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

July 15, 2016

Status Update on WIPP Restart

Workers at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) are now well into the second month of Cold Operations at the facility, and while significant progress has been made, much remains to be accomplished in order to meet the December 2016 projected timeframe for restarting transuranic waste operations. In addition to Cold Operations, Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) and Nuclear Waste Partnership (NWP) program managers are focused on a number of activities necessary to ensure the safety of workers at the site, including ground control objectives (bolting); completion of readiness and testing activities necessary for the Interim Ventilation System (IVS) to become operational; and repairs and upgrades to fire suppression systems, both on vehicles and in the underground, that will be required for restart.  

“We are working to restart in December,” said CBFO Manager Todd Shrader, “but admittedly the schedule is tight. The completion and implementation of the Documented Safety Analysis (DSA) was a critical prerequisite to many of our other restart activities, and being the first DSA developed under the new DOE standard DOE-STD-3009-2014, it required us to use a considerable amount of our schedule contingency. That said, it was absolutely necessary as part of our restart activities.”

Late last week, Secretary Moniz directed the Carlsbad Field Office to reevaluate the critical path schedule for reopening WIPP and emphasized that safety is paramount.

The second hybrid bolter and an additional mining crew are expected to address outstanding ground control issues, and the IVS is now expected to be operational in August. Subcontractors are on site performing tests on existing fire protection systems and installing automatic fire suppression systems on vehicles used in the underground.

DOE and NWP are working to determine the safest and most efficient path to re-open WIPP as soon as practicable. “We have always said we would only reopen when it was safe to do so” said Shrader. “Our position has not changed.”

Cold Ops

Waste Handling and Radiological Control personnel discuss a waste handling procedure during a recent Cold Operations training evolution.


Next WIPP Town Hall Meeting - August 4

The City of Carlsbad and DOE co-host Town Hall meetings to provide updates on WIPP recovery and restart activities. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, August 4 at 5:30 p.m. Location: Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halagueno Street. WIPP Town Hall Meetings are live streamed at


Reports and Plans


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 February 14 Radiological Event

AIB Phase II Investigation Summary Slides

AIB Investigation Report on the February 5 Fire

AIB Investigation Summary Slides

AIB Phase I Report on the February 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