Other Transparency Activities
Environmental Watch Network:
The Neighborhood Environmental Watch Network (NEWNET) is a network of
environmental monitoring stations, data storage and data processing systems,
with public access to the data through the Internet and Environmental Teller
Machines (ETM's). This allows stakeholders to have constant access to the
stations so they can observe the results at any time. A station manager from
each community is trained in station maintenance, and has access to researchers
and support organizations that can provide technical assistance if needed.
Station managers serve as liaisons to their communities and can help citizens
understand measurements. NEWNET was started in 1993 with stations in Nevada,
California, Utah, and New Mexico. It is based on concepts developed by the
Department of Energy for the Community Monitoring Program at the Nevada Test
Site Nuclear Testing Facility. Stations can vary in configuration; however, most
NEWNET stations have sensors for monitoring wind speed and direction, ambient
air temperature, barometric pressure, relative humidity and ionizing gamma
radiation. Some stations have tipping bucket rain gauges and others have
additional radiation sensors. Additional types of sensors are being investigated
for air quality and water quality measurements.
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant:
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the world's first underground
repository licensed to safely and permanently dispose of transuranic
radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons.
After more than 20 years of scientific study, public input, and regulatory
struggles, WIPP began operations on March 26, 1999. Located in the remote
Chihuahuan Desert of southeastern New Mexico, project facilities include
disposal rooms mined 2,150 feet underground in a 2,000-foot thick salt formation
that has been stable for more than 200 million years. Transuranic waste in the
U.S. is currently stored at 23 locations nationwide. Over the next 35 years,
WIPP is expected to receive about 37,000 shipments. Sandia Labs is currently
working on a DOE funded transparency experiment that involves providing access
to many environmental parameters associated with the underground repository.