Jul 17, 2007

Report details history of LANL operations

The CDC project team looked at autopsy data from nonlab workers who lived in Los Alamos and White Rock, and said: “The calculation demonstrates that excess plutonium is present in nonworker residents of Los Alamos over what would be expected from global fallout from nuclear weapons testing.”


Didn't LANL release a statement in response to the GAP report last week claiming that all of the plutonium in and around Los Alamos was from fallout? It appears that somebody was fibbing.


Excerpt from the report shown at right (click on it for larger version) mentions the Bayo Canyon RaLa tests conducted between 1944 and 1962, and the fact that the winds blow west towards the North Community 3.5% of the time, and east southeast (towards San Ildefonso, El Rancho, Jacona, Pojoaque) 11.9% of the time. Not of interest to the new "kiddies" who now work at LANL, but perhaps of some interest to those who have lived in Los Alamos a bit longer.

For those who don't know, radioactive lanthanum has an extremely short half life, but is a screaming hot gamma source.

--Gussie

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By ANDY LENDERMAN | The New Mexican
July 16, 2007

Project to be discussed at public meeting in Pojoaque

A massive project to catalog all historic radioactive and chemical releases from Los Alamos National Laboratory that could cause health problems is coming to Pojoaque this week for a public meeting.

Among early findings: Excess plutonium levels — beyond what would be expected from worldwide nuclear fallout from weapons testing — were present in some nonlab workers who lived in Los Alamos and White Rock during the Cold War,.

And the report offers many details about the Trinity Test, the world’s first nuclear test conducted in Southern New Mexico on July 16, 1945. In particular, details about radioactive fallout in the surrounding area and test preparations are offered, among other historical items.

The Los Alamos Historical Document Retrieval and Assessment project began in 1999 and is driven by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with help from contractors. A 533-page report on everything from plutonium processing to a list of accidents will be discussed Wednesday evening.

“LANL operations have not proceeded without health hazards or environmental impacts,” the interim report reads. “Approximately 30 people have been killed in incidents including criticality experiments and accidents with high explosives. Significant quantities of plutonium, uranium, and a wide variety of other toxic substances have been processed and released to the environment in quantities that in some cases are not well known.”

The report summarizes millions of documents from 1943 on and is not complete.

A lab spokesman referred questions about the report to a U.S. Department of Energy spokesman who was unable to immediately comment Monday evening.

The report touches on the former human tissue analysis program, a 35-year project by the lab to study plutonium levels in workers and the general population.

The CDC project team looked at autopsy data from nonlab workers who lived in Los Alamos and White Rock, and said: “The calculation demonstrates that excess plutonium is present in nonworker residents of Los Alamos over what would be expected from global fallout from nuclear weapons testing.”

The report also pinpoints where those people, who are not identified, lived.

Contact Andy Lenderman at 995-3827 or alenderman@sfnewmexican.com.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Ha, suck it you Santa Fe downwinders!

(Oops, I mean you LA/WR downwinders).

Anonymous said...

Come on Gussie! It wasn't a fib, it was "human error".

Anonymous said...

Info about the modifications in the most recent version of the report can be seen at http://www.lahdra.org/pubs/pubs.htm or you can read the report yourself by clicking
http://www.lahdra.org/reports/LAHDRA%20Report%20v5%202007.pdf

Anonymous said...

Today's Abq. Journal North section has an item about embezzeled Lab computer, monitor....

Anonymous said...

RaLa exposure is quite dangerous because it is such an energetic neutron source, but its half life ensures that it is not a long-term exposure risk. As a long-term resident, I am more interested in the more persistent health risks that can be attributed to LANL. I've dealt with the lab long enough to not trust their "official" claims that all rad exposures in and around Los Alamos are from global fallout sources.

Anonymous said...

More Milford Flat fire fallout news.

Anonymous said...

"For those who don't know, radioactive lanthanum has an extremely short half life, but is a screaming hot neutron source."

WTF? La-140 is a beta emitter.

Anonymous said...

More on the RaLa program at Los Alamos:

http://www.osti.gov/bridge/product.biblio.jsp?osti_id=233350

Gussie Fink-Nottle said...

It's also a gamma emitter:

Gamma rays and x rays--Both of these are high-energy emissions that easily penetrate the human body. They are, therefore, dangerous in high amounts as external radiation hazards. They can be stopped by dense materials, such as lead, concrete, or steel. Gamma rays are produced by isotopes such as lanthanum-140, cesium-137, and cobalt-60. X rays are produced by medical x-ray tubes and the x-ray machines used to examine carry-on baggage at airports.

Anonymous said...

"It's also a gamma emitter"

Of course, most beta emitters are.

But the Ba/La-140 is long gone. The contamination concern today is Sr-90 which carried along in trace amounts when they prepared the barium.

Regardless - no neutron emitters were involved.

Anonymous said...

Well, I say that if the if the good citizens of Los Alamos want a production plutonium pit fab facility, then they should have it. Years later most of them will die of cancer, and if that isn't kismet, I don't know what is.

Same goes for the good citizens of Santa Fe, if they allow their good neighbors in Los Alamos to build and staff that shiny new pit production complex.