13 February 2015 – World Nuclear News
Photographs taken inside the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) have confirmed that a single waste drum was the source of the contamination incident that has stopped operations at New Mexico facility since February 2014.
|Project Reach’s 90-foot boom is positioned over waste containers in the underground facility as its remotely operated video camera collects evidence (Image: WIPP)|
The information was gathered through a project known as Reach, which has been using a specially designed and manufactured 90-foot (27 meter) composite boom equipped with a high resolution camera. All this was installed on a movable cradle and mounted on a support structure, allowing operators to examine waste stacks from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall. Waste at WIPP is stacked in six columns, with each column consisting of up to three layers of transuranic waste containers.
Initial analysis of the pictures obtained by Reach indicates that no additional breached waste containers contributed to the February 2014 incident. Ted Wyka, chairman of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Accident Investigation Board (AIB), said that the evidence obtained supported the idea that a single drum, referred to as LANL68660, was the source of the radiological release.