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Organic Cat Litter May Have Caused Nuclear Waste Accident

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the that's-a-bad-kitty dept.

Earth 174

mdsolar (1045926) writes in with a story about how important buying the right kind of kitty litter can be. "In February, a 55-gallon drum of radioactive waste burst open inside America's only nuclear dump, in New Mexico. Now investigators believe the cause may have been a pet store purchase gone bad. 'It was the wrong kitty litter,' says James Conca, a geochemist in Richland, Wash., who has spent decades in the nuclear waste business. It turns out there's more to cat litter than you think. It can soak up urine, but it's just as good at absorbing radioactive material. 'It actually works well both in the home litter box as well as the radiochemistry laboratory,' says Conca, who is not directly involved in the current investigation. Cat litter has been used for years to dispose of nuclear waste. Dump it into a drum of sludge and it will stabilize volatile radioactive chemicals. The litter prevents it from reacting with the environment. And this is what contractors at Los Alamos National Laboratory were doing as they packed Cold War-era waste for shipment to the dump. But at some point, they decided to make a switch, from clay to organic. 'Now that might sound nice, you're trying to be green and all that, but the organic kitty litters are organic,' says Conca. Organic litter is made of plant material, which is full of chemical compounds that can react with the nuclear waste. 'They actually are just fuel, and so they're the wrong thing to add,' he says. Investigators now believe the litter and waste caused the drum to slowly heat up 'sort of like a slow burn charcoal briquette instead of an actual bomb.' After it arrived at the dump, it burst."

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174 comments

More Cold War Waste (5, Informative)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47094825)

It should be noted that this waste is from cold war era defense programs, and not used commercial nuclear fuel which is much easier to handle and store. It should also be noted that although the writers make every effort to call the WIPP a "dump" in order to conjure up images of a simple landfill, it is actually an underground geological (saltbed) monitored storage facility created for storage of radioactive waste.

Unlike chemical from many industries that are dumped in many places with much less control, this is an example of quick recognition and response to a problem. Cold war nuclear waste comes in all kinds of nasty liquid, solid, and semi-solid forms and will continue to bring challenges as the slow cleanup slog continues.

Of course, this slashdot submission is one of an ongoing number of agenda driven submissions that intends to obfuscate the challenges of cold ware era defense program neglect with commercial nuclear power. Fortunately, most slashdot readers pick up on the obvious.

More Cold War Waste (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094899)

It is absolutely an agenda submission. It even looks to me like it's trying to be critical of the organic movement. I'll reserve my opinion of that kind of thing, but in this case, "organic" means what it actually means, not the hippie non-term it has become. I'd rather they say it was because they switched from clay-based to plant-based kitty litter. The risks of this should have been obvious to someone working with radioactive disposal.

Re:More Cold War Waste (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094931)

Mod both parents up.

Re:More Cold War Waste (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094973)

STFU. I'll mod how I please.

More Cold War Waste (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095231)

Not to mention, it wasn't the kitty litter that caused this.

Newsflash: If you work with nuclear waste, don't go around changing the recipes without asking your boss!

Re:More Cold War Waste (1, Troll)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 months ago | (#47094925)

...this is an example of quick recognition and response to a problem.

um, no. How can you call it quick recognition when we're talking about cold-war era waste and products from decades ago and the only reason they realized something was wrong was because of an 'explosion'?

Re:More Cold War Waste (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47094965)

um, no. How can you call it quick recognition when we're talking about cold-war era waste and products from decades ago and the only reason they realized something was wrong was because of an 'explosion'?

I was talking in terms of the waste facility where the waste is being moved to, not the cleanup sites where it originated.

Re:More Cold War Waste (2, Insightful)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 months ago | (#47095825)

Really? I quote

The Board identified the root cause to be a failure to fully understand, characterize, and control the radiological hazard among management at WIPP, the operating contractor, and the Carlsbad Field Office.

Not sure why I was modded down for pointing out you were making an assumption without any data. Slashdots seems to be turning into a hangout for believers and ignorant retaliatory tribes.

For you to be even technically correct, they would have had to identify what exactly was the problem, and as anybody who can navigate a website can see, they still aren't sure and they still do not know when their second report on the actual causes will be out.

They did respond quickly though, so that's good.

Re:More Cold War Waste (1, Offtopic)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47095899)

I never stated that there was zero fault at any level at WIPP. Frankly, I don't have all the data. But its clear that they had monitoring in place to recognize problems with the stored waste, so that the breached container didn't just sit leaking (as has been a problem at the "cold war" sites).

If I were to guess why you may have been modded down, it was calling the container failure an "explosion". Of course, its a relative term, but I didn't see anything indicative the force of the breach being characterized that way. You could argue it was a very slow, low energy explosion, I suppose.

Re:More Cold War Waste (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 months ago | (#47096093)

Perhaps they're 'british' and frown upon the use of single quotes to denote a specific field's definition or a non-literal definition?

The interesting thing is that it was detected by air monitoring equipment, an obviously good design choice, but when you hear about the rest of the air system....

The more interesting story here is not the cat litter crap, but all of the design choices and things that were cut to get things done. It does not inspire confidence in the ability of the nuclear industry's safety standards to escape unscathed by bureaucracy.

Re:More Cold War Waste (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47096103)

There you go, this has nothing to do with the nuclear power industry. Exactly the association the submitter wanted you to make, though.

Re:More Cold War Waste (4, Insightful)

Gareth Iwan Fairclough (2831535) | about 2 months ago | (#47095095)

...this is an example of quick recognition and response to a problem.

um, no. How can you call it quick recognition when we're talking about cold-war era waste and products from decades ago and the only reason they realized something was wrong was because of an 'explosion'?

It can be called "quick recognition" because it actually was "quick recognition" of a problem that simply didn't happened before the new litter was used.

Re:More Cold War Waste (0)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about 2 months ago | (#47095261)

oh, do you have a date for when the switch over was?

No, you don't do you. So how can you tell?

Re:More Cold War Waste (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095125)

It's amazing how many stupid comments begin with a condescending "um."

Re:More Cold War Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095023)

if it's all that, why can't they figure out that f*cking plant compounds are not the same as clay.

Re:More Cold War Waste (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47095069)

The waste was not packed at the WIPP. It is a problem that occurred at LANL before shipping. Yes, that was an F-up.

Re: More Cold War Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095155)

it was a contractor, under their charge. regardless, i will concede your point. will concede that your implication of the agency running the dump as being real sticklers for details maybe fell a little flat.

Re: More Cold War Waste (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095201)

sorry for typo, "will you now concede that..."

"They have an agenda" have an agenda (-1)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 2 months ago | (#47095561)

I'm getting sick of people "calling out" agendas every time they see a piece of news they don't like, even when it's a factual report, written in neutral terms, is newsworthy. No, forget about that, there's no shortage of bad-mouthed people ready to jump at something no matter what the article contained.

Keep such insipid rants for youtube comments and comment sections on newspaper sites, please.

Re:"They have an agenda" have an agenda (5, Interesting)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47095647)

Don't take my word for it, look at who submitted this article, as well as a string of negative nuclear related headlines going back quite some time, for long stretches almost on a daily basis. You'll find its good ole mdsolar. So yes, I'll remind the community of it, because some folks don't really pay attention. I guess that includes yourself.

Re:"They have an agenda" have an agenda (-1)

osu-neko (2604) | about 2 months ago | (#47096379)

Don't take my word for it, look at who submitted this article...

"An ad hominem (Latin for "to the man" or "to the person"[1]), short for argumentum ad hominem, is a general category of fallacies in which a claim or argument is rejected on the basis of some irrelevant fact about the author of or the person presenting the claim or argument." [wikipedia.org]

I don't doubt that mdsolar has a point of view that could be characterized as an "agenda", but your conclusion about his intent being obfuscation rather than to inform sounds like a bit of propaganda to dismiss anyone who disagrees with you. Frankly, it seems like you're the one attempting to obfuscate things by bringing up irrelevancies to distract from the actual, informative content of the article (which is, as noted, a factual report written in neutral terms and quite newsworthy). Simply put, you don't like the truth, so you attempt to discredit it by deflecting attention away from it and instead to the person who brought it to our attention. The truth is what it is, regardless of who brought it forth and what their motivations were for bringing it to our attention.

Your agenda is no less clear to the folks who really do pay attention.

I still cant log in! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094845)

You still have a bad cert, Slashdot. What's going on?

Re:I still cant log in! (0, Offtopic)

plopez (54068) | about 2 months ago | (#47094875)

Just trust everyone..

Re:I still cant log in! (-1, Offtopic)

sjames (1099) | about 2 months ago | (#47095001)

This is /., not your bank. There is no army of Chinese hackers anxiously waiting for your password so they can assume your identity and become internet superstars. You didn't re-use an important password for /. did you? Just check the IP address for plausibility and accept the expired cert.

Re:I still cant log in! (4, Insightful)

c0d3g33k (102699) | about 2 months ago | (#47095165)

This is /., not your bank. There is no army of Chinese hackers anxiously waiting for your password so they can assume your identity and become internet superstars. You didn't re-use an important password for /. did you? Just check the IP address for plausibility and accept the expired cert.

That's some astonishingly bad advice.

Re:I still cant log in! (2, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 months ago | (#47095241)

Why? If someone compromises my slashdot account, what can they do? Nothing. So there's no need to trust it at all. Sure, I use the same password on multiple sites, but I have levels of password, and the one they'd get if they compromised my slashdot account would only get them into forums. I don't care. So why should I use any security for an insecure site?

Re:I still cant log in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095397)

since i've been hanging out around here (1997 or so) i don't think there has been a single thread where someone didn't retort in the comments "This is /."

Re:I still cant log in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095461)

since i've been hanging out around here (1997 or so) i don't think there has been a single thread where someone didn't retort in the comments "This is /."

Well, this is /. you know.

Re:I still cant log in! (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47095571)

That's only to remind you to up your game, son... you're in the Show now.

You can make your point without being a pretentious dick. Do so.

If you have to be a pretentious dick while making your point, you'd better make it a really solid post.

If you're capable of positing and posting astutely while completely avoiding the whole pretentious dick thing, well, congratulations... people worthy of your respect are probably enjoying your company.

This IS /., news for nerds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095713)

If this is /. then why is it is so frickin' hard to update a CA? News for nerds..brought to you buy lazy BOFH?

Re:I still cant log in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095903)

There is no army of Chinese hackers

Looks like you have not read about the NSA? [infoworld.com]

Re:I still cant log in! (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 months ago | (#47096549)

Maybe not for my password, but this is /. I could totally see there being a black-market in low numbered accounts.

1099, now that is impressive.

Re:I still cant log in! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47096353)

I would say "wow this place is really going downhill, that's just absolutely appalling."

But there was this one time that the hotmail uk domain expired, around 2003. So I can't complain about this while I'm posting from IE.

Better headline... (-1)

zonker (1158) | about 2 months ago | (#47094865)

Dumbass Causes Nuclear Waste Accident With Organic Cat Litter

Re:Better headline... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094959)

So this is how the nuclear waste is handled? It feels really reassuring. Where are all those proponents of nuclear energy now? How do you defend this kind of handling? You would think that there would be safeguards to stop this from happening, but no. I can only suppose that it works this way throughout the entire industry. "We normally build reactors out of this type of concrete and Bernie checks them for cracks, but he was sick that day and we only had this other type of concrete from when I built my house in 1971. Sorry about the meltdown."

Re:Better headline... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094993)

fear monger over reacts to single incident to kill an entire industry, good going I have lost a little respect for your cause moron

Re:Better headline... (0)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 months ago | (#47095039)

I don't know that his cause is to blame. All causes have some idiot followers who jump on the bandwagon without any intellectual thought. Just along for the ride and parroting what he hears instead of thinking and responding intelligently. There are pros and cons to nuclear power but I have to say that this concerns cold war refuse and not modern commercial waste.

Re:Better headline... (1)

dkf (304284) | about 2 months ago | (#47095817)

All causes have some idiot followers who jump on the bandwagon without any intellectual thought.

Really? I think I'll define "give dkf lots of money for doing nothing much, so he can spend it on beer and pizza and the other good things in life" as a cause and see how effective that is! Contact me for detailed instructions on how to remit payments.

(I know, it probably won't bring in much, but it also takes so little effort I might as well try.)

Re:Better headline... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095049)

It's worse than two kinds of concrete.

It's like approving concrete originally, then switching to bamboo fiber mash. Yes, someone should have known better, as they're not even close to the same thing.

Re:Better headline... (3, Informative)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 months ago | (#47095253)

This is unrelated to "nuclear energy" and was for bombs.

Re:Better headline... (5, Informative)

brambus (3457531) | about 2 months ago | (#47095513)

First off, this is from the weapons program, not power. Also, not all waste is created equal. Drums are only used for low level stuff - think lab coats, glassware, tools, etc. that at some point might have come into contact with radioactive stuff and so can have trace residue on it. This is *NOT* spent fuel. If you had cared to read the original articles, you'd know that the incident was the first in this facility's 15 year history, wasn't their fault, was extremely small, was immediately contained and rootcaused so that corrective measures could be taken. From where I'm standing, this is a good example of safety working as intended. Unlike your average coal ash spill [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Better headline... (1)

mirix (1649853) | about 2 months ago | (#47095913)

Must have been reasonably hot if it charred the organic matter it was mixed with, and burst the 55 gal drum...

Though I suppose the 'sludge' could have been something along the lines of sulfuric acid (with requisite trace amounts of radioactive bits in it).. that would cook anything organic in there. Of course you'd think they'd be smart enough to neutralize things like that before binning them... Maybe not.

Re:Better headline... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47096253)

Just about every lab I've worked at, both university and industry, talking to chemical safety officers that were involved in cleaning up a building to be renovated brings up all sorts of stories of containers with browned and charred labels found in the back of some storage area. It seems amazing in some naive sense that there are not more fires at university chemistry departments because someone left some poorly labeled bottle some place for 10+ years to slowly react into one type or another of a mess.

Old news (1)

plopez (54068) | about 2 months ago | (#47094867)

Heard it on the radio a couple of days ago.

Got it, lesson learned (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#47094879)

Don't go green.

Re:Got it, lesson learned (5, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 months ago | (#47094929)

clay is as "green" as it gets, pure natural inert material with practically infinite supply

Re:Got it, lesson learned (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47095143)

It's considered a nuisance in this context because it's largely inert (and often formulated for absorbency and clumping, so people are advised not to flush it): Once used, the clay just adds weight and bulk to the solid waste stream and won't be going anywhere in approximately geologic time. Aside from very modest risks from mineral dusts, it's harmless enough; but it's not wildly efficient to landfill something that's mostly clay just to deal with animal feces that would degrade in a few weeks to months under proper conditions.

Re:Got it, lesson learned (1, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | about 2 months ago | (#47095495)

I'll only point out landfills are started by digging a hole and removing things like clay.

Re:Got it, lesson learned (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47095687)

Sure; but the people who use them prefer that they fill up as slowly as possible, because then they have to go identify another site that isn't at the other end of nowhere, has a lot of room, and nobody nearby who can make NIMBY stick. Clay-based litters are pretty much wholly innocuous, this isn't one of the 'green' replacements where the original was some sort of polychlorinated death that they are trying to phase out; but they add unnecessary volume to the solid waste stream, and volume is pretty much what you pay for in non-specialized waste disposal.

They rank rather low on the nastiness scale of even stuff that people are supposed to put in municipal trash, not just what they do put in there; but they are a fairly obvious low-hanging fruit for diverting something that would otherwise be landfilled into the compostable/yard waste category instead.

Re:Got it, lesson learned (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095691)

The point being why dig a hole at all if all you are going to do is fill it up with the same stuff.

Wrong Tool Fool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094941)

 
  I don't think my cat gives a shit whether their bathroom is organic, it's a frickin' toilet.
 
I'm green with being sick about this having anything to do with "being green." For a NUCLEAR WASTE contractor to not read the ingredients and know the difference is what the news is here.

Re:Wrong Tool Fool! (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about 2 months ago | (#47095091)

Nice to think that these contracts go to the lowest bidder. I wonder why they went organic as it makes no sense any way you look at it. From a money standpoint it's more expensive. From a practical standpoint it doesn't work as good. It's almost so stupid as to seem like sabotage. If it was the other way around it would make sense as contractors are always looking for a way to shave costs.

Re:Wrong Tool Fool! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095103)

I wonder why they went organic as it makes no sense any way you look at it.

http://www.democrats.org [democrats.org]

Re:Wrong Tool Fool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095443)

http://www.gop.com

The Party of Contractors and COTS.

Re:Wrong Tool Fool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095627)

You think the democrats don't have contractors [healthcare.gov] and cots [spacex.com] .

Re:Wrong Tool Fool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095823)

Yeah, a Republican health care plan, and a space agency defunded by decades of Republican demands.

What do you expect?

Re:Wrong Tool Fool! (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47095211)

I have this chilling image of the waste packaging contractor dealing with a minor logistical mishap by just sending a couple of trucks over to Valu-Mart to buy whatever cat litter they had on the shelf and come back so they could get this week's barrels packed and shipped on time...

As you say, there isn't any systemic incentive to make the change, and nobody would approve it if it were formally submitted as a change proposal; so some sort of improvising using off-the-shelf litter that was incorrectly labelled (or just purchased by somebody who didn't know the salient details of why certain litters but not others were acceptable) seems like the most plausible thing I can imagine, though 'improvising' isn't really a virtue in this context.

reddundency (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094887)

"organic kitty litters are organic" is stating the obvious. Just saying.

Re:reddundency (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095569)

Redundancy* is sometimes used for emphasis.

Do you further emphasis as to why I included that asterisk?

Bad Kitty Litter (0)

mendax (114116) | about 2 months ago | (#47094919)

This must have been very poor quality kitty litter. Given what my evil black cat puts into her cat box, the highest of quality in kitty litter must be obtained to prevent a similar explosion.

Re:Bad Kitty Litter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094971)

Persian?

Re:Bad Kitty Litter (1)

bswarm (2540294) | about 2 months ago | (#47094983)

Replace the kitty litter with 81 packs of Pop-Rocks and enjoy the show.

Re:Bad Kitty Litter (1)

Kaenneth (82978) | about 2 months ago | (#47095909)

I'll just mention this, never, ever snort Pop-Rocks.

What dumbass wrote this? (0, Troll)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47094937)

Organic cat litters are really just jet fuel? What? The stupid is strong with this one.

Where do you get the "jet" part from? (5, Insightful)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 2 months ago | (#47094975)

Jet fuel would be a hydrocarbon. Organic kitty litter would be essentially cellulose, a carbohydrate.

Both are fuels, in that they will combust when heated, unlike clay.

Re:Where do you get the "jet" part from? (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47095029)

From the summary:

Organic litter is made of plant material, which is full of chemical compounds that can react with the nuclear waste. 'They actually are just fuel, and so they're the wrong thing to add,' he says. Investigators now believe the litter and waste caused the drum to slowly heat up 'sort of like a slow burn charcoal briquette instead of an actual bomb.' After it arrived at the dump, it burst."

I would love to see an airplane that runs on Organic kitty litter that's full of "chemical compounds", since they actually are just jet fuel.

Re:Where do you get the "jet" part from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095051)

Where the hell did anyone besides you say Kitty Litter was jet fuel?

Re:Where do you get the "jet" part from? (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47095065)

Holy crap, am I seeing things that aren't there.

Re:Where do you get the "jet" part from? (1)

Ellis D. Tripp (755736) | about 2 months ago | (#47095153)

Combusting too much organic material, maybe?

Re:Where do you get the "jet" part from? (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47095219)

No, I think it's the "chemical compounds" that are in the organic material.

Re:Where do you get the "jet" part from? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095383)

Don't worry... I read it as jet fuel the first time too... had to go back and re-read, and then I thought someone was playing tricks on me.

So no, it's not just you.

[AC as I've modded this thread already]

Re:What dumbass wrote this? (2)

GrumpySteen (1250194) | about 2 months ago | (#47095041)

The dumbass who wrote "jet fuel" is you.

The word "jet" does not appear in the summary nor does it appear in the article. Nobody else is referring to kitty litter as jet fuel. Just you.

Re:What dumbass wrote this? (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47095071)

Lol. Totally right. Don't know how I saw Jet Fuel.

Re:What dumbass wrote this? (1)

CODiNE (27417) | about 2 months ago | (#47095131)

"They actually are just fuel"

Probably from right there. The story of a bag of Kitty Litter actually being jet fuel would be much more entertaining than this one.

Re:What dumbass wrote this? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095411)

It's okay, Bartles. Just need a quick check for dyslexia and allow for it in the future.

He's not a moron, jet has a minor reading disability.

Re:What dumbass wrote this? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | about 2 months ago | (#47095187)

Don't know how I saw Jet Fuel.

Strangely, I saw it too. I had to read it again.

Re:What dumbass wrote this? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about 2 months ago | (#47095307)

I saw it too. I had to read it a few times.

close enough, sugar is ROCKET fuel. Dragsters (1)

raymorris (2726007) | about 2 months ago | (#47095653)

Your autocorrect eyes aren't too far off. One common way to make small rockets is sugar as fuel. The sugar is mixed with your choice compound that provides the oxygen.

Let that organic material sit around for a while and airborne yeast will turn some of it into dragster fuel - ethanol.

Re:What dumbass wrote this? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 2 months ago | (#47095135)

Organic cat litters are really just jet fuel?

No, just fuel. Minus the jet. Try putting your reading glasses on. Or whatever.

The stupid is strong with this one.

Oh, the irony.

Re:What dumbass wrote this? (1)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47095191)

Thanks. I am a big fan of the OODA loop. I failed the observation portion in this one, though.

Re:What dumbass wrote this? (0)

Bartles (1198017) | about 2 months ago | (#47096257)

Seriously, -1? Should be at least +3, funny.

As Cartman would say... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47094943)

"Stupid hippie crap."

Well Duh! (4, Insightful)

lgftsa (617184) | about 2 months ago | (#47095195)

Just because a material has a everyday name, it doesn't mean that the original specification didn't have a chemical/mechanical/biological/radiological/whatever reason for specifying it.

If all the material property requirements were met with a commonly available product that didn't require an expensive supply chain, then that's great.

HOWEVER...

I suspect that originally somewhere in the nuclear disposal system, a group identified the need, a solution was found and a materiel was specified. Along the line or through the years, the REASON for that specification was lost to the end of the purchasing chain and the poor sod who orders the stuff was given a directive to "buy sustainably" and substituted the new material without being aware of the original intent.

That person probably wasn't even been aware of the use of the material - they may have though it was used in the kennels for the guard dogs. It's a nuclear material disposal site. Need to know is important. (1) The suppler wouldn't have known, either.

There's lots of complaints of expensive procedures and materials(2), but this is a perfect example of the need for a formal supply chain system with provable provenance. You may BUY a commonly available kitty litter to fulfill the order, but what arrives in the sacks will have to match the specification sheet.

1. Yes, this is irony. The accident may have been prevented if the purchasing officer knew what it was for. Then again, maybe not.

2. Ferrous hammers are a bad idea around strong magnetic fields. If you're in a lab with a MRI or similar and lots of delicate equipment, a hammer to undo the dog on a vacuum chamber had better be a very special hammer. The kind that you can buy today for less than a hundred bucks, but in the 60's had to be engineered from scratch. Thank someone else's R&D for the fact you can buy a (nearly) chemically inert, non-ferrous, non-sparking hammer for a pittance.

Re:Well Duh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095725)

This case is an example of why government procurements are often ridiculously over-priced. They spec it out and then do not change it and they are usually willing to pay a major premium in exchange for that continuity. If you don't change it, you don't have to rely on institutional memory which can be overcome by events in all kinds of unexpected ways. Everything in life is a trade-off or in other words, pay now or pay later.

holy hell slashdot ads... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095213)

slashdot has become bloated with ads.. and why does it keep refreshing , that's even more annoying than the ads? AND when I try to login I get an untrusted security certificate warning .

slashdot web site (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095243)

it lags all of the other pages I have open. and when I close it it takes a good 20seconeds .

Re:slashdot web site (0)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47095585)

Sentimental attachment aside, perhaps it's time to upgrade that old reliable eniac.

This is why nuclear energy is a bad idea: (-1, Flamebait)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 months ago | (#47095275)

Cat litter has been used for years to dispose of nuclear waste.

Jesus fuck. This is the kind of thinking that makes teenagers try to use a Coca-Cola douche as plan B birth control.

And the best part, cat litter is dirt cheap! You can get a big drum of the stuff at Wal-Mart for next to nothing. And it's got a fresh scent, too!

Re:This is why nuclear energy is a bad idea: (1)

tomhath (637240) | about 2 months ago | (#47095337)

I would ask you to explain what you meant by that post, but I think not. Nobody was hurt by this incident, nothing was contaminated; the spill (if there was one) was contained and cleaned up.

Re:This is why nuclear energy is a bad idea: (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47095625)

I would ask you to explain what you meant by that post, but I think not.

Where did it go wrong for you? Jesus fuck or Coca-Cola douche?

Nobody was hurt by this incident, nothing was contaminated; the spill (if there was one) was contained and cleaned up.

It seems clear on the order of crystal to anyone not poverty-stricken enough to pay attention that a Coca-Cola douche would release more malevolent material to the environment than this incident.

Re:This is why nuclear energy is a bad idea: (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 2 months ago | (#47095465)

You should learn the difference between cold war waste and the spent fuel produce from commercial nuclear power plants. They are very different. Spent nuclear fuel from power plants is actually quite easy to handle, particularly compared to the mess of wastes that the government produced for weapons up to and during the cold war era and completely neglected once they no longer had use for them.

Re:This is why nuclear energy is a bad idea: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095715)

> teenagers

Or in this case, Republicans. They hate science, and it shows when they attempt to do it. They love their overpriced organic crap. Just look at how their kind flocks to Whole Foods to give money to that CONservative that wants to steal healthcare from his employees. They love the word organic even though their kind is too stupid to comprehend what it means. Their anti-learning and even at times anti-reading position is destroying this country. As you pointed out, they're even shoving softdrinks into their daughter's vaginas. They are weird.

In other news... (5, Funny)

QuadEddie (459328) | about 2 months ago | (#47095279)

The nuclear accident is now known by the operation handle: Katpiss Evergreen

Re:In other news... (4, Funny)

gmhowell (26755) | about 2 months ago | (#47095339)

May the odds of surviving the nuclear incident be ever in your favor.

Re:In other news... (1)

rmdingler (1955220) | about 2 months ago | (#47095633)

Well done.

COCK (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095489)

Kitty Litter's fault? Oh please. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47095501)

What a joke, the system of disposable was the cause. Who is the they in the article that made the decision? Why did they make it? What oversight was missing or not followed? Oh never mind, organic causes nuclear waste accidents!

Personally ... (1)

PPH (736903) | about 2 months ago | (#47096049)

... I welcome our 20 foot tall radioactive cat overlords.

Lesson learned? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47096173)

When you're dealing with radioactive waste, going green is bad.

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