WIPP Update

April 17, 2014

WIPP recovery team assembled

The Department has finalized its federal and contractor recovery teams, which will coordinate efforts to implement corrective actions and allow the site to resume safe disposal operations.

Mark Senderling has been named the federal WIPP recovery manager at the Department of Energy headquarters and will serve as the liaison with onsite WIPP recovery managers.

Tom Teynor, who has more than 24 years of service in the federal government, will serve as the onsite senior federal recovery manager at the Carlsbad Field Office. The site contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, also recently named Jim Blankenhorn the onsite recovery manager and deputy project manager.

New air monitoring results posted

New air monitoring results have been posted to the WIPP recovery website. This is the sixth sample set since the February release that has returned with no indication of contamination. For all monitoring results, see Sampling Results.

Community Meetings Scheduled

April 17 – Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway and DOE will co‐host a weekly town hall meeting featuring updates on WIPP recovery activities. The meetings are held every Thursday at 5:30 p.m. Location:  Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halagueno Street. Live streaming of the weekly meetings can be seen at http://new.livestream.com/rrv/.

WIPP Recovery

WIPP Recovery Checklist

WIPP has developed a checklist as
part of the recovery process.
Click the image above to
view these steps.

Did you know?

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has trained more than 32,000 emergency response professionals along WIPP routes since 1988.

For more information about WIPP,
see our Fact Sheets.

About WIPP

The nation’s only deep geologic repository for nuclear waste

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is a deep geologic repository for permanent disposal of a specific type of waste that is the byproduct of the nation’s nuclear defense program.

CH and RH WasteWIPP is the nation’s only repository for the disposal of nuclear waste known as transuranic, or TRU, waste. It consists of clothing, tools, rags, residues, debris, soil and other items contaminated with small amounts of plutonium and other man-made radioactive elements. Disposal of transuranic waste is critical to the cleanup of Cold War nuclear production sites. Waste from DOE sites around the country is sent to WIPP for permanent disposal.

TRU waste is categorized as “contact-handled” or “remote-handled” based on the amount of radiation dose measured at the surface of the waste container. Contact-handled waste has a radiation dose rate not greater than 200 millirem (mrem) per hour, while remote-handled waste can have a dose rate up to 1,000 rem per hour. About 96 percent of the waste to be disposed at WIPP is contact-handled.

TRU waste is long-lived and has to be isolated to protect public health and the environment. Deep geologic disposal in salt beds was chosen because the salt is free of flowing water, easily mined, impermeable and geologically stable. Salt rock also naturally seals fractures and closes openings.

The WIPP site, located in southeast New Mexico about 26 miles from Carlsbad, was constructed in the 1980s for disposal of defense-generated TRU waste. The underground repository is carved out of a 2,000-foot-thick salt bed formed 250 million years ago. TRU waste is disposed of 2,150-feet underground in rooms mined from the salt bed.

WIPP has been disposing of legacy TRU waste since 1999, cleaning up 22 generator sites nationwide.

Recovery Page

A Livelihood in Nuclear Waste, Under Threat


Another radiation release at N.M. nuclear waste dump?


…and I am Sid Harth