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Seen & Unseen
December 6, 2022

Dedication To Service

Ike White and John Heaton underground shaking hands
EM-1 Ike White thanks long-time state representative John Heaton for his significant contributions to WIPP at a room dedication ceremony in Panel 8 on December 8.

EM Senior Advisor William “Ike” White (EM-1) visited WIPP last week, where he observed capital project progress, met with local officials, and attended a room dedication ceremony for long-time state representative John Heaton.

White was joined by Nicole Nelson Jean, EM Associate Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Field Operations (EM-3).

The room dedication ceremony was held underground in Panel 8, Room 1. Waste emplacement began in the newly-mined Panel 8 last month. The ceremony included the installation of a roof bolt plate signed by Heaton. Bolts are regularly installed to slow the natural movement of salt rock in the underground repository.

Sean Dunagan speaking with John Heaton
NWP President & Project Manager Sean Dunagan spoke about how Heaton’s work furthered the mission of WIPP during the room dedication ceremony.

In addition to White, speakers at the ceremony included Reinhard Knerr, DOE Carlsbad Field Office manager; Sean Dunagan, president and project manager of Nuclear Waste Partnership, the WIPP management and operations contractor; Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway; and Hobbs Mayor Sam Cobb.

Heaton was thanked for the incredible number of volunteer hours he spent in public service throughout his time as a state representative and beyond. Speakers noted that over the years, he built many strong connections at all levels of government and with officials on both sides of the aisle, which made him a very effective public servant.

Heaton was also lauded for his ability to provide valuable insight to the groups he served because of his understanding of the political process and strong Site Visit continues on next page Merry Christmas! technical background, and he was praised for remaining vigilant regarding health and safety, which helped to assure the public that WIPP is a safe project.

Plaque for room dedicated to John Heaton

In Panel 8, White also traveled to Room 7, where waste is currently being emplaced. Rooms in each panel are filled beginning with Room 7 and moving to Room 1 at the front of the panel. Each room is 33 feet wide and 300 feet long, the length of a football field minus the end zones.

Also underground, White went to the West Mains area, where mining is being conducted to connect a new utility shaft to the rest of the repository.

Above ground, White toured the Waste Handling Building, where TRUPACT shipping containers are opened to remove waste containers prior to being moved underground.

White also visited the utility shaft and the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS) capital project sites. The utility shaft will be WIPP’s largest shaft and will provide air into the mine, with a final depth of 2,275 feet. To date, there have been more than 140 blasts conducted, bringing the current depth to over 760 feet. At the SSCVS site, visible progress continues on both of the major structures, the New Filter Building and the Salt Reduction Building. The SSCVS will be the largest containment fan system among DOE facilities.

EM-1 toured the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System project
EM-1 toured the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System project
EM-1 got a birds eye view of the WIPP site on his visit to the Utility Shaft.
EM-1 got a birds eye view of the WIPP site on his visit to the Utility Shaft.