WIPP: Damage discovered on bags used to weigh down nuclear waste containers

POSTED: 05/01/2014 05:18:26 PM

CARLSBAD – Waste Isolation Pilot Plant officials say video and photographs confirmed damage to several bags used to weigh down nuclear waste containers at the plant, located 26 miles southeast of Carlsbad.

"For what we have seen, some of these bags have been disturbed," said Tammy Reynolds, deputy recovery manager at the Nuclear Waste Partnership.

Dana Bryson, deputy manager for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Carlsbad field office, said officials are still evaluating the damage. The cause is still unknown.

Pictures and video were taken in Panel 7, the plant’s newest underground room, during recent trips inside the WIPP plant. It’s the same area where officials believe a radiation leak originated in February.

These type of bags, which are not hazardous, are used to weigh down containers and absorb moisture and carbon dioxide in the mines, Reynolds said. Each bag weighs between 3,000 to 4,200 pounds, according to a report. The bags don’t contain nuclear materials.

Reynolds said inspectors plan to return to Panel 7 with a camera that will reach over the bags to see what could have called the damage.

WIPP officials say there appear to be no issues with the roof or walls in the room. Reynolds said officials are not ruling out anything yet, but evidence so far shows no signs of damage to room’s structure.

http://www.currentargus.com/ci_25678857/wipp-damage-discovered-bags-used-weigh-down-nuclear

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