03 February 2016

Malheur County targeted for gold, uranium mines | OregonLive.com

Malheur County targeted for gold, uranium mines | OregonLive.com



ONTARIO -- SprawlingMalheur County could soon be in the spotlight as a mining hub -- or a battleground ofuranium and gold mining interests vs. environmentalists trying to protect its lonesome sagebrush landscape.



Australian-owned Oregon Energy LLC hopes to mine 18 million pounds of yellowcake uranium from the southeastern Oregon high desert 10 miles west of McDermitt near the Oregon-Nevada boundary. The go-ahead to mine the so-called Aurora uranium deposit could bring up to 250 construction jobs to the county, followed by 150 mining jobs.
Meanwhile, Calico Resources USA Corp., a subsidiary of a Vancouver, B.C., company, may seek permits this month to chemically extract microscopic gold from a high desert butte south of Vale called Grassy Mountain, a project likely to create another 100 jobs.
Mining history
Gold: Mining once was a major part of Oregon's economy and the most sought-after mineral was gold. Since its discovery in Oregon in the mid-1800s, miners have wrested an estimated 5.5 million ounces of gold from the state's streams and underground "hardrock" mines. At today's prices, that gold would bring about $1,616 per ounce. Half to two-thirds was found in northeastern Oregon. Baker County and Josephine County have had the most active claims.
Uranium: Uranium was first discovered in Oregon in the 1930s and a small amount was mined on Bear Creek Butte, 40 miles southeast of Bend, in 1960. The White King and Lucky Lass mines near Lakeview came later and there are known deposits of uranium in Baker, Clackamas, Crook, Curry, Harney, Jackson, Lake, Malheur, Polk and Union counties.
The proposals will be the first real test of the 1991 chemical processing mining law passed by the Legislature in response to a debate over mining's future in Oregon, said environmentalist Larry Tuttle. The law ushered in tough new bonding requirements to weed out marginal operators and guarantee environmental cleanup.

Approval of the Grassy Mountain project could trigger a deluge of new chemical mining in Malheur County. Up to a dozen gold deposits similar to Grassy Mountain dot the high desert between the Snake River town of Huntington and Jordan Valley.
The county, sparsely populated with only 31,313 people, could use new jobs, said County Commissioner Dan Joyce. Its unemployment rate in November was 10.3 percent, compared with 9.1 percent for Oregon and 8.6 percent for the nation.
Mining companies have passed up the county in the past because of Oregon's environmentally conscious reputation, Joyce said. But this time, the sluggish local and state economies, higher mineral prices and technological advances in mining and cleanup could open a door to mining, he said.
"I'm thinking people are a lot hungrier now than they were," Joyce said.
Uranium mine plan
Oregon Energy's proposal calls for extracting ore from a mile-long, 600-foot wide, 250-foot deep open pit 10 miles west of McDermitt and 3 miles north of the Oregon-Nevada border. The mine, adjoining the former Bretz Mercury Mine, a contaminated open-pit site from the 1960s, would cost $200 million to develop and uranium extraction could continue for up to 20 years, said Oregon Energy President Lachlan Reynolds.
Plans call for the ore to be crushed and mixed with an acid solution in enclosed vats to leach out the uranium, he said. The acid would bond with the uranium and when dry become a sand-like powder called uranium oxide concentrate, or yellowcake. Yellowcake would bring $52 per pound and could fuel nuclear reactors or be processed into weapons.
Tuttle, spokesman for the Portland-based Center for Environmental Equity, foresees environmental problems.
The likelihood of sulfuric acid being used in processing the ore means it could remain in the mine tailings after milling, he said. The snag is that sulfuric acid tends to continuously leach out heavy metals that occur naturally in waste rock and tailings, contaminating ground water.
"Just because you are through with the processing, years later you still have the issue with that interaction," he said.
But probably the biggest environmental hurdle for the Aurora mine would be the release of mercury, Tuttle said. "The whole Owyhee Reservoir has been affected by naturally occurring background mercury," and uranium mining could release more, he said.
Gold mine proposal
Environmental considerations first thrust Grassy Mountain into the consciousness of Oregonians in the late 1980s and early '90s when Newmont Gold Co. proposed introducing Nevada-style open-pit cyanide heap-leach gold mining there.
Low gold prices ultimately prompted Newmont to write off its $33.8 million investment and abandon plans to mine Grassy Mountain in 1995, but only after the site came to symbolize the conflict between economic development and environmental activism in eastern Oregon.
Calico Resources would take a dramatically different approach, said Andrew Bentz of Ontario, spokesman for Calico. The company proposes to sink an 850-foot underground shaft or tunnel to remove 1,000 tons of ore per day from Grassy Mountain, he said.
The operation expects to remove at least 425,000 ounces of gold from the mountain. The company's investment and exploration costs probably will total $100 million before mining begins, said Calico project manager Andy Gaudielle.
Mineral-bearing rock would be milled for microscopic gold in a closed chemical process that wouldn't include the bird-attracting open settling ponds of diluted cyanide that worried Newmont's opponents, said Bentz, a retired Malheur County sheriff.
Mining and reclamation of Grassy Mountain would take about 12 years, unless new gold discoveries are made, he said.
Bentz believes Calico won't face the level of environmental opposition that attended Newmont's proposal.
AX165_3D56_9.JPGView full sizeAn open-pit uranium mine is proposed on this high desert site in southeastern Oregon's Malheur County -- the same ground where the old Bretz Mercury Mine (shown here) once stood. Uranium, mercury, silver, gold and other heavy metals often are found in the same areas, geologists say. Mercury was discovered here in 1931, and state mining records show that 152,000 tons of ore were mined in 1937. More mining took place during the 1940s and '50s, and at one point the Bretz was one of the largest high-grade mercury mines in the nation.
Reynolds, the Oregon Energy chief, said mining companies no longer can operate in ways that caused the environmental problems of the past. Improvements in mining technology result in more efficient and environmentally responsible operations, he said.

"We will have to post substantial financial bonds to ensure that there is full reclamation of the site to an approved plan when mining ends," Reynolds said.
Only 5 percent of the nation's domestic-use uranium is produced within U.S. borders, although the United States takes more than 20 percent of its electricity from nuclear power plants, Reynolds said.
The most likely buyer of Aurora uranium would be a U.S. electricity utility, he said. He estimated the mine could become the source of up to 30 percent of uranium produced in the U.S.
What's next
Public hearings will be held after the companies apply for permits to begin mining, said state geologist Vicki McConnell of Portland.
Sixty-one acres of Grassy Mountain is patented, private mining land, but substantial portions of both sites are on federal land administered by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management. Both sites are remnant volcanic regions where geothermal and hydrothermal activity has pulled heavy metals and other substances close to the surface, McConnell said.
Calico hopes to begin taking gold from Grassy Mountain in five years, but the regulatory pathway is likely to be longer for the Aurora mine because uranium is involved.
In addition to the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries, the Oregon Energy Facility Siting Council, the U.S. Department of Energy and the federal Environmental Protection Agency must review the uranium mine.
BLM permits will be required for tailing piles and the use of desert roads for both the uranium and gold mining.  
Oregon has a process in place to allow mining to proceed if resources can be extracted profitably and in a way that's environmentally safe, McConnell said.
Whether that's the case here has yet to be determined, she said. "Geologically, we know there is gold in Grassy Mountain and we know there is uranium in the McDermitt area," she said.




31 January 2016

Donald Trump Is Shocking, Vulgar and Right

Donald Trump Is Shocking, Vulgar and Right



Washington Really Is Corrupt
Everyone beats up on Washington, but most of the people I know who live here love it. Of course they do. It’s beautiful, the people are friendly, we’ve got good restaurants, not to mention full employment and construction cranes on virtually every corner. If you work on Capitol Hill or downtown, it’s hard to walk back from lunch without seeing someone you know. It’s a warm bath. Nobody wants to leave.
But let’s pretend for a second this isn’t Washington. Let’s imagine it’s the capital of an African country, say Burkina Faso, and we are doing a study on corruption. Probably the first question we’d ask: How many government officials have close relatives who make a living by influencing government spending? A huge percentage of them? OK. Case closed. Ouagadougou is obviously a very corrupt city.
That’s how the rest of the country views D.C. Washington is probably the richest city in America because the people who live there have the closest proximity to power. That seems obvious to most voters. It’s less obvious to us, because everyone here is so cheerful and familiar, and we’re too close to it. Chairman so-and-so’s son-in-law lobbies the committee? That doesn’t seem corrupt. He’s such a good guy.
All of which explains why almost nobody in Washington caught the significance of Trump’s finest moment in the first debate. One of the moderators asked, in effect: if you’re so opposed to Hillary Clinton, why did she come to your last wedding? It seemed like a revealing, even devastating question.
Trump’s response, delivered without pause or embarrassment: Because I paid her to be there. As if she was the wedding singer, or in charge of the catering.
Even then, I’ll confess, I didn’t get it. (Why would you pay someone to come to your wedding?) But the audience did. Trump is the ideal candidate to fight Washington corruption not simply because he opposes it, but because he has personally participated in it. He’s not just a reformer; like most effective populists, he’s a whistleblower, a traitor to his class. Before he became the most ferocious enemy American business had ever known, Teddy Roosevelt was a rich guy. His privilege wasn't incidental; it was key to his appeal. Anyone can peer through the window in envy. It takes a real man to throw furniture through it from the inside.
If Trump is leading a populist movement, many of his Republican critics have joined an elitist one. Deriding Trump is an act of class solidarity, visible evidence of refinement and proof that you live nowhere near a Wal-Mart. Early last summer, in a piece that greeted Trump when he entered the race, National Review described the candidate as “a ridiculous buffoon with the worst taste since Caligula.” Virtually every other critique of Trump from the right has voiced similar aesthetic concerns.
Why is the Party of Ideas suddenly so fixated on fashion and hair? Maybe all dying institutions devolve this way, from an insistence on intellectual rigor to a flabby preoccupation with appearances. It happened in the Episcopal Church, once renowned for its liturgy, now a stop on architectural and garden tours. Only tourists go there anymore.
He Could Win
Of all the dumb things that have been said about Trump by people who were too slow to get finance jobs and therefore wound up in journalism, perhaps the stupidest of all is the one you hear most: He’ll get killed in the general! This is a godsend for Democrats! Forty-state wipeout! And so it goes mindlessly on.
Actually — and this is no endorsement of Trump, just an interjection of reality — that’s a crock. Of the Republicans now running, Trump likely has the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton, for two reasons:
First, he’s the only Republican who can meaningfully expand the pie. Polls show a surprisingly large number of Democrats open to Trump. In one January survey by the polling form Mercury Analytics , almost 20 percent said they’d consider crossing over to him from Hillary. Even if that’s double the actual number, it’s still stunning. Could Ted Cruz expect to draw that many Democrats? Could Jeb?
It’s an article of faith in Washington that Trump would tank the party’s prospects with minority voters. Sounds logical, especially if you’re a sensitive white liberal who considers the suggestion of a border wall a form of hate speech, but consider the baseline. In the last election, Romney got 6 percent of the black vote, and 27 percent of Hispanics. Trump, who’s energetic, witty and successful, will do worse? I wouldn’t bet on it.
But the main reason Trump could win is because he’s the only candidate hard enough to call Hillary’s bluff. Republicans will say almost anything about Hillary, but almost none challenge her basic competence. She may be evil, but she’s tough and accomplished. This we know, all of us.
But do we? Or is this understanding of Hillary just another piety we repeat out of unthinking habit, the political equivalent of, “you can be whatever you want to be,” or “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? Trump doesn’t think Hillary is impressive and strong. He sees her as brittle and afraid.
He may be right, based on his exchange with her just before Christmas. During a speech in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Trump said Hillary had been “schlonged” by Obama in the 2008 race. In response, the Clinton campaign called Trump a sexist. It’s a charge Hillary has leveled against virtually every opponent she’s faced, but Trump responded differently. Instead of scrambling to donate to breast cancer research, he pointed out that Hillary spent years attacking the alleged victims of her husband’s sexual assaults. That ended the conversation almost immediately.
It was the most effective possible response, though more obvious than brilliant. Why was Trump the only Republican to use it?
Republican primary voters may be wondering the same thing. Or maybe they already know. They seem to know a lot about Trump, more than the people who run their party. They know that he isn’t a conventional ideological conservative. They seem relieved. They can see that he’s emotionally incontinent. They find it exciting.
Washington Republicans look on at this in horror, their suspicions confirmed. Beneath the thin topsoil of rural conservatism, they see the seeds of proto-fascism beginning to sprout. But that’s not quite right. Republicans in the states aren’t dangerous. They’ve just evaluated the alternatives and decided those are worse.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2016/01/donald-trump-is-shocking-vulgar-and-right-213572#ixzz3ys0X0XEI

20 January 2016

The Story You Aren't Being Told About Iran Capturing Two American Vessels | Zero Hedge

The Story You Aren't Being Told About Iran Capturing Two American Vessels | Zero Hedge



The airwaves in the United States were filled with images of sailors on their knees while a US Navy vessel was searched. Unjustified outrage swept the nation. The US Secretary of Defense blamed the incident on a simple navigation error, however a chain of events leading back to 2009 demonstrates the facts are a little more complicated than first appear. The chain of events leads defense analysts to one unmistakable conclusion: Iran has the ability to disrupt US GPS systems. For western military analysts, the thought is terrifying. The West uses GPS for much more than replacing a compass and a map.
In 2009, Lockheed Martin’s RQ-170 Sentinel showed up on a runway in Kandahar, Afghanistan. The aircraft entered service two years earlier, but the public was unaware. The bat wing styled drone is reminiscent of the Stealth Bomber. The similarities extend beyond the cosmetic, and the RQ-170 is the premier spy drone in the US fleet. This was the drone used to map out Bin Laden’s compound. It was tasked with keeping an eye on Iran’s nuclear program. That’s when things got interesting.
On December 4, 2011 a RQ-170 Sentinel crashed into the Iranian countryside. Iran claimed its electronic warfare unit brought the plane down. The US Department of Defense stated the aircraft was flying over western Afghanistan and crashed near or in Iran. The aircraft was 140 miles inside Iran’s borders. The west laughed at the idea of Iran’s military obtaining the capability to down one the most sophisticated drones in the world. One military officialremarked it was like:
“dropping a Ferrari into an ox-cart technology culture.”
They probably shouldn’t have been so quick to laugh. It appears the Iranians didn’t just down the aircraft, they took control of it mid-flight. Dailytech.com explained:
“Using its knowledge of the frequency, the engineer claims, Iran intiated its ‘electronic ambush’ by jamming the bird’s communications frequencies, forcing it into auto-pilot.  States the source, ‘By putting noise [jamming] on the communications, you force the bird into autopilot. This is where the bird loses its brain.’

“The team then use a technique known as ‘spoofing’ — sending a false signal for the purposes of obfuscation or other gain.  In this case the signal in questions was the GPS feed, which the drone commonly acquires from several satellites.  By spoofing the GPS feed, Iranian officials were able to convince it that it was in Afghanistan, close to its home base.  At that point the drone’s autopilot functionality kicked in and triggered the landing.  But rather than landing at a U.S. military base, the drone victim instead found itself captured at an Iranian military landing zone.

“Spoofing the GPS is a clever method, as it allows hackers to ‘land on its own where we wanted it to, without having to crack the [encrypted] remote-control signals and communications.’

“While the technique did not require sophistication from a cryptography perspective, it was not entirely trivial, either, as it required precise calculations to be made to give the drone the proper forged distance and find and fine an appropriate altitude landing strip to make sure the drone landed as it did in Afghanistan.

The Iranian engineers knew the details of the landing site, because the drone had been confirmed in grainy photos to be landing at a base in Khandar, Afghanistan.

“Despite the careful calculations, the drone still sustained a dent in its wing and underbody (though it did not have the usual signs of a high-speed collision).  During its press conferences, the Iranian military covered this damage with anti-American banners.

“The engineer explained this damage commenting, ‘If you look at the location where we made it land and the bird’s home base, they both have [almost] the same altitude.  There was a problem [of a few meters] with the exact altitude so the bird’s underbelly was damaged in landing; that’s why it was covered in the broadcast footage.’The approach echoes an October security conference presentation [PDF] in Chicago, in which ETH Zurich researchers laid out how to use interference and GPS spoofing to more gently down a drone.”
The Aviationist agreed and suggested the US “reconsider their drones’ equipment, countermeasures and combat operation procedures as well as Iran’s electronic and cyberwarfare capabilities.” It should be noted the “ox-cart technology culture” has since reverse engineered the drone.
The gross underestimation of the Iranian military led to the recent incident in the Persian Gulf. The story being repeated in the western press is one of ten sailors getting lost and ending up in Iranian territorial waters (if the outlet mentions that part). According to Secretary of Defense Carter, “All the contributing factors to that we don’t know yet, and we’re still talking to those folks, and we’ll find out more … but they were clearly out of the position that they intended to be in.”
Two boats lost their GPS abilities at the same time, and the Secretary of Defense isn’t sure what happened? A few US outlets, such as the L.A. Times, reported on the other malfunctions during the incident. Both boats lost radio communication and all other communication during the incident. A single vehicle losing its GPS abilities can happen. It’s rare, but it can happen. Two vehicles losing the systems at the same time borders on implausible, but there is still a possibility of it occurring through Murphy’s Law. The loss of all communication equipment and GPS systems on two boats at the same time means one thing: electronic warfare.
The unwillingness to admit the US military has spent billions on a system that has apparently been defeated by Iran is the most likely culprit behind the western media’s attempt to focus on the “ill treatment” of US sailors.Even the L.A. Times, which was willing to report on the communications failures, placed the following quote in a bold offset in the same article:
“The way those sailors were treated was entirely inappropriate. … The U.S. Navy would never demand Iranian sailors hold their hands on their heads and coerce a confession.– James Stavridis, retired U.S. admiral”
The U.S. Navy’s installation at Guantanamo Bay has been the scene of the worst treatment of detainees by the US government in decades. The sailors captured by Iran were not waterboarded, deprived of sleep or food, sexually abused, or otherwise tortured. The United States does not have the moral authority to object to how another nation treats detainees.
The burning question now relates to whether or not Iran’s actions constitute an attack on the U.S. It’s not a simple question. Electronic warfare and cyber warfare have become common place. It is also worth noting the two US vessels were within just a few miles of Farsi Island. Farsi Island is the home of the Revolutionary Guards’ Navy (RGN). The RGN is Iran’s maritime unconventional warfare force. For comparison, imagine a scenario in which a nation that hasattacked a US civilian airliner and whose political leaders have constantly threatened war sent two boats to  pass extraordinarily close to the home base of a U.S. Seal Team. The reader can decide if Iran’s actions were appropriate.
The most important takeaway from this incident is to remember the high-tech military of the United States has an exposed vulnerability. It’s a vulnerability that was exploited by Iran. Iran is not a nation many in military circles would see as technologically advanced. The drone warfare system has a fatal flaw. If Iran can exploit it, China and Russia certainly can. Even North Korea has been able to successfully disrupt the GPS system. Beyond simple navigation, the U.S. employs the GPS system to guide missiles. If the Iranians can jam and spoof their way into controlling a drone, it isn’t a huge leap to believe have the ability, or will soon have the ability, to do the same thing with guided missiles.
It should be noted that GPS jammers are available on the civilian market and have been detected in use inside the United Kingdom. This revelation may also be the reasoning behind the U.S. decision to require drone operators to register their aircraft.

03 January 2016

Fwd: Someone has sent you a message from Zero Hedge

Published on Zero Hedge (http://www.zerohedge.com)

Home > The Looming Environmental Disaster In Missouri That Nobody Is Talking About

The Looming Environmental Disaster In Missouri That Nobody Is Talking About

By Tyler Durden
Created 01/03/2016 - 16:40
Tyler Durden's picture [1]
Submitted by Tyler Durden [1] on 01/03/2016 16:40 -0500


 

Since we first highlighted the potential for a "catastrophic event" in Missouri three months ago [7], there has been little mainstream media coverage. However, as Claire Bernish via TheAntiMedia.org [8] notes, residents near the smoldering fill have expressed increasing frustration with the quarreling agencies offering few answers for an increasing number of health issues, like asthma. For now, it's startlingly apparent no one knows exactly what's happening with the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills - though the smoldering below the surface doesn't cease and floodwaters continue to rise.

What happens when radioactive byproduct from the Manhattan Project comes into contact with an "underground fire" at a landfill? Surprisingly, no one actually knows for sure; but residents of Bridgeton, Missouri, near the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills — just northwest of the St. Louis International Airport — may find out sooner than they'd like.

 

And that conundrum isn't the only issue for the area. Contradicting reports from both the government and the landfill's responsible parties, radioactive contamination is actively leaching into the surrounding populated area from the West Lake site — and likely has been for the past 42 years.

 

In order to grasp this startling confluence of circumstances, it's important to understand the history of these sites. Pertinent information either hasn't been forthcoming or is muddied by disputes among the various government agencies and companies that should be held accountable for keeping area residents safe.

*  *  *

West Lake Landfill was placed on the National Priorities List in 1990, giving the Environmental Protection Agency regulatory authority through its designation as a Superfund site. However, the area wasn't a planned radioactive waste storage site. Uranium processing residue leftover from the World War II-era Manhattan Project was originally dumped there, illegally, by a contractor for former uranium processing company and General Atomics affiliate, Cotter Corporation in 1973.

Cotter, Republic Services subsidiaries Bridgeton Landfill LLC and Rock Road Industries LLC, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy are "potentially responsible parties" for West Lake under Superfund guidelines. Power company Exelon Corporation, which owned Cotter from 1974 until 2000, "agreed to retain certain financial obligations relating to environmental claims arising from past Cotter actions, including those at West Lake," reported [9] St. Louis Public Radio journalist, VĂ©ronique LaCapra, who has extensively covered this mess. Bridgeton Landfill falls under the regulatory control of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR) and is owned and managed by Republic Services subsidiary, Bridgeton Landfill LLC.

Unfortunately, though at least 100,000 tons of nuclear weapons-related residue made their way to West Lake, the exact physical boundaries marking the location of this radioactive waste remain unknown to this day. In fact, because of the ongoing subsurface "fire" at the Bridgeton Landfill, the EPA began conducting tests, which in March 2014 detected the presence [10] of radioactive material further south than it expected — 100 feet inside the bounds of the Bridgeton fill. According to Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C., Robert Alvarez, in a 2013 report [11] investigating the West Lake site:

"Of significance is the fact that the largest estimated amount of thorium-230, a long-lived, highly radiotoxic element is present at West Lake — more than any other U.S. weapons storage or disposal site. Soil concentrations of radium-226 and thorium-230 are substantially greater than mill tailing waste. The waste residues from the Mallinckrodt [Chemical Works uranium processing] site were found to contain the largest concentration of thorium-230 from any single source in the United States and possibly the world. Thorium-230 concentrations were found to be some 25,000 times greater than its natural isotopic abundance. […]

 

"Given these circumstances, the West Lake Landfill would violate all federal legal requirements, established over 30 years ago, for licensing of a radioactive waste disposal site."

Though the EPA promised results of testing to determine the physical extent of the makeshift nuclear disposal site would be reported by November or December, according to its site, those determinations won't be available until early spring 2016. In the interim, a small brush fire [12] near West Lake on October 24 prompted the EPA to order the responsible parties to implement a specific prevention work plan [13] on December 9, due to concerns radiologically impacted material (RIM) — present in surrounding trees and vegetation — could catch fire and thus migrate from the area. In the Endangerment Determination section of the report, the EPA stated:

"The actual release or threatened release of hazardous substances at and from the Site, if not addressed by implementing the [specified steps] in this Action Memorandum, may present an imminent and substantial endangerment to public health, or welfare, and the environment."

Later that month, torrential rains brought what is now being described as ongoing historic flooding to the area — and with it, yet another set of problems and controversy to West Lake Landfill and the people of Bridgeton and nearby Coldwater Creek.

On Dec 30, a peer-reviewed study [14], published in the Journal for Environmental Radioactivity, disclosed a startling fact about West Lake: radiological contamination has, indeed, seeped outside the already vague boundaries of the site. According to the study:

"Analysis of 287 soil, sediment, and house dust samples collected in a 200 km2 [77.2 mi2] zone in northern St. Louis County, Missouri, establish that offsite migration of radiological contaminants from Manhattan Project-era uranium processing wastes has occurred in this populated area."

In fact, nearly half the samples were found to have concentrations of Lead-210 above the acceptable limits established by the U.S. Department of Energy in managing the uranium plant in Fernald, Ohio, which stored the same Manhattan Project-era wastes. The samples "are consistent with water and radon gas releases" from landfill sites employed for storage of such legacy uranium. Alvarez, who wrote the previously-mentioned report in 2013 and who co-authored this study, stated [15] in an interview Tuesday,

"The stuff we're talking about at West Lake is hotter than what you would find in a typical uranium mill tailings operation."

As the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has previously explained, West Lake Landfill emits radon gas because of the radium, thorium, uranium, and other radioactive substances in the decay series. This radon gas decays into Lead-210, a solid particulate — which is the substance the study [14] investigated — once it drifts from the site. Because the Lead-210 detected in the samples "showed distinctive secular disequilibrium among uranium and its progeny indicative of uranium ore processing wastes" — in other words, distinguishable from naturally-occurring uranium — "this is strong evidence that the Lead-210 originated by decay of short-lived, fugitive radon gas that escaped the landfill."

As journalist Byron DeLear noted [15] in the Examiner, "It's important to recognize that the radon daughters [16], Lead-210, Polonium, Bismuth, etc., are what makes radon exposure the second leading cause [17] of lung cancer."

Earlier this week, as rain inundated the area, several stills and videos uploaded to the West Lake Landfill [18] Facebook page evidenced spontaneous, active runoff waterfalls flowing directly from areas designated radioactive, collecting in pools, traveling in drainage ditches to streams and creeks — and ultimately, pouring into the now epically-flooded Missouri River. "How could anyone make the argument that RIM is not leaving that site?" State Rep. Bill Otto asked [19] rhetorically after viewing the footage. But EPA spokesperson, Angela Brees, did exactly that, saying — despite strikingly plain evidence to the contrary — the runoff rainwater "came from within the Bridgeton Landfill."

There is, of course, yet another aspect to this radioactive tangle: the ongoing subsurface fire at Bridgeton Landfill, West Lake's all-too-immediate neighbor.

???

Technically, what is occurring isn't a typical fire with thick, black smoke and flames; rather, "it is a self-sustaining, high-temperature reaction that consumes waste underground, producing rapid 'settlement' of the landfill's surface."

Bridgeton Landfill LLC alerted MDNR on Dec. 23, 2010, that it discovered high levels of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, low levels of methane, as well as elevated temperatures from several gas extraction wells in the area of the fill known as the south quarry — all indicators of a chemical reaction known as a "subsurface smoldering event" or "underground fire."

Todd Thalhammer, a landfill fire consultant with the state of Missouri, explained there are several characteristics to determine the presence of an ongoing subsurface fire, including underground temperatures in excess of 170°F and substantial settlement of the land in a short time period. At Bridgeton, an event Thalhammer described as both "catastrophic" and "preventable,"  temperatures have been recorded over 300°F, and Republic Services stated the hottest area of the fire is settling at a rate of two to three feet per month. Though it would be impossible to determine the exact cause of this fire, often, such events occur if oxygen manages to permeate below the surface should underground gases be vented too rapidly.

Residents in Bridgeton and nearby Coldwater Creek noticed unusually strong fumes from the fill beginning in early spring 2012, for which MDNR began more frequent monitoring. Though unsafe levels of certain compounds are occasionally indicated, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) recommends [20] "that during periods of objectionable odor, sensitive individuals should stay indoors as much as possible …"

???

Of greater urgency for many, partly due to a number of unknowns, concerns the increasing likelihood the subsurface fire will reach and ignite the nuclear weapons-waste material.

As of May 2013, Republic estimated the fire to be only 1,200 feet from the radioactive waste, but this contradicted Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's determination the same month that the distance measured just 1,000 feet. Of course, until the bounds of the radioactive waste are thoroughly mapped, it's impossible to determine an accurate distance — but, as mentioned above, the EPA found evidence that waste extended 100 feet into the landfill, which would make that distance a mere 900 feet.

In September, Koster released nine reports about the West Lake and Bridgeton maelstrom. In one of those reports [21], landfill fire expert Tony Sperling explained the subsurface fire had "unequivocally" gone beyond two gas interceptor wells designed to halt its progress, and with "the reaction moving closer to the North Quarry there exists only a very limited window to take further action to prevent [the underground fire] from once again escalating out of control and causing additional hardship on the community of Bridgeton."

Sperling inexplicably backed down [22] from the emphatic statement in a deposition in October, but his original assertion certainly raised the level of concern. Republic continues to contest claims the fire isn't contained within the south quarry, and says temperatures have stabilized in the so-called 'neck' area running between the landfill and the nuclear waste fill.

All of this depends on the rate at which the underground reaction is advancing, which, unsurprisingly, is also an open question.

???

In June 2013, the MDNR commissioned a report [23] that found the fire had slowed its advancement from a rate of three feet per day to around one to two feet per day. Then, in March 2014, a spokesperson for Republic said [24] the rate had slowed to a mere six inches per month, though MDNR did not corroborate, except to agree — based on the company's temperature evaluation along with physical observations by Bridgeton Landfill — the subsurface fire had "slowed substantially."

However, Sperling's report [25] last month claimed drastically accelerated figures, stating the fire had spread north into the neck area of the site, while the reaction in the south quarry sped along at around 150 to 300 feet per month, or five to ten feet per day. If the smoldering reaction were to advance into the north quarry at a similar rate, "high temperatures from the reaction could conceivably reach [the radioactive waste area] in 3 to 6 months." Sperling's report came out in September.

The EPA disputes all the findings in Koster's reports, saying the agency "completely disagrees" and hasn't found evidence to support claims the fire is nearing the radioactive fill at all.

In order to better understand what would happen should the subsurface fire actually reach the radioactive waste, in 2014, Kansas City Region 7 EPA asked [26] officials from the EPA in Cincinnati to review a report prepared by contractor Engineering Management Support, Inc. In March of that year, the Cincinnati EPA published its analysis [27], which agreed heat from the reaction would not make the waste more or less radioactive, nor would it explode on its own; however, due to possible unknown substances mixed with the radiological materials, the potential for explosion does exist.

Second, in 2008, the EPA released its Record of Decision, which proposed a "cap" of clay, rock, and soil to constrain the weapons-waste to the West Lake site. Though capping hasn't begun, it now appears such a cap would be adversely affected by heat generated from the subsurface reaction — thus cracking and releasing radon gas, steam, and radioactive dust.

Further, the constant heat generation could increase pressure below the surface under the cap and force the release of radon gas — which, if only inspected once a year, could avoid detection for months. Also, should the fire continue consuming radioactive waste long-term, area residents would be exposed to unsafe levels of radon gas. Further still, liquid building up below the surface could evacuate radon gas and other radioactive contaminants into groundwater supply.

???

Residents near the smoldering fill have expressed increasing frustration with the quarreling agencies offering few answers for an increasing number of health issues, like asthma. Meanwhile, a group of residents in Coldwater Creek, nearer the West Lake site, filed a class action lawsuit against Mallinckrodt, the original handler of the nuclear waste material, claiming [28] there have been an astonishing 2,700 cancer cases clustered around the creek — including a number of rare cases of appendix cancer. Even fully testing the creek for radioactive materials will take years to complete.

By its very nature, this incredibly complex and interwoven morass makes solutions difficult and laboriously slow in coming. Theoretical fixes that could apply to, say, containing radioactive materials to the West Lake site, might have negative consequences should the long-smoldering subsurface reaction come into play. Inaction in containing the subsurface fire, in the hope of definitively locating bounds of radioactive waste, have meant further advancement of that very fire in the meantime. With so many unknowns, St. Louis County issued an emergency plan [29] in 2014 "to save lives in the event of a catastrophic event at the West Lake Landfill" — which, though well-intentioned, did nothing to calm nervous residents in the area.

For now, it's startlingly apparent no one knows exactly what's happening with the West Lake and Bridgeton Landfills — though the smoldering below the surface doesn't cease and floodwaters continue to rise.

 

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Links:
[1] http://www.zerohedge.com/users/tyler-durden
[2] http://www.zerohedge.com/taxonomy_vtn/term/10432
[3] http://www.zerohedge.com/taxonomy_vtn/term/10405
[4] http://www.zerohedge.com/taxonomy_vtn/term/12324
[5] http://www.zerohedge.com/taxonomy_vtn/term/11899
[6] http://www.zerohedge.com/taxonomy_vtn/term/12232
[7] http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-10-07/catastrophic-event-looms-stlouis-underground-fire-burning-2010-nears-nuclear-waste
[8] http://theantimedia.org/the-looming-environmental-disaster-in-missouri-that-nobody-is-talking-about/
[9] http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/confused-about-bridgeton-west-lake-landfills-heres-what-you-should-know
[10] http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/radioactive-waste-detected-closer-bridgeton-landfill-fire
[11] http://www.ips-dc.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/West-Lake-Landfill-Radioactive-Legacy.pdf
[12] http://www.stlamerican.com/news/local_news/article_047a3e46-7b6d-11e5-8519-f751e2f1666f.html
[13] http://www3.epa.gov/region07/cleanup/west_lake_landfill/pdf/west-lake-final-surface-fire-uao-12-9-15.pdf
[14] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0265931X15301685
[15] http://www.examiner.com/article/new-study-shows-vast-offsite-radioactive-contamination-from-west-lake-landfill
[16] http://web.ornl.gov/info/reports/1978/3445605151475.pdf/
[17] http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancercauses/othercarcinogens/pollution/radon/
[18] https://www.facebook.com/groups/508327822519437/
[19] http://www.examiner.com/article/bridgeton-landfill-fire-threatens-the-greater-st-louis-area
[20] http://dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/facilities/docs/dhssreviewdailymonitoring0928100115.pdf
[21] http://ago.mo.gov/docs/default-source/press-releases/2015/lfci_report_bridgetonlf.pdf?sfvrsn=2
[22] http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/republic-services-casts-doubt-landfill-fire-experts-report
[23] http://dnr.mo.gov/env/swmp/bridgeton/DataEvaFinal.pdf
[24] http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/major-players-discuss-bridgeton-and-west-lake-landfills
[25] http://ago.mo.gov/home/ag-koster-releases-new-expert-reports-concluding-radiation-and-other-pollutants-have-migrated-off-site-at-bridgeton-landfill
[26] http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/epa-analysis-neighbors-could-be-risk-if-landfill-fire-reaches-radioactive-waste-bridgeton
[27] http://www3.epa.gov/region07/cleanup/west_lake_landfill/pdf/west-lake-etsc-observationsonemsireport.pdf
[28] https://www.rt.com/usa/319322-cancer-cluster-missouri-nuclear-waste/
[29] http://www.stlouisco.com/Portals/8/docs/document%20library/police/oem/lepc/WestLake%20Plan%20-%20FULL.pdf


20 October 2015

NO Paul Ryan

Paul Ryan: My Job Is to Put Myself in Shoes of Foreign Citizens:



Uhhhh - WRONG!



And the fact that Luis Gutierrez is sitting there next to him says a lot too!



NO PAUL RYAN!