Atomic Insights is not standing alone in the effort to push people and agencies to take a hard look at the basis for current radiation assumptions and regulations. Please watch Norbert Rempe, a retired professional geologist who spent much of his career performing work associated with the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, describe some of the costs and dangers associated with treating even the smallest measurable doses of radiation as hazardous.
Rempe played a supporting role in a story published by Current Argus News in February titled WIPP: 1 Year After the Accident.
In terms of safety, some would say that the fire was far more dangerous than the low-level radiation release.
Norbert Rempe, a retired geologist who worked at WIPP for over 20 years attends most WIPP meetings and openly criticizes WIPP officials.
Rempe has several concerns, including that WIPP and DOE officials still haven’t given a good estimate of the actual radiation still present in the underground.
“If you need to clean up a mess, you need to establish the size of the mess,” Rempe said.
Rempe said that what happened during the fire was far more dangerous then the radiation leak.
“These were my former colleagues who were potentially in danger, and it, the fire, could’ve caused a lot more damage then the radiation leak,” Rempe said. “Safety is their number one priority, but improving nuclear safety, for nuclear, trumped everything.”
Rempe explained that when the fire occurred, the ventilation system in the underground was shifted as if it were a radiological event, an act that made smoke inhalation more of an issue during the fire.
During his presentation, Rempe makes a number of important points about the costs associated with trying to enforce radiation protection limits that are a small fraction of the variations in normal background exposure around the world. He identifies an iron quadrangle of interest groups that benefit from excessive spending to clean up places that are already clean enough to prevent hazards to humans. They benefit because they are the recipients of the spending; they are on the revenue side of double entry accounting systems where one entity’s costs become another entity’s revenues.
It’s a lengthy presentation, but the slides are good and the delivery is informative and wryly amusing.