The operating and managing contractor of southeastern New Mexico’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, Nuclear Waste Partnership, received 90 percent of the available performance-based fees awarded by the Department of Energy for the 2017 fiscal year.
NWP was awarded more than $10.7 million and received an “excellent” in mission performance and “very good” in four other categories: regulatory compliance, management performance, safety and health performance and cost control.
Part of the award also covered objective goals met by the facility, including $677,500 for “completing activities to resume Panel 8 mining operations” and $580,000 for completing certain maintenance work underground.
The evaluation period covered the facility’s resumption of shipments of waste to WIPP, which restarted in January 2017.
The restart earned NWP $4.13 million.
The facility had been closed since February 2014 after a radiation release from a ruptured drum and unrelated fire prompted operations to shut down.
The evaluation scorecard also noted areas for improvement.
“An unfavorable trend in recordable injuries and late reporting of first aid injuries became a concern in the last new months of FY2017,” the scorecard says.
NWP spokesman Donavan Mager said none of those injuries was serious.
“However, as part of our continuous improvement efforts, we implemented a safety campaign to drive down injuries and to reinforce timely reporting of all injuries, no matter how minor,” Mager said in an email. “The results have been extremely positive through the first two quarters of this year.”
Also noted were 85 citations issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration throughout the year, of which 71 had been closed out by MSHA inspectors by January 2018.