Recovery/Restart

RECOVERY/RESTART

Waste emplacement operations were suspended in February 2014, following two unrelated events in the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) underground. On February 5, a salt haul truck caught fire, and on February 14, a waste drum in Panel 7, Room 7, breached, resulting in a radioactive release. It was later determined that the drum had been improperly processed at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Panel 7, Room 7, was subsequently closed. The release did not pose a public health or environmental hazard, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

In December 2016, the WIPP facility was authorized to resume waste emplacement operations after completing a series of independent reviews and pre-start corrective actions. In January 2017, waste began to be emplaced from above ground, where it had been stored since shipments were halted. Waste shipments to WIPP resumed in April 2017.