WIPP: Underground operations suspended pending federal review

Posted: 02/06/2014 05:23:56 PM MST

Current-Argus file photo This aerial photo shows the Waste Iso
Current-Argus file photo This aerial photo shows the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, 26 miles east of Carlsbad.

CARLSBAD >> It’s too early to know when normal operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant might resume after an underground vehicle fire on Wednesday prompted an emergency evacuation of the nuclear waste repository.

Department of Energy spokeswoman Deb Gill said a federally appointed team of investigators will need to evaluate the site before workers at WIPP will be allowed to resume accepting shipments of transuranic waste. WIPP, located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, is the nation’s first transuranic nuclear waste repository, used to permanently dispose of low-level nuclear waste from government sites around the nation.
Current-Argus file photo In this footage provided by WIPP, bla
Current-Argus file photo In this footage provided by WIPP, black smoke rises from the salt mine shaft at the site.

A truck used to haul salt from the mine caught on fire Wednesday morning, resulting in the evacuation. Six employees were later treated for smoke inhalation at Carlsbad Medical Center. No other injuries were reported.

The underground will remain closed until the investigators sign off on the site, Gill said.

Read more at http://www.currentargus.com/carlsbad-news/ci_25079914/wipp-operations-suspended-pending-federal-investigation

By Brandon Bowers

bbowers@currentargus.com

@BrandonBowers on Twitter

Northwatch | Box 282 . North Bay . P1B 8H2 | Tel 705 497 0373 | www.northwatch.org

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