New Experiment Shows How WIPP Barrel Event Likely Happened

SimplyInfo.org member Gasbuggy (Vernon Brechin) conducted an experiment related to the event in WIPP. As has been widely reported, the barrel that had an event or explosion was admitted to have organic wheat based cat litter along with nitrate salts in the liquid wastes being disposed of in WIPP

We did a previous less detailed experiment with this wheat based cat litter that can be found here. This new experiment by Gasbuggy compares a clay litter (as had been used previously by Los Alamos) and the new wheat based cat litter used on the suspect barrels. The litter absorbents are used to soak up a nitrate salt solution then dried. The resulting experiment clearly shows the drastic difference between the two litters and exactly how reactive the wheat based litter is when combined with a nitrate salt. Details of the process are included in the narrative of this rather amazing video.

Gasbuggy’s notes from the Youtube page for the video:

Published on Oct 5, 2014

WIPP radioactive TRU waste container reaction simulation experiment

The following experiment is an attempt to demonstrate the difference in chemical reactivity between the nitrate salt, potassium nitrate (a strong oxidizer, and two different liquid absorbents which the salt solution is absorbed into. The pile on the left involves common, clay based, absorbent and the pile on the right involves a wheat-based organic absorbent. In the case of the organic absorbent it acts as a reducing agent, or fuel when reacted with the contained oxidizer. The mixing ratios in this comparison experiment only crudely approximate the situation involved in the radioactive barrel breach that took place on 14 February 2014 at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeastern New Mexico, USA. At the time of this experiment the ignition source remained unknown by the primary accident investigation team.

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Test sample 1 (5.0 g) – Recipe

Ingredients:
1) Swheat Scoop – Natural Clumping Litter (wheat-based organic absorbent)
2) Potassium Nitrate powder (KNO3) (oxidizer) (technical grade)

Preparation:
Weigh out 2.5 g of each of the ingredients. Completely dissolve the KNO3 in 15.0 mL of water then mix in the organic absorbent. Pour the mixture on a size C-6 watch glass. Heat the mixture at 110 °C in a ventilated oven for two hours. Remove and then scrape the deposited NO3 into a central pile, while mixing it into the dried absorbent.

Create a pile of the absorbent mixture on a square of aluminum foil. Move outdoors, or to a well ventilated area. Apply an ignition source to the surface while keeping fingers at least 16 cm away from the pile. Caution: A very energetic reaction will take place generating much smoke.

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Test sample 2 (5.0 g) – Recipe

Ingredients:
1) Moltran (Brand) Ultrasorb (clay-based inorganic absorbent)
2) Potassium Nitrate powder (KNO3) (oxidizer) (technical grade)

Preparation:
Weigh out 2.5 g of each of the ingredients. Completely dissolve the KNO3 in 15.0 mL of water then mix in the inorganic absorbent. Pour the mixture on a size C-6 watch glass. Heat the mixture at 110 °C in a ventilated oven for two hours. Remove and then scrape the deposited NO3 into a central pile, while mixing it into the dried absorbent.

Create a pile of the absorbent mixture on a square of aluminum foil. Move outdoors, or to a well ventilated area. Apply an ignition source to the surface while keeping fingers at least 16 cm away from the pile.

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This experiment was performed on Sunday, 5 October 2014, by Vernon Brechin

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