WIPP Emergency Operations Center Deactivated

WIPP News:

CARLSBAD The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has been deactivated after successfully coordinating resources to improve driving conditions so that employees can possibly return to work at the WIPP site Thursday, Dec. 31.

The Level 1 EOC activation, which began at approximately 9 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 29, was ordered to support the coordination of necessary resources needed to safely restore normal operations at WIPP due to the recent severe winter storm that dumped 15 inches of snow on the area.

Icy and snow packed road conditions made it difficult for the workforce to commute to the WIPP site. Resources were requested, both locally and from the state of New Mexico, to mobilize snow removal equipment to clear the North Access Road and the WIPP parking lot. All objectives for the activation were met with the exception of clearing the WIPP South Access Road, which motorists should avoid.

WIPP Site employees will report to work tomorrow as long as driving conditions do not worsen overnight. Extremely low overnight temperatures and freezing fog are in the forecast. Employees are reminded to use extreme caution (slow down, watch for black ice and snow on the roadway) while driving on the Hobbs Highway (62-180) and the North Access Road. Travel on the South Access Road is discouraged. Employees should also check the WIPP Inclement Weather Hotline (234-7070 or 234-8080) for work delays due to changing weather conditions.

A Level 1 EOC activation is not related to an actual emergency, but allows monitoring and coordination of resources by key emergency management and Department of Energy personnel. Level 1 is the least severe of all EOC activation levels.