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According to American Ecology, about 47 pounds of plutonium was disposed of at the Beatty, Nevada, facility. Also, US Ecology’s December 1994 plan to stabilize and close its disposal facility for low-level radioactive wastes at Richland, Washington, states that approximately 450 pounds of plutonium was disposed of at that facility, including about 270.3 pounds of plutonium-239. Finally, about 140 pounds of plutonium was disposed of at the Kentucky facility.GAOLRCED-98-40R Questions on Ward Valley http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0827/ML082760004.pdf

Approximately 24 hours after notification of a fire at a low-level radioactive storage site near Beatty, Nevada, the State of Nevada has determined that there are no known current health risks to area residents associated with the fire. Department of Public Safety Director Jim Wright has authorized the opening of U.S. Highway 95 beginning at 5:30 p.m.” Read the rest here: http://dps.nv.gov/media/PR/2015/Update_on_the_U_S__Ecology_Industrial_Fire_in_Nye_County/ They don’t say if they tested for alpha radiation, or beta, or only gamma. Had the smoke plume passed already?
Beatty Hazardous Waste Site
This is the Beatty Hazardous Waste Site. They are still putting hazardous, non-radioactive, waste in the area. It looks poorly kept.

Regardless, not to worry, anything which came out of the Beatty Dump has already flown over your head or been inhaled (or not) before you were warned. Too late to worry (unless it fell on your garden), but it is past time to get mad and start complaining to your government officials and everyone else you know, and stop the making and burial of radiioactive waste.

There is nothing low level about deadly Plutonium waste. Some may have turned into deadly Americium by now, depending on plutonium type – don’t be fooled. How much has oozed slowly out into air, water and ground already? There is apparently a cancer cluster suggesting that, not surprisingly, some of the radiation, (and probably much of the radiation) has leached or leaked out into the groundwater and air near the Missouri radioactive waste dump which has a fire approaching it. It is in a wet area so the movement would be quicker than in Nevada.

Here is the Beatty Rad Waste Dump in 1976.
US EPA:  ORPLV761 Radiation Survey in Beatty, Nevada, and Surrounding Area (March 1976) , 1976 47 Pages Beatty Rad Waste Dump
US EPA: ORPLV761 Radiation Survey in Beatty, Nevada, and Surrounding Area (March 1976) , 1976 47 Pages

This is a similar, but maybe different, “low level” waste dump in Nevada, ca 1970s (based on the trucks).
Nevada Radioactive Waste Dump, via Wikipedia LLW, USG photo
Waste drums buried under ground rust, and so they have had to dig them up in Idaho and other places.
http://amwtp.inl. gov Low Level Waste
http://amwtp.inl.gov Idaho wants to keep producing nuclear waste at the Idaho National Nuclear Lab, but they want New Mexico or someone else to take the radioactive waste. At least some of the waste buried in Idaho came from Rocky Flats Plutonium Facility.
http://amwtp.inl.gov  Waste Drum Cross Sections
http://amwtp.inl.gov Some places in the US (and UK) actually smash the drums flat into “pucks”, so that they don’t even have wait to corrode through. In the UK they place the pucks in shipping containers. Recall that many radionuclides are metals, which can react with other metals.

If this was simply a legacy of the Cold War, it would be tragic enough. However, governments and private companies continue to bury radioactive waste. It appears that private companies are allowed to let the old nuclear waste dumps leak, whereas some effort, and a lot of money, is expended in remediation at the government nuclear sites.

Still open Radioactive Waste Dump: Energy Solutions Clive Dump in Utah. It is apparently legal to just bury the large reactor components. It is just west of Salt Lake City. How much salt is in the ground there accelerating corrosion?
Clive Utah zoom in variety waste
The original owner was accused of bribery. The current owner is a former Goldman Sachs Investment Banker.

The new radioactive waste dumps may be a bit more sophisticated with concrete liners and some drainage and monitoring, but the concrete liners will crack through sooner or later.
Rad Waste Barrels WCS Texas
The person who started this dump was accused of legal bribery (campaign donations.) He’s dead but the dumping lives on. At least WCS Dump looks more neat and tidy than EnergySolutions Clive Dump. But, its thick concrete liner will crack, sooner or later, due to swelling-shrinkage of the underlying clay with rain-dry weather in this arid climate. Concrete itself is permeable and can react with the metal drums-shipping containers.

Underground structures must be pumped to keep dry. Radioactive waste must be properly monitored and not sealed. There must be aisles to verify drums and change them before they leak through. If not you get this, even at monitored sites:
WIPP Nuclear Waste Facility
WIPP 22 May 2014
Crowded, Overstuffed WIPP.
WIPP crowding
At least with aisles (probably Savannah River Site) they could see that the waste drum was corroded-leaking and repair it. If they think this is cramped they need to check out WIPP in the pictures above!
nuclear waste drums metal shed zoom
In the long term, aisles and monitoring should be cheaper than digging it up and putting it into new drums, as they are having to do in some sites. But, of course, “investment bankers” would want to do it on the cheap and let someone else pay for the aftermath.

The US NRC has a cheap and easy fix for these problems. They propose to raise radiation standards for the General Public by 100 to 400 fold to 100 mSv PER YEAR. (Comment deadline (literally) November 19th: http://www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NRC-2015-0057. This policy (and the rad waste) will quickly spread to other countries, if approved. Current US EPA standard is 0.25 mSv per year and US NRC-ICRP is 1 mSv per year.

Carol Marcus is Heir to Stafford Warren; Proposal Follows in the Footsteps of Human Plutonium Experiments

In August 1947, General Groves urged Major General Paul Hawley, the director of the medical programs of the Veterans Administration, to address medical problems related to the military’s use of atomic energy. Soon thereafter, Hawley appointed an advisory committee, manned by Stafford Warren and other medical researchers. The advisers recommended that the VA create both a “publicized” program to promote the use of radioisotopes in research and a “confidential” program to deal with potential liability claims from veterans exposed to radiation hazards. The “publicized” program soon mushroomed, with Stafford Warren, Shields Warren, and Hymer Friedell among the key advisers. By 1974, according to VA reports, more than 2,000 human radiation experiments would be performed at VA facilities, 48 many of which would work in tandem with neighboring medical schools, such as the relationship between the UCLA medical school, where Stafford Warren was now dean, and the Wadsworth (West Los Angeles)VA Hospital.AdvisoryCommittee onHumanRadiation Experiments, Final Report, October 1995https://archive.org/stream/advisorycommitte00unit/advisorycommitte00unit_djvu.txt
And, where did Carol Marcus, spear-heading the 100 mSv radiation is good for you proposal, do her residency? Wadsworth (West LA) VA Hospital! And, she is affiliated with the UCLA Med School. Stafford Warren was its first Dean: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stafford_L._Warren

GAOLRCED-98-40R Questions on Ward Valley
GAOLRCED-98-40R Questions on Ward Valley
1 Curie is 37 billion becquerels (radioactive shots per second).

A video about the fire: http://youtu.be/YTGwA3OwC_c

Thanks to Louisiana Sinkhole Bugle for the Alert: https://lasinkhole.wordpress.com
See too: http://nuclear-news.net/2015/10/26/radioactive-trash-burning-underground-near-major-usa-city/