WIPP Receives First Shipment Since Reopening

WIPP Receives First Shipment Since Reopening

A truck arrives at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant with the first shipment of transuranic waste to be shipped to the site after its reopening in January. Photo courtesy of U.S Department of Energy

A truck arrives at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant with the first shipment of transuranic waste to be shipped to the site after its reopening in January. Photo courtesy of U.S Department of Energy

EM’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) today announced receipt of its first shipment of transuranic (TRU) waste since WIPP reopened in January. The shipment from Idaho is an important milestone for WIPP and for DOE host communities that have had to store TRU waste since WIPP suspended operations in February 2014 when a truck fire and unrelated radiological event temporarily closed the facility.

“To see shipments arriving again at WIPP is celebrated not only by the WIPP workforce and the Carlsbad community but also by our DOE host communities that support the critical missions of the Department,” Carlsbad Field Office Manager Todd Shrader said.

Jack Zimmerman, Deputy Manager for the Idaho Cleanup Project at the DOE Idaho Operations Office, said, “Due to the skill and dedication of our workers, the Idaho Site has made remarkable progress over the years. We owe a great debt of gratitude to every employee who has worked on this project. I speak for all of us when I say that we are pleased to be shipping to WIPP again.”

The facility plans to receive two shipments a week, ramping up to four shipments a week by the end of 2017. Initial shipments are expected from Idaho, Savannah River Site and Waste Control Specialists. Shipments from Oak Ridge and Los Alamos National Laboratory are expected later this year.

Eligibility for shipping is based on the generator sites verifying that the TRU waste meets requirements for safe transportation and disposal. The exact allocation and sequence for shipping will be adjusted based on the emplacement rate at WIPP, operational needs at the WIPP and generator sites, and logistical issues, such as weather, that affect shipping.