Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Santa Fe Reporter: What's Next? & New Mexico's Worst Case Scenario?

Santa Fe Reporter
June 30 - July 6, 2010

"What's Next? -- The disaster in the Gulf is no anomaly. It's an arrow pointing toward future disasters" page 16 and "New Mexico's Worst Case Scenario?" page 21 below:

"New Mexico's Worst Case Scenario?"


"Last Oct. 26, federal scientists warned US Energy Secretary Steven Chu about the potentially disastrous consequences of a large earthquake near Los Alamos National Laboratory.

In its report, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board said a quake could cause LANL’s plutonium to catch fire, creating a radioactive cloud that could kill not only lab workers but people living nearby.

DNFSB Vice Chairman John E Mansfield said Chu must take “definite, measurable, and immediate” steps to batten down LANL’s plutonium.

Four months later, Chu replied that a deputy, James J McConnell (who did not return SFR’s call), would oversee efforts to reduce the risk. What efforts?

Chu’s written response says his department has devised “incentives” of $1.3 million for the private contractor overseeing LANL to develop safety upgrades.

That’s roughly seven-tenths of 1 percent of LANL’s budget.

Three days after DNFSB issued its frightening report, the Energy Department awarded $5 million to a drilling project 50 miles from LANL that could contribute to the earthquake risk.

The award went to Jemez Pueblo for the drilling of two exploratory wells, intended to assess the geothermal energy resources near Indian Springs. Geologists are well aware that certain types of geothermal production can cause earthquakes."

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