Oak Ridge shipments to WIPP to resume mid-March

truwaste1Waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in New Mexico were halted this week as a result of a truck fire in the underground waste repository. The operational emergency was called off early this morning, according to info distributed by the Department of Energy’s Carlsbad (N.M.) Office.

There apparently was no direct impact on DOE’s Oak Ridge operations, because Oak Ridge shipments to WIPP were put on hold in late 2011. The Central Characterization Project team was pulled out of Oak Ridge because of budget issues, etc. Since then, the contractor at DOE’s Transuranic Waste Processing Center continued to process waste and prepare it for eventual disposal, and the CCP team returned to Oak Ridge in October to once again get the certification process going.

According to Mike Koentop, executive officer of DOE’s Environmental Management Office in oak Ridge, the plan is to restart shipments to WIPP in mid-March.

“CCP mobilized to the TWPC on October 1st 2013.  Since then, they have been working to recertify the Oak Ridge characterization program,” Koentop said in a statement via email. “This involves procedure development, personnel training and initial certification activities. It is anticipated that shipments will begin in mid-March after the annual WIPP maintenance outage.”

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About Frank Munger

Senior Writer Frank Munger covers the Dept. of Energy's Oak Ridge facilities and many related topics — nuclear weapons, nuclear waste and other things nuclear, environmental cleanup and science of all sorts. Atomic City Underground is, first and foremost, a news blog, but there's room for analysis, opinion and random thoughts that have no place else to go.