WIPP Update: Supplemental Ventilation System

SVS installed in the WIPP underground. Courtesy/WIPP

WIPP News:

The Underground Ventilation System at WIPP is undergoing a significant change that will provide additional airflow in the underground. 

The large fan that is part of the Supplemental Ventilation System (SVS) was recently downloaded to the underground and has been successfully installed. The fan and shroud were connected to the new bulkhead and the associated electrical modifications are proceeding.

The fan is expected to be connected to the underground electrical infrastructure in October, once modifications to an underground substation are complete. The unit is designed to work in conjunction with the Interim ventilation System (IVS) and will be activated when the IVS also is ready to go operational.  

When both units are installed and operational, the increased ventilation will allow for additional work activities to occur in the underground concurrently with ongoing recovery work. Exhaust air from the uncontaminated areas of the underground will exit through the salt shaft, resulting in the ability to increase the amount of airflow provided to these areas. 

Airflow barriers will be installed in specific locations throughout the underground that allow for the separation of the contaminated and uncontaminated areas. The uncontaminated areas will have a higher air pressure than the contaminated areas, ensuring that contamination will not be redistributed in the  underground or released to the environment.

The fan and filter repairs on the IVS are complete and the units are scheduled to be installed later this year after which both systems will be fully tested and undergo the necessary pre-startup activities before operational early next year.

The SVS will provide an additional 70,000 cubic feet per minute of airflow to the uncontaminated areas of the underground during mining activities and the contaminated side during waste handling. WIPP continues to focus on safely and efficiently recovering the facility.

The City of Carlsbad and DOE will co‐host the next WIPP Town Hall meeting at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 1 at the Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halaguene St. Live Streaming of the meeting can be seen by clicking here.


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