The supplemental ventilation system installed in the air intake drift
WIPP's new hybrid (diesel/electric) bolter in the underground mine
A drill being run at WIPP's new Emergency Operations Center
Emergency response vehicles stationed in the WIPP underground

WIPP Update

September 28, 2017

WIPP Monitoring Potential Rock Fall

Highly-sensitive ground monitoring instrumentation in Panel 7, Room 6, of the WIPP underground is indicating increasing ground movement rates. This area has been prohibited to personnel access for more than a year, meaning no one has entered the area. The increased rates of movement are a sign of ground (rock) instability and indicate a possible rock fall will occur. Based on current instrumentation readings and experiences from Panel 7, Room 4, last year, the likelihood of a rock fall in Room 6 is increasing. Rock falls are not uncommon in prohibited areas of the WIPP underground, where ground control activities are not being performed.  

Salt movement is expected in the WIPP underground and is one reason salt was selected as a disposal medium. All underground openings at WIPP are closely monitored on a regular basis, and closure rates throughout the underground are tracked and recorded. 

During the past year, extensive bolting (ground control) activities have been performed and completed throughout Panel 7 to stabilize the ground conditions for employee safety and waste emplacement. These activities did not include Room 6, which was prohibited from entry due to existing ground conditions. The remainder of Panel 7 remains stable, with expected rates of salt closure. 

The potential rock fall in Panel 7, Room 6, is not expected to have any impact on the rest of the existing panel, including the TRU waste containers that have been permanently disposed of in the panel. These conclusions are based on a previous rock fall that occurred in Panel 7, Room 4, with similar ground control. All occupied areas in the underground have significant ground control and maintenance activities performed on a regular basis.  

Employees who work in the underground have been informed of the situation and will continue to receive weekly updates. The safety of the workforce is the top priority. Plans are being developed and precautions taken to ensure continued workforce safety. 

Next WIPP Town Hall Meeting Scheduled September 28 

The City of Carlsbad and DOE will co-host a Town Hall meeting featuring updates on WIPP operations activities. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 28, at 5:30 p.m. Location: Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halagueno Street. Live streaming of the meeting can be seen at

Reports and Plans

CBFO CAP Plan Environmental Assessment for the WIPP Above Ground Storage Capability Project and the Notice of Availability, Draft A, DOE/EA-2604
(December 2017)

CBFO CAP Plan WIPP DORR Final Report

CBFO CAP Plan WIPP CORR Final Report

CBFO CAP Plan MSHA Technical Support Evaluation

CBFO CAP Plan Supplemental Analysis WIPP Operations December 2016

CBFO CAP Plan Waste Acceptance Criteria (WAC), Rev. 8

CBFO CAP Plan Documented Safety Analysis, Rev. 5b Chapters 0-18

CBFO CAP Plan Technical Safety Requirements

CBFO CAP Plan Safety Evaluation Report for Documented Safety Analysis, Rev. 5b

CBFO CAP Plan CBFO Corrective Action Plan for the Fire and Radiological Events, Rev. 1

NWP CAP Plan NWP Corrective Action Addendum for Radiological Release Event

AIB Phase II Report on the Feb. 14 Radiological Event

AIB Phase II Investigation Summary Slides

AIB Investigation Report on the Feb. 5 Fire

AIB Investigation Summary Slides

AIB Phase I Report on the Feb. 14 Radiological Event

AIB Phase I Investigation Summary Slides

Office of Environmental Management Corrective Action Plan for Fire Event

Office of Environmental Management Corrective Action Plan for the Radiological Event

Office of Enterprise Assessments Operational Analysis of Safety Trends at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, May 2014 - May 2015

NWP Corrective Action Plan for the Fire and Radiological Events

Technical Assessment Team Report

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents for the AIB and TAT reports


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