WIPP Begins Underground Decontamination Activities

The spraying machine has three articulating spray arms that allow it to apply the water mist at various angles and heights. Courtesy/WIPP

Yellow brattice cloth is suspended from the ceiling in this disposal room. It is rolled down to prevent air flow to the room. Brattice cloth also will serve as a barrier to decontaminate floors. Courtesy/WIPP

WIPP News:

Activities are underway in WIPP’s underground facility to address the radioactive contamination that remains as a result of the February 14, 2014 event. Employees are using a modified piece of agricultural spraying equipment that allows them to apply a fine water mist to the walls and floor. The water dissolves the salt and washes it down to the floor. When the salt recrystallizes, it encapsulates the contamination and prevents any re-suspension of radioactive particles.

In addition to the water misting, brattice cloth will be laid on the floor and previously mined uncontaminated salt will be placed over the cloth to trap any contamination on the floor. Brattice cloth is typically used underground to direct or block ventilation flow in open panels. It is a low permeability polyethylene (plastic) cloth. These activities will continue for the next several months throughout the areas where contamination is present. Employees performing these tasks are taking all necessary precautions, including wearing appropriate personal protective equipment.

The City of Carlsbad and DOE will co-host its Town Hall meeting featuring updates on WIPP recovery activities. The meeting is scheduled 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 2 at the Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halagueno St. Live streaming of the meeting can be seen at http://new.livestream.com/rrv/.