Stuff I wrote elsewhere: the WIPP accident that was never supposed to happen

If I was a more clever writer, I’d have a joke here about how the statistics of a WIPP accident change now that we’ve got a Bayesian prior:

The radiation leak that has shut down the nation’s only operating underground nuclear waste disposal site was, for all practical purposes, never supposed to happen.

No one knows yet how or why a waste drum leaked at southeast New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant on Valentine’s Day, triggering alarms, exposing workers and setting off a cascade of events that could cripple the nation’s radioactive waste disposal system.

But a Journal review of Department of Energy records shows that, before WIPP opened, the agency put the risk of such an accident at one chance in 10,000 to one in 1 million during any given year of WIPP operations.