Copyright © 2016 Albuquerque Journal
The Department of Energy plans to close off the south end of a southeastern New Mexico nuclear waste repository after a series of dangerous roof collapses made the area unsafe.
No one was hurt in the roof collapses, which occurred over the past year in areas already restricted to workers. But the incidents have laid bare the challenges of recovering the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant after a February 2014 radiation accident that contaminated the repository and curbed workers’ ability to perform maintenance.
“Rock fall is the single highest hazard to workers and to the mission at WIPP,” said Phil Breidenbach, project manager at WIPP contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership, during a special town hall meeting this week called to address the ground control issues.