WIPP: Initial Analysis Indicates No Additional Breached Containers Contributed To Radiological Release

Project Reach’s 90-foot boom is positioned over the top of waste containers in Panel 7, Room 7, as a remotely operated video camera collects photographic evidence. Courtesy/WIPP

WIPP News:

  • AIB: No Additional Breached Containers Contributed to WIPP Radiological Release
  • Watch a short video clip of Project Reach

Initial analysis of the photographic data obtained by Project Reach indicates that no additional breached waste containers contributed to the Feb. 14, 2014, radiological event at WIPP.

According to Ted Wyka, chairman of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Accident Investigation Board (AIB), “a preliminary review of the visual evidence obtained by the AIB using the Reach equipment supports that a single drum (LANL68660) was the source of the Feb. 14 radiological release event.”

Wyka also headed the Project Reach team that made multiple underground entries over several weeks to photograph all waste containers and waste stacks in Panel 7, Room 7, the location of the radiological release.

roject Reach is a specially designed and manufactured 90‐foot composite boom equipped with high resolution photographic equipment. Waste in the WIPP underground facility is stacked in six columns, with each column consisting of up to three layers of transuranic waste containers.

The Project Reach boom and camera systems were installed on a movable cradle and mounted on a support structure, that allowed operators to examine waste stacks from floor to ceiling and from wall to wall.

Completing Project Reach was the final activity necessary for the AIB to complete its Phase II investigation of the WIPP radiological event. According to Wyka, the Phase 2 report is expected to be released around the end of March.

The City of Carlsbad and DOE’s Carlsbad Field Office will co‐host the monthly WIPP Town Hall meeting March 5 featuring updates on the WIPP recovery process. A recording of the meeting can be seen at http://new.livestream.com/rrv/.