New hybrid bolting machine assembled at Wipp. Courtesy/WIPP
WIPP’s new hybrid bolting machine was recently transported to the WIPP underground, where it was reassembled by site personnel.
The bolter is designed to run on either diesel or electricity. The unit was inspected and acceptance tested at the manufacturer’s site before it was disassembled and transported to the WIPP site. Operational checks have been completed, and the automatic fire suppression system has been installed on the unit.
Before the bolter can be placed into service, portable power units that will supply the necessary electricity must be relocated to the appropriate areas of the underground, and operator training will need to be completed. Use of the hybrid bolter should significantly increase the capacity for bolting crews without requiring higher ventilation rates.
Bolting, or ground control, is the process of installing steel bolts, up to 20 feet in length, into the roof (back) and walls (ribs) of underground drifts (tunnels). The bolts slow the natural movement of the salt and help prevent rock falls, while allowing the time necessary for placement of waste. Since November 2014, approximately 3,300 bolts have been installed, recovering the WIPP underground and providing a safe work environment for employees.
The City of Carlsbad and the Department of Energy will co-host the next WIPP Town Hall meeting featuring updates on recovery activities. The meeting is for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 3, at the Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halagueno St. Live streaming of the meeting can be seen at http://new.livestream.com/rrv/.