

The Hawthorne Police Department declined to comment on the situation.

Source: RT

TEPCO reveals record cesium level in Fukushima No. 1 well

fukushima1 TEPCO reveals record cesium level in Fukushima No. 1 well

A record high level of radioactive cesium has been found in groundwater beneath the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, it operator TEPCO revealed.
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On February 13, Tokyo Electric Power Co. reported 37,000 becquerels of cesium-134 and 93,000 becquerels of cesium-137 were detected per liter of groundwater sampled from a monitoring well earlier that day.

Water samples were taken from the technical well, located next to the second power unit, some 50 meters from the coast. These figures (the total reading) are the highest of all the cesium measurements taken previously.

Experts do not rule out that radioactive water is leaking from an underground tunnel, which is located close to the second power unit on the seashore.

However, no exact reason for such a significant increase of radioactive cesium content in the groundwater has been given so far.

Japanese newspaper The Asahi Shimbun reported that the amount of radioactive chemicals seems to be increasing. On Feb. 12, the same sampling well had produced a combined cesium reading of 76,000 becquerels per liter.

Earlier Japan’s nuclear regulator slammed the stricken Fukushima plant operator for incorrectly measuring radiation levels in contaminated groundwater at the site.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) accused TEPCO of lacking basic understanding of measuring and handling radiation almost three years since the reactor meltdowns at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant.

On Thursday, fears of new leaks surfaced in Japanese media, as the same newspaper reported two cracks in a concrete floor of the No. 1 facility near radioactive water storage tanks.

TEPCO suggested some contaminated water from the melting snow may have seeped into the ground through the cracks, stretching for 12 and 8 meters.

The leakage of radiation-contaminated water is posing a major threat to Japan’s population and environment and to the international community since the March 2011 disaster.

Source: RT

US Customs grounds drone fleet after $12 million unmanned aircraft crashes off of California

Drone US Customs grounds drone fleet after $12 million unmanned aircraft crashes off of California

The United States Customs and Border Protection has grounded an entire fleet of drones, the agency admitted on Tuesday, after a mechanical function the night before forced a crew to crash an unmanned aircraft valued at $12 million.
Continue reading «US Customs grounds drone fleet after million unmanned aircraft crashes off of California»

A spokesperson for the CBP said in a statement Tuesday that the drone, a maritime variant of the Predator B, was deliberately crashed into the Pacific Ocean near San Diego, California after it encountered problems shortly after 11 p.m. local time late Monday.

“The crew determined that the UAS would be unable to return to where it originated in Sierra Vista, Arizona, and put the aircraft down in the water,” the spokesman, Michael Friel, told reporters.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that the decision to bring down the aircraft was made by the Predator’s remote crew after they discovered that the drone’s onboard generator failed during an otherwise routine patrol mission off the California coast, and that the backup battery lacked the sufficient power needed to keep it in the air. The Los Angeles Times reported that the drone broke apart on impact, and Connie Terrell, petty officer and spokeswoman for the Coast Guard, told reporters that her agency erected a “buffer zone” off of the California coast following the crash so the CBP could recover what remained of the aircraft.

According to Reuters, the crew was still unsure of what exactly caused the mechanical failure as of Tuesday afternoon.

Prior to Monday’s incident, the CBP operated a fleet of ten drones that are operated regularly in order to patrol the US border with Mexico. That number diminished by one after this week’s crash, the agency has temporarily grounded the rest of their arsenal as a precaution while an investigation is launched to determine what exactly went wrong with the unmanned aircraft.

The CBP has been flying Predator B drones to patrol the region since 2005, and in fiscal year 2012 the fleet logged a total of 5,700 flying hours. Each craft can stay airborne for 20 hours at a time and may reach a height of 50,000 feet.

“The CBP UAS program focuses operations on the CBP priority mission of anti-terrorism by helping to identify and intercept potential terrorists and illegal cross-border activity,” the agency says on their website. “The Predator B’s capability to provide high-quality streaming video to first responders, and to assess critical infrastructure before and after events, makes it an ideal aircraft to support emergency preparations and recovery operations.”

Monday night’s crash marked the first time the CBP lost a drone since 2006, when an operating crew error caused a Predator to crash over Arizona only a few months after the program first started. When the National Transportation Safety Board investigated the incident, they determined that “the CBP was providing a minimal amount of operational oversight” ahead of the crash.

The use of unmanned aircraft have exploded across the US in the years since, and last year the Federal Bureau of Investigation admitted for the first time on record of administering a fleet of their own unmanned vehicles. The Federal Aviation Administration expects to have rules in place that will allow for the widespread use of drones in the domestic airspace by the end of 2015, but industry experts and privacy advocates are still struggling to find a way to ensure UAVs can soar freely without interrupting other air traffic or invading the privacy of the American people.

Monday’s crash comes two months after the US Navy lost a drone off the coast of San Diego. A Navy drone also crashed during a training mission in Maryland one year earlier.

Source: RT