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NM Environment Dept. Transmits Successful WIPP Inspection Results

Dec 22, 2016

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Santa Fe – Last Friday, the New Mexico Environment Department’s (NMED) Hazardous Waste Bureau transmitted the results of its inspection for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) to DOE and its contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership. The environmental compliance inspections took place over multiple days in August of 2014, December 2014, November 2015, and, most recently, December 2016.  The inspection team evaluated WIPP’s hazardous waste permit conditions as well as the corrective actions resulting from issues dating back to the 2014 salt truck fire and radiation leak incident that led to WIPP’s temporary closure.

NMED Resource Protection Division Director Kathryn Roberts wrote in the NMED inspection letter dated Dec. 16, “…the Permittees are hereby notified that NMED is approving the resumption of normal operating status at WIPP. …Additionally, NMED would appreciate confirmation that all DOE Operational Readiness Review Pre-start activities and actions have been completed.”

Violations associated with a safety shower and legible labeling for a mixed waste package were observed, corrected, and described in NMED’s Notice of Violation and Resolution letter.

“We value our federal facilities, and appreciate the hard work and cooperation of the workforce, leadership, and the broader Carlsbad community as the WIPP facility approaches full readiness to safely re-open,” said New Mexico Environment Department Secretary Butch Tongate.