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Rain-sodium reaction caused fire in nuclear waste dump

exclamation-SmFlag-USABeatty waste dump fire blamed on rain-sodium reaction By Wesley Juhl Las Vegas Review-Journal, December 31, 2015 

A fire at a low-level radioactive waste dump in Nye County that shut down a 140-mile stretch of Nevada’s main north-south highway for almost 24 hours in October was caused by rainfall that seeped through a compromised cover and reacted with metallic sodium, according to a report released Thursday.

On Oct. 18, during heavy rainfall, the now-closed, state-owned landfill at the US Ecology dump near Beatty roared to life with explosions and fire. Beatty is about 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas, off of U.S. Highway 95.

state probe of the incident was launched to consider if the fire was related to the wet weather, and if disposal records kept by the state in Carson City and at the site list any materials that could have reacted with water to cause the fire. Monday’s report details how corrosion of the steel drums containing the metallic sodium allowed the packing fluid to seep out, leaving the metallic sodium exposed to underground elements.

The 305-page report released Thursday collects statements from staffers who were there, aerial maps, results of laboratory analyses and a 195-page study on low-level radioactive waste management from 1981 as an attachment……..

Recommendations for long-term fixes from the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection include setting up enhanced monitoring of the waste facility capable of handling remote video surveillance and radioactivity measurement. The agency suggested an evaluation of the various types of wastes placed in the site and a redesign of a more protective cover cap…….. http://www.reviewjournal.com/news/nevada/beatty-waste-dump-fire-blamed-rain-sodium-reaction

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January 1, 2016 - Posted by | incidents, USA, wastes

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