Haven't read all the linked articles through yet, but it's been mentioned in the past- and again in the articles- that one of the reasons for the explosion may have been the use of organic-based kitty litter(!) reacting badly with the materials being disposed of, and that the inorganic version should have been used.
One version I heard was that they changed the kitty litter formulation; this version suggests that they bought organic instead of inorganic
kitty litter because of a typo.
Now, there's nothing wrong with using what amounts to
kitty litter to do whatever it was being used for. If that does the job, fine.
But whichever of the cases described was true, a problem is that if the stuff they're buying is intended and sold as kitty litter
, it's quite possible that the makers may feel at liberty to change the formulation in a way that doesn't effect its use as kitty litter, but massive alters its safety as a "nuclear waste disposal material".
If having organic matter in your kitty litter could inadvertantly turn the nuclear material into a form of radioactive explosive, then you should be damn sure that you're getting the inorganic formulation from a supplier that can guarantee that this is what you're getting. It won't be called "kitty litter" even if that's what- in effect- it is, and it'll probably cost a lot more, but the supplier will (or should be) in the s*** if they supply the wrong type, whereas are Los Alamos going to sue "Pets R Us" for causing a nuclear explosion even if they *did* inadvertantly put organic in an inorganic bag, or change the formulation with insufficient notice (or whatever)?
So this is why (e.g.) the military (for example) might pay a lot more for a given item than you or I might pay over the counter. That, and the fact that they're probably diverting the money to some dubious black ops...!