WIPP may reopen in early 2016, DOE report says


The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released its plan of recovery at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico and said it planned to reopen the plant by 2016.
DOE’s plan incorporates seven key elements: Safety, regulatory compliance, decontamination, installing ventilation systems in four phases, mine stability and underground habitability, workforce retraining and managing waste streams.  Recovery costs for resumption of operations are estimated at $242 million. To restore WIPP to full operations, two capital asset project line items are required: a new permanent ventilation system, estimated to cost between $65 million and $261 million, and supporting exhaust shaft, with an estimated cost range of $12 million to $48 million.
In February 2014, a salt truck caught fire in the underground nuclear waste storage area. Just days later, radiological monitors went off in a storage area. The cause of that incident is still under investigation, but some think kitty litter used to pack the waste may have eroded some of the storage canisters. Operations at WIPP have been shut down since the radiological release and waste is being stored at other locations until it is reopened.
To read the full report, click here.
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