Elevated levels due to recent activity near incident occurred

CARLSBAD >> Air sampling results from the underground of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant have shown increased levels of radiation at Station A.

Station A, which is located before WIPP’s high efficiency particulate air filter, recorded increased measurements for both alpha and beta radiation between April 21 and April 24.

On April 23, the highest measurement of radiation was detected.

“The increases levels of radiation are because of the increased activities in and around Station A, because they are inside Panel 7,” said Russell Hardy, director for the Carlsbad Environmental Monitoring and Research Center.

Panel 7 is the panel where a fire and radiological release happened last year. Inside Room 7, a transuranic waste drum was exposed after a chemical reaction. As a result, WIPP was shut down.

The increased activity in Panel 7 can be from workers conducting decontamination activities, and preparing for the closure of Panel 7, Room 7, Hardy said.

“The foot traffic in that area is kicking up the dust, which is why you see those increased numbers,” Hardy said.

Air sampling results at Station B, which is after the large HEPA filter, do not show increased levels of radiation, meaning that the filter is holding the radiation in, Hardy said.

By Sarah Matott, smatott @SarahMatott224 on Twitter Posted: 05/14/2015

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