The Energy Department and its prime contractor for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico will hold their next WIPP Town Hall update on Aug. 2 in Carlsbad, N.M. These public briefings on the underground transuranic waste disposal site are webcast.
The Energy Department and contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership had initially planned to have the briefing this month, but it had to be postponed because of scheduling conflicts. The meeting should start around 5:30 p.m., according to NWP spokesman Donavan Mager.
Carlsbad Field Office Manager Todd Shrader and NWP President and Project Manager Bruce Covert typically give updates on short-term and long-term issues facing WIPP. The most recent WIPP briefing was April 19.
In June, DOE and its contractor broke ground on the site for WIPP’s new permanent ventilation system, which is designed to increase underground airflow to 540,000 cubic feet per minute or more than three times current levels. The $288 million project will allow simultaneous waste disposal, salt mining and maintenance work. Site preparation is well underway for the project, which is expected to be completed in 2021.
In May regular transuranic waste handling at WIPP was suspended for a few days after workers repacked a seven-pack of waste drums that contained a leaning or misaligned waste container. The container was discovered May 24 and normal waste disposal resumed on June 2.