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Third ceiling collapse at Nuclear Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

WIPPWaste Isolation Pilot Plant sees third ceiling text-relevant
collapse, A
iken Standard,  By Thomas Gardinert gardiner@aikenstandard.com Oct 8 2016  New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has suffered its third ceiling collapse.

The first collapse was discovered Sept. 27, and the following two happened this past week. The third collapse was identified on Friday morning and was found to have followed the cave-in earlier in the week.

According to a WIPP update sent Friday evening, the area of the collapse continues to remain restricted for workers and employees. According to SRS Watch Director Tom Clements, who has been inside the facility, material regularly comes off of the walls and ceiling.

WIPP is an underground facility, cut into salt beds. Over time, groundwater and other natural forces are designed to form the salt deposits around the waste containers. He said the facility was designed to encase the nuclear waste buried there to permanently dispose of the material…

The WIPP facility was shut down in 2014 after a containment leak and an underground salt-truck fire. The facility is set to reopen in December 2016 and shipments are expected to resume in the fall of 2017.

WIPP is the intended resting place for some of the nuclear material at South Carolina’s Savannah River Site near Aiken. The Energy Department is currently disposing of plutonium through a process called dilute and dispose. That material is among those eventually intended for WIPP disposal.

According to the WIPP update, emergency evacuation routes were also out of date. The routes were still based on the facility before sections were closed, including the areas where the cave-ins occurred. The update said, “The Department of Energy identified a deficiency in the WIPP Mine Escape and Evacuation Plan, which still relied on evacuation routes established before some areas had been posted as prohibited. NWP had identified compensatory measures – immediate changes that could be made while the Evacuation Plan is formally updated.”

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October 10, 2016 - Posted by | incidents, USA, wastes

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