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1995 News Releases

Westinghouse WID Earns DOE Quality Award - 11/08/95

DOE Accelerates WIPP Schedule - 10/20/95

WIPP Celebrates National Quality Month - 10/13/95

Assistant DOE Secretary Transfers WIPP Technology - 10/10/95

DOE Extends EIS Public Comment Period - 10/06/95

DOE Closes Underground Experimental Area - 09/28/95

SEIS Meetings Held For WIPP - 09/12/95

Lee Named Deputy GM For Westinghouse WID - 08/25/95

WIPP Transportation System At Trade Show - 07/11/95

Technology Transfer - 07/07/95

French Visit - 06/16/95

RCRA Permit Application - 05/26/95

Lab Tests For WIPP - 04/25/95

Earthquake Near WIPP - 04/17/95

CAST Gets WIPP Transportation Contract - 03/30/95

Recycling at WIPP - 03/23/95

1-800 number for WIPP - 03/07/95

Technology Transfer - 02/01/95

Transportation Contract Protested - 01/30/95

CAO Budget - 01/27/95

Graham Visits WIPP - 01/12/95

WIPP gets Best Mine Award - 01/10/95

 


WESTINGHOUSE WID EARNS DOE QUALITY AWARD

DOE PRESENTS ENERGY QUALITY AWARD TO WIPP CONTRACTOR

CARLSBAD, N.M., Nov. 8 -- The U. S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office today honored the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division (WID) for winning the highest award given in the first annual DOE Quality Awards Program. The Energy Quality Award was presented to WID General Manager Joe Epstein by Secretary of Energy Hazel O'Leary on October 24, during ceremonies at DOE headquarters in Washington, D.C. The WID is the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

In today's local ceremony at the WIPP, Carlsbad Area Office Manager George Dials cited the WID's achievement as yet another example of how the quality culture promoted by the DOE has taken hold at the WIPP. Earlier this year, the WID received top honors from Westinghouse corporate headquarters by winning the Westinghouse Chairman's Performance Leadership Award.

"Today, I am recognizing Westinghouse and its employees for continuous attention to quality performance," said Dials. "This is the level of performance that is expected and required to move the WIPP program forward in our efforts to open this nation's first radioactive waste repository."

Dials addressed the gathering of WID personnel, saying that the Energy Quality Award is not an end in itself. "Winning this award is merely an indicator that you have what it takes to excel at a task," he told the group. "I have challenged myself and made a personal commitment to get the WIPP open and operating. I want each and every one of you take that same challenge and renew your commitment to this project."

WID General Manager Joe Epstein and employees representing each of the WID departments accepted the award on behalf of all the employees. "We have received several awards in the total quality arena, but the Energy Quality Award ranks the highest because it comes from our customer -- the DOE," Epstein said.

The WID was one of two winners in the Achievement category, the highest level awarded this year in the DOE Quality Award Program. The DOE's Albuquerque Operations Office was the other recipient of an Achievement Award. Two other New Mexico-based DOE operations were honored in the competition as well. Sandia National Laboratories received an Energy Accomplishment Award, and Los Alamos National Laboratory won an Energy Quality Champion Award. The program is modeled after the Malcolm Baldrige and President's Quality Award programs. A total of 29 DOE organizations submitted applications for the 1995 awards.

"It is interesting, but not a coincidence, that four of the nine winning organizations are based in New Mexico," Epstein noted. "Total quality management has been at the core of the Westinghouse culture for many years, but the state of New Mexico has also embraced the quality improvement concepts in recent years through the creation of Quality New Mexico."

The DOE and Westinghouse support the Quality New Mexico Organization through participation in workshops, promotional activities, and awards competitions. Quality New Mexico was created in 1993 to promote and develop a statewide focus on quality practices to ensure New Mexico's achievement of world-class excellence in business, education, and government.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Administered by the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, the WIPP is located 26 miles east of Carlsbad. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in an ancient, stable salt formation. 005DR1195

WIPP CELEBRATES NATIONAL QUALITY MONTH

WIPP PERSONNEL CELEBRATE NATIONAL QUALITY MONTH

CARLSBAD, N.M., Oct. 13 -- The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and its main contractors, Westinghouse Electric Corporation and Sandia National Laboratories, are celebrating National Quality Month at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Several National Quality Month activities are taking place in October, including "Lunch with Leaders," total quality training courses, and a visit from former astronaut Mike Mullane.

National Quality Month, created in 1984 by presidential proclamation, challenges American businesses, industry, government and academia to put "Quality First." This national commitment to quality now spans three presidential administrations.

Beginning in October 1994, the Carlsbad Area Office, Westinghouse and Sandia made the decision to bring "Quality First" closer to home by arranging specialized activities that bring quality to the forefront.

The "Lunch with Leaders" activity, which was well received in 1994, allows senior management from the DOE, Westinghouse and Sandia an informal setting to recognize quality contributors at the WIPP, and to discuss quality improvement concepts with employees. A special twist has been added for leaders and employees taking part in this activity. Lunch is served almost half a mile underground at the WIPP repository level to allow mining personnel the opportunity to participate.

"As we approach the 21st century, and a new era of quality, technology will raise capabilities and expectations," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office, who generally leads the Lunch with Leaders activity. "The distinction between product and service will be a blur. Quality, meanwhile, will be understood in a whole new light. In an ever-changing world, 'Quality First' is a strategy that employees associated with the WIPP understand and embrace."

The DOE continually explores ways to reward and recognize employees for quality performance. A number of recognition programs are used by various DOE offices.

"Recognizing and rewarding employee contributions and accomplishments are an important part of creating a quality culture," said Dials. "When employees know that their efforts are appreciated, it increases their self-esteem and satisfaction with their jobs. Their improved attitude toward their job encourages them to aim for quality and increases productivity." 25DR1095

DOE ACCELERATES WIPP SCHEDULE

DOE ACCELERATES SCHEDULE TO OPEN THE WIPP

CARLSBAD, N.M., Oct. 20 -- The acceleration of regulatory activities by the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office will allow for an earlier decision to begin nuclear waste disposal operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

The DOE had originally scheduled January 1998 for the Secretary of Energy to make a decision to open the WIPP as the nation's first deep geologic nuclear waste repository. That schedule has been accelerated by two months, to Oct. 31, 1997, said George Dials, Manager of the Carlsbad Area Office, which oversees the WIPP project.

"In July, U.S. Rep. Dan Schaefer (R-CO) asked me to look at the current schedule to see if we could start waste operations any sooner," said George Dials, Manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "We looked at the WIPP Disposal Decision Plan and found that, through process improvement and by conducting more activities in parallel, the DOE will be in a position to make a decision earlier than originally planned."

"I am confident that we can achieve this schedule and open the WIPP, which is essential if we are to begin solving this nation's nuclear waste problem."

Schaefer serves on the House Commerce Committee and is the chair of the subcommittee on Energy and Power. The lawmaker is also co-sponsoring legislation that will speed up the opening of the WIPP. U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen (R-NM) and U.S. Rep. Mike Crapo (D-Idaho) are coauthors of House Bill 1663, which, if passed by Congress, will help open the WIPP sooner.

Submission of the final Compliance Certification Application is one of the key regulatory milestones that will allow the DOE to make an earlier disposal decision, said Dials. The document is scheduled to be presented to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in October 1996.

"This is a significant change that will allow us to open the facility sooner," said Dials. "The decision for an earlier submission was made after all program participants reviewed the schedule and agreed that the final compliance document could be submitted to the EPA two months sooner."

The WIPP, located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, is a proposed repository for defense-generated nuclear waste remaining from defense-related activities. Project facilities include disposal rooms mined 2,150 feet underground in an ancient, stable salt formation. Upon certification by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), expected in October 1997, the WIPP will begin disposal operations in April 1998. 26DR1095

ASSISTANT DOE SECRETARY TRANSFERS WIPP TECHNOLOGY

ASSISTANT SECRETARY ILLUSTRATES DOE'S DIVERSITY IN TECH TRANSFER

WASHINGTON, D.C., Oct. 10 -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) transferred information technology to a Virginia-based woman-owned business that specializes in professional development training. The transfer of technology is in support of a continuing commitment by DOE Secretary Hazel O'Leary to make research and development of technology available to private industry, including small and minority-owned business.

Thomas Grumbly, Assistant Secretary for the DOE's Office of Environmental Management, presented Patricia Guggenheimer, president of Cavalier Development Company in Nokesville, VA, with computerized self-paced professional development modules, created at the DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, N.M.. The Virginia-based company, which has been operating for 10 years, plans to modify the training courses and market them to the private sector.

"The Secretary continually expresses the importance of diversity and technology transfer," said Grumbly. "The Department has made significant progress in achieving both initiatives. I believe this transfer illustrates how the private sector benefits from contractor-developed, government-funded technology."

"The transfer of $2 million worth of technology from the DOE to Cavalier Development Company is exactly the boost a woman-owned, small business needs to compete in a global marketplace," said Guggenheimer. "This technology moves CDC, which specializes in change management and team building, forward in its ability to service its customers by five years. This transfer of technology is a perfect example of how government can help women-owned, small companies achieve excellence."

Westinghouse Electric Corporation, the primary contractor for the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, created the professional development technology for company and DOE employees at the WIPP. Guggenheimer learned of the availability of the technology by answering a notice that was place on the Internet. The Internet is a growing international computer network that is accessible by millions of people.

Since March of this year, The Carlsbad Area Office and Westinghouse have been posting technology transfer notices on the Internet. More than 1,000 technology transfer requests have been received because of the notices. Of the 59 technology transfers to date, or approximately 32 percent, have been made to small, small disadvantaged, and women-owned businesses.

The DOE technology transfer program is designed to promote economic development and competitiveness in the private sector; improve the quality of organizational operations; enhance education and training; and ensure maximum return on taxpayer investment. Most DOE-funded, Westinghouse-developed technologies are available to organizations for nonexclusive commercialization or internal use at no cost.

Always looking for ways to better serve the taxpayer, the Carlsbad Area Office and Westinghouse are venturing into paper less customer-oriented information transfers. Any company with a computer and modem will be able to download product information and an approval form. Faster transfers will result. There will also be a reduction in paper usage and postage costs, while giving taxpayers "real-time" access to DOE-funded information technology.

The WIPP is a research and development facility administered by the Carlsbad Area Office. Located in southeastern New Mexico, it is designed to demonstrate the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in an ancient, stable salt formation.

Anyone interested in more information on the Carlsbad Area Office's Technology Transfer Program can call either Alison Miner of the Carlsbad Area Office at (505) 234-7321, or Bill Keeley of Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division at (505) 234-7594. Keeley, who is the Westinghouse Senior Administrative Manager of Technology Transfer and Economic Development, also can be reached through the Internet at Paul.DeVito@wipp.ws. For additional information on the WIPP, please call toll free, 1-800-336-WIPP (9477). 24DR1195

DOE EXTENDS EIS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD

COMMENT PERIOD EXTENDED FOR WIPP ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., Oct. 6 -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is extending until Oct. 16, 1995, the public scoping period for a second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

The purpose of the scoping process is to ensure, through public input, that all appropriate topics to be reviewed in the second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement document are identified.

The DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, which administers the WIPP program, is also holding an additional public scoping session from 7 to 9 p.m., Oct. 11, at the Broomfield Recreation Center, 300 Community Park Drive, Broomfield, Colo. The meeting is in response to a request received by stakeholders in the Denver Metro Area. Public scoping opportunities were previously held Sept. 7-20 in Carlsbad, Albuquerque and Santa Fe, N.M., Denver, Colo., and Boise, Idaho.

The second supplement will update the information contained in the first Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. Generally, this study will evaluate new information and any changes related to the environmental impacts of waste characterization, treatment, and certification; packaging and transportation; site operations and waste emplacement; and long-term performance of the repository.

Comments should be postmarked no later than Oct. 16. to Harold Johnson, DOE NEPA Compliance Office, c/o Battelle, 200 Randolph Road SE, #105, Albuquerque, NM 87106. Comments may also be faxed to (505) 224-8030.

The WIPP, located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, N.M., is designed to demonstrate the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in an ancient, stable salt formation.

For more information on the second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement process or the WIPP, please call the WIPP Information Center, toll free, at 1-800-336-WIPP (9477). 25DR1095

DOE CLOSES UNDERGOUND EXPERIMENTAL AREA

DOE CLOSES PORTION OF WIPP UNDERGROUND EXPERIMENTAL AREA

CARLSBAD, N.M., September 28 -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office today announced that it is closing part of the underground experimental area at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

According to George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office, the northeast area of the WIPP underground is scheduled to be closed by Sept. 29 to personnel access because all pertinent geotechnical data have been collected to support the operation of the WIPP.

"A majority of nonradioactive tests needed to determine the suitability of the WIPP as a nuclear waste repository, have been done," said Dials. "It just makes sense, from the safety and economic aspects, to remove that area from routine human access."

Experiments in the northeast end of the WIPP underground involved the study of salt rock closure and movement. Creep, or movement, of the salt is monitored to see how long it will take to encapsulate and isolate the waste after it has been placed underground. Data collection in the northwest area of the WIPP underground is anticipated to be completed by mid-1996, with closure to begin soon thereafter.

The northern end of the WIPP underground was mined in the early 1980s specifically as an area for nonradioactive experiments where scientists studied the geologic characteristics of the proposed nuclear waste repository. Radioactive experiments are being conducted at Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Idaho National Engineering Laboratories.

Phase I of the Experimental Area Management Plan will be completed by the end of September, said Rick Sowers, Westinghouse Electric Corporation's manager of mine operations. Underground operations personnel will salvage instruments and wiring that can be safely removed from the WIPP underground. When completed, the area will be barricaded to prevent access.

The WIPP is a research and development facility operated by the Carlsbad Area Office. Located in southeastern New Mexico, it is designed to demonstrate the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in an ancient, stable salt formation.

When all applicable state and federal environmental regulations have been met, the Secretary of Energy is expected to make a decision in January 1998 to open the WIPP as the nation's first deep geologic nuclear waste repository.

Westinghouse's Waste Isolation Division serves as the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP. 19DR0795

PUBLIC MEETINGS HELD FOR WIPP SEIS-II

ENERGY DEPARTMENT TO HOST PUBLIC INPUT SESSIONS ON WIPP

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., Sept. 12 -- The U.S. Department of Energy is hosting two interactive sessions here today to gather public comments for a second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad. The sessions are scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 10 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Pyramid, 5151 San Francisco Road NE.

The purpose of the scoping process is to ensure that all appropriate topics to be reviewed in the second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement document have been identified. The second supplement will update the information contained in the first Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. Generally, this study will evaluate the environmental impacts of waste characterization, treatment, and certification; packaging and transportation; site operations and waste emplacement; and long-term performance of the repository. Examples include:

  • Inclusion of waste at sites where small quantities of radioactive waste are generated or stored;

  • Changes in the volume of waste since 1990 estimates were made;

  • Legislative changes since 1990, such as the Land Withdrawal Act of 1992, and any changes that may be enacted by the 104th Congress;

  • Changes in the planned routes for truck transportation; and

  • Changes in the waste acceptance criteria since 1990.

Additional public sessions are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 14 in Santa Fe; and Sept. 19-20 in Golden, Co. and Boise, Id.

Upon completion of the interactive scoping sessions, the DOE will begin preparation of the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement document, scheduled for completion in 1996. Public hearings will then be held to consider the draft. Pertinent comments will be included in the final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement document.

Under the proposed action, the DOE will continue with its phased development of the WIPP by beginning waste disposal activities in 1998, dependant on approval from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The WIPP is a research and development facility administered by the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, it is designed to demonstrate the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in an ancient, stable salt formation.

For more information on the second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement process or the WIPP, please call the WIPP Information Center, toll free, at 1-800-336-WIPP (9477). 20DR0995

LEE NAMED DEPUTY GM FOR WESTINGHOUSE WID

LEE NAMED WID DEPUTY MANAGER

CARLSBAD, N.M., Aug. 25 -- Westinghouse Electric Corporation today named John L. Lee as the deputy general manager of the Waste Isolation Division (WID) at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Lee, manager of WID facility operations at the WIPP from 1990 to 1993, returns to Carlsbad following two years as director of Tank Farm Transition Projects at Westinghouse Hanford Company near Richland, Wash. Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP and Hanford facilities.

In making the announcement, WID General Manager Joe Epstein said Lee will officially begin his duties on Oct. 1, 1995. "We expect John's transition to be smooth," he said. "He brings valuable knowledge and experience to the project."

Lee said he and his wife, Jean, are excited about returning to southeastern New Mexico and the WIPP. "It's a pleasure to be back," he said. "I look forward to undertaking the challenge of helping to open the nation's first deep geologic radioactive waste repository."

The WIPP is administered by the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, the proposed repository is designed to permanently dispose of defense-generated transuranic radioactive waste in ancient, stable salt beds located 2,150 feet below the earth's surface. Waste shipments are scheduled to begin in 1998, pending approval by the Environmental Protection Agency. 16WR0895

SPECIAL TO TRICIPE III TRADE SHOW

'SAFEST' RADIOACTIVE, HAZARDOUS WASTE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM AT TRICIPE III

BEND, Ore., July 11 -- One of the safest radioactive and hazardous waste transportation systems designed will be on exhibit at the Aug. 9- 10 TriCiPe III Trade Show in Kennewick, Wash.

TriCiPe III, to be held at the Tri-Cities Coliseum, spotlights the latest technologies in radioactive and hazardous materials handling, cleanup and disposal, pollution monitoring and remediation, recycling, workplace safety and other environmental fields.

Last year's show attracted more than 250 exhibitors from all over the United States and Canada and drew approximately 3,000 attendees during its two-day run.

On loan from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) for the show, the Transuranic Package Transporter, Model 2 (TRUPACT-II) is specially designed to safely transport drums of transuranic radioactive waste to the DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, N.M. The public can view the transporter from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day.

The WIPP is one valuable solution to the nation's nuclear waste disposal problem. Operated by the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, the facility is designed for the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in a stable, ancient salt formation.

Transuranic waste will be transported to the WIPP from 10 temporary storage sites nationwide, including the Hanford Site, a 560-square-mile area that has extensive problems of contamination by nuclear and hazardous wastes.

Transuranic waste is contaminated with radioactive elements heavier than uranium, primarily plutonium. The dry waste generally consists of clothing, tools, rags and other items used while making and maintaining nuclear weapons. This trash -- if not contaminated with radioactive and chemically hazardous materials -- could be disposed of in a regular landfill.

Described by the National Academy of Sciences as "the safest (transportation system) employed for any hazardous material in the United States today," the TRUPACT-II measures eight feet in diameter and 10 feet high. The receptacle is certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and considered safe under U.S. Department of Transportation standards. At a cost of about $350,000, the leaktight container is built with stainless steel and constructed with inner and outer containment vessels.

Before its original certification by the NRC in 1989, the TRUPACT-II underwent extensive drop, puncture and burn tests by engineers at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M. Each container can hold two layers of seven 55-gallon drums containing radioactive waste.

Conventional lightweight diesel tractor and semi-trailers are designed to transport as many as three TRUPACT-II containers. Features of these carriers include a computer console linking the vehicle with a satellite tracking system, nationwide tracking by a central monitoring room at the WIPP site, and mobile telephones to allow direct two-way communication.

Drivers are required to pass stringent traffic safety and emergency response examinations, maintain good driving records and renew their certification each year. Training for the drivers includes a recovery procedure in case a TRUPACT-II becomes separated from the trailer in an accident.

When all applicable state and federal environmental regulations have been met, the Secretary of Energy is expected to make a decision in Jan. 1998 to open the WIPP as the nation's first nuclear waste repository. 13WR0795

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

DOE, WESTINGHOUSE USE AGGRESSIVE APPROACH TO TRANSFER WIPP TECHNOLOGY

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 7 -- The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division are aggressively sharing taxpayer-funded technology with local, state and national businesses and organizations.

Since revamping the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant's (WIPP) technology transfer program in January, the Carlsbad Area Office and Westinghouse have completed 16 technology transfer projects with businesses and organizations; 13 others are near completion. The Carlsbad Area Office administers the WIPP program, while Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

Eddy County businesses and organizations are among the big winners that use technology generated at the WIPP. For example, Eddy Potash and the Guadalupe Medical Center have received WIPP-developed training courses. Alsop & Associates of Carlsbad has received specialized survey materials, and the Loving Municipal School District is enjoying continued assistance in information technology from Westinghouse and the Carlsbad Area Office.

"When people hear the word 'technology,' they usually think of machines, computers, tools and other types of hardware," said Jim Walls, manager of Westinghouse's Technology Transfer and Economic Development Group at the WIPP. "Our definition, however, includes other technologies including training materials, technical manuals and documents."

The Carlsbad Area Office-Westinghouse technology transfer program is designed to promote economic development and competitiveness in the private sector; improve the quality of organizational operations; enhance education and training; and ensure maximum return on taxpayer investment. Most DOE-funded, Westinghouse-developed technologies are available to organizations for nonexclusive commercialization or internal use at no cost.

According to Westinghouse's Bill Keeley, the Carlsbad Area Office and Westinghouse travel into cyberspace to market the WIPP technology. "We use the Internet to post notices on relevant mailing lists and have received responses from all over the country," he said.

The unique marketing approach is paying off, Keeley said. Since January, the Carlsbad Area Office and Westinghouse have contacted over 11,000 organizations about technology transfer opportunities and have received more than 475 inquiries.

"Our innovative process allows us to partner with a variety of WIPP stakeholders," said Alison Miner, team leader for the Carlsbad Area Office's Planning and Analysis Group. "The process provides us with an opportunity to help organizations grow and improve their operations. Ultimately, this benefits all taxpayers."

Fifteen companies, organizations and colleges from six states have received, or are about to receive, WIPP technology. Technology transfers include:

  • A business school professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and her graduate students modified WIPP training materials and secured a contract with the Kellogg Company to conduct training for self-directed work teams.

  • The department chair of human resources studies at Cornell University is making use of a DOE/Westinghouse-developed survey in the courses he teaches.

  • BDM Federal of Albuquerque is aggressively marketing commercial products developed from WIPP technologies.

  • WIPP-generated computer hardware and software for confined space training will be used at Eastern New Mexico University in Roswell, and at the New Mexico Firefighters Training Academy in Soccoro.

In the future, the DOE and Westinghouse plan to establish a WIPP technology transfer hub, and an Internet bulletin board specifically designed to inform small, women-owned and minority-owned businesses about WIPP technology transfer opportunities.

The WIPP is a proposed repository designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Operated by the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, the WIPP is located 26 miles east of Carlsbad. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in an ancient, stable salt formation.

Anyone interested in more information on WIPP technology transfer opportunities can call Keeley at (505) 234-7594 or reach him through the Internet at Paul.DeVito@wipp.ws. 17DR0695

FRENCH VISIT WIPP

FRENCH OFFICIALS AGREE WIPP IS ONE VALUABLE SOLUTION

CARLSBAD, N.M., June 16 -- Officials representing the French High Commission for Nuclear Energy say the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is the world's best hope for a partial solution to the global nuclear waste disposal problem.

Robert Dautray, French high commissioner for Nuclear Energy, along with Daniel Leroy, counselor for nuclear affairs at the French Embassy in Washington, D.C., visited the WIPP on a fact-finding mission recently, hoping to find answers to solve France's nuclear waste dilemma.

"When it comes to design and modeling, the WIPP is No. 1 in the world," said Dautray. "We have made a survey of the geological mediums in Europe. Like you, we have found that salt, because of its plastic qualities, is the best medium for disposing of nuclear waste. You are in a situation, even as a pilot-demonstration project, that is exceptional."

Administered by the Carlsbad Area Office, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from U.S. nuclear weapons research and production. Project facilities, located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, include disposal rooms mined 2,150 feet beneath the earth's surface in a stable, ancient salt formation. The DOE project is scheduled to receive its first waste shipment in June 1998, after meeting all applicable state and federal regulations.

During their whirlwind trip through southeastern New Mexico, the French officials received an overview of the U.S. nuclear waste problem, toured the WIPP surface and underground facilities, and learned of the state-of-the-art ground monitoring and modeling that is in place at the proposed repository.

"We are very impressed with the monitoring devices and the modeling that are in place here," said Leroy. "This is what we are trying to do in France. You have what amounts to an underground laboratory; this is how we need to approach siting a repository in our country."

Dautray learned of the WIPP five years ago when speaking with Charles Fairhurst, chair for the National Academy of Sciences WIPP Panel. "Mr. Fairhurst told me years ago that this was a place I needed to visit because it is a possible solution to the nuclear waste problem," said Dautray. "I'm glad we were finally able to get out here."

"This facility is of the highest quality," said Leroy. "Quality and safety here are outstanding. We have seen all the facilities in Europe and this one far exceeds them."

In closing, the French officials said that a stable salt formation, coupled with the lack of any major seismic activity in the area and no water sources, make the WIPP an ideal site to dispose of radioactive waste. The facility's multiple safety mechanisms and facility design are also impressive, said Dautray and Leroy.

"It's hard to believe that this facility doesn't have waste yet," said Dautray. "This is one solution to solving the global nuclear waste problem so that it will not continue to affect our children and our children's children. I only hope this project is a success." 18DR0695

RCRA PERMIT APPLICATION

DOE CLOSER TO SOLVING TRANSURANIC NUCLEAR WASTE DISPOSAL PROBLEM, OPENING WIPP

CARLSBAD, N.M., May 26 -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is closer to solving a part of the nation's nuclear waste disposal problem, meeting two major milestones that will lead to a decision to open the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in 1998.

The DOE's Carlsbad Area Office (CAO) and Westinghouse Electric Corporation submitted a revised Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Part B permit application to the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) on May 26, 1995. The CAO also completed a draft petition for a No-Migration Determination that will allow radioactive and hazardous-mixed waste disposal. It will be formally delivered to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on May 31, 1995. Both documents were completed ahead of schedule.

"By submitting the RCRA Part B permit application and the draft No-Migration petition, we have met every milestone established in the WIPP Disposal Decision Plan," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "We are two steps closer to demonstrating compliance with environmental regulations as required by Congress."

Most of the radioactive waste identified for permanent disposal at the WIPP will contain small amounts of hazardous constituents such as lead and cleaning solvent. The RCRA permit is required before the WIPP can accept this type of waste for disposal.

Passed by Congress in 1976 and significantly amended in 1984, the RCRA was established to track and regulate hazardous wastes from the time of generation to disposal. The law requires safe and secure procedures in treating, handling, transporting, storing, and disposing of hazardous wastes.

In 1993, a draft version of the RCRA Part B permit was published by the NMED for a "test phase" at the WIPP. After the DOE decided in October 1993 not to conduct radioactive tests at the WIPP, the NMED withdrew the draft permit and ordered that a revised permit application be submitted by May 31, 1995. The revised permit application addresses the "disposal phase" at the WIPP.

Dials said the eight-month process to revise the application "allowed us to work through specific issues with the NMED and enhance the DOE's associations with the state and stakeholders." Three public meetings were held in Albuquerque to explain revisions to the application. The DOE official anticipates that the NMED will issue a RCRA permit for the WIPP disposal phase in mid 1997.

The draft No-Migration Variance Petition will demonstrate, within a reasonable degree of certainty, that there will be no movement of hazardous constituents from the WIPP disposal area -- for as long as the wastes remain hazardous. The DOE will submit a final No-Migration Variance Petition in June 1996.

The RCRA permit and a No-Migration Determination are two of three regulatory approvals needed before the WIPP can open as the nation's first permanent repository for nuclear waste. The third is certification by the EPA that the WIPP complies with long-term radioactive disposal standards.

A draft application for that certification was submitted to the EPA on March 31, 1995. The DOE will submit the final application in late 1996.

Administered by the Carlsbad Area Office, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from nuclear weapons research and production. Project facilities include disposal rooms mined 2,150 feet beneath the earth's surface in a stable, ancient salt formation. The DOE project is scheduled to receive its first waste shipment in June 1998, after meeting all applicable state and federal regulations. 16DR0695

WIPP LAB TESTS

WIPP RADIOACTIVE WASTE TESTS BEGIN WEDNESDAY AT LOS ALAMOS

LOS ALAMOS, N.M., April 25 -- The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) transuranic radioactive waste tests begin Wednesday, April 26, at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL).

Results from the Actinide Source-Term Waste Test Program (STTP) will confirm performance assessment computer models that help determine if the WIPP is suitable to safely and permanently dispose of defense-generated transuranic waste. The program is expected to last three to five years. Preliminary data from the tests, some of which will be available in late May, will confirm performance assessment models used to show compliance with the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) long-term radionuclide containment standards. The DOE's final compliance certification application will be submitted to the EPA in December 1996.

"It is important that these tests get underway now so that data will be available to support our 1996 EPA compliance application," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "We expect that the data will support the information we have already collected on this subject."

The WIPP is a research and development facility operated by the Carlsbad Area Office. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, it is designed for the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in an ancient stable salt formation.

According to the DOE, the tests are designed to establish the behavior of transuranic elements in waste when mixed with brine, which is present in minute amounts in salt formations. Tests will be conducted on several transuranic waste types, typical of those temporarily stored at DOE sites nationwide.

Transuranic waste is contaminated with radioactive elements heavier than uranium, primarily plutonium. The dry waste generally consists of clothing, tools, rags and other items used while making and maintaining nuclear weapons. This trash -- if not contaminated with radioactive and chemically hazardous materials -- could be disposed of in a regular landfill.

The DOE canceled underground tests with radioactive materials at the WIPP in October 1993 because of scientific and budgetary questions. Tests in laboratory settings, with both simulated and radioactive wastes, will demonstrate compliance with EPA requirements.

In a laboratory, certain repository conditions, like those that might exist at the WIPP thousands of years in the future, can be simulated. Laboratory data will add to an already solid scientific foundation for the WIPP facility, allowing an earlier disposal decision to be made.

Radioactive waste already characterized for disposal at the WIPP is readily available at LANL for this experimental program. This was a major factor in the DOE's selection of LANL as the test facility, along with the cost-effectiveness of its proposed approach.

The STTP consists of 15 drum-scale tests with heterogeneous wastes (combustibles, laboratory, wastes, metals, etc.), 33 liter-scale tests with homogeneous wastes (sludges, cemented or solidified waste, pyrochemical salts, etc.) and six pressurized liter-scale tests at 60 bar (870 pounds per square inch gauge) with homogeneous waste. Each set of experiments contains certain influencing variables designed to illustrate the behavior of actinides in actual waste immersed in brine.

Actinides are radioactive elements including thorium, uranium and others that have an atomic number greater than uranium.

Complex analytical measurements will be conducted periodically on brine samples to determine the effect of each waste type on properties of actinides and to determine gas generation characteristics of the waste. The analytical results from these experiments will provide an understanding of the chemistry of actinides under conditions similar to the WIPP waste disposal rooms. The chemical equilibrium achieved by the actinides in the tests will serve to effectively demonstrate the overall long-term disposition of radionuclides in the WIPP.

The STTP will provide a technological base to augment other studies to ensure compliance of the WIPP with the DOE and EPA regulations.

Located in northern New Mexico, LANL is a multidisciplinary research organization

that applies science and technology to problems of national security ranging from defense to energy research. It is operated by the University of California for the DOE.

For more information on the STTP and other WIPP programs, the public can call the toll-free WIPP Information number, 1-800-336-WIPP (9477). 13DR0495

EARTHQUAKE NEAR WIPP

WIPP FACILITY UNAFFECTED BY EARTHQUAKE IN SOUTHWEST TEXAS

CARLSBAD, N.M., April 17 -- The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) was unaffected by the April 13 earthquake in southwest Texas, according to George Dials, DOE's manager of the Carlsbad Area Office that oversees the WIPP.

A thorough facility inspection was conducted earlier today by a Westinghouse Electric Corporation team consisting of mine engineers, geologists, and maintenance and safety personnel. An on-site official from the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) also joined the inspection team. No damage to either the project's hoisting systems and shafts, or surface and underground facilities was found. Normal underground access resumed by late morning.

"The WIPP's geologic formation ensures that an earthquake of this size and distance poses no danger to the facility," said Dials. "The repository is designed to withstand a magnitude 5.5 shock directly under the site. This event, coupled with the results of our subsequent thorough evaluation of all site systems, further confirms the stability of the repository."

Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the DOE, while NMED provides project oversight.

The WIPP is a repository designed to permanently dispose of defense-generated transuranic radioactive waste remaining from the production of nuclear weapons.

Project facilities consist of disposal rooms mined in stable rock salt 2,150 feet below the earth's surface. Geologists say the region has been stable for about 225 million years.

Because of its plastic-like qualities, the National Academy of Sciences selected salt in the 1950s as one of the best mediums to dispose of nuclear waste. The WIPP repository lies in the center of a 2,000-foot thick layer of rock salt.

Although site personnel on duty felt the April 13 tremor, electronic seismic monitoring equipment on the surface and in the underground did not generate an alarm -- which means the movement was not significant. Project officials decided to take a conservative and safe approach by suspending normal underground access and performing a detailed inspection of hoists, shafts and facilities.

According to data published in the project's 1980 Final Environmental Impact Statement, from 1961 to 1978 seismologists recorded 205 tremors within 180 miles of the WIPP. Before the April 13 tremor, a similar event occurred in west Texas Jan. 2, 1992, also not affecting surface or underground facilities at the WIPP. 15DR0495

CAST GETS WIPP TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT

WIPP TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT AWARDED TO COLORADO COMPANY

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 30 -- Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division has completed contract renegotiations for transportation support, agreeing to a one-year $342,617 pact with a Colorado trucking company.

Colorado Allstate Transportation (CAST) will support transportation activities at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and several locations nationwide. Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office, which operates the WIPP.

The contract contains options for four additional years, making the possible total value of the award $1.655 million over five years. CAST is considered a small business under the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

The WIPP is a research and development facility designed for the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in an ancient stable salt formation.

CAST was selected from three trucking company finalists to transfer radioactive materials on and between DOE nuclear waste generator sites. The company will also support state emergency response training exercises, and the transportation of transuranic radioactive waste shipping containers, including the Transportation Package Transporter, Model 2 (TRUPACT-II), for required maintenance. Additionally, support is required for a variety of educational activities and public outreach programs throughout the country.

One dedicated tractor and two drivers will perform approximately 60 dispatches per year. Dispatches will be from the WIPP site, located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, N.M. Subcontractor's equipment and government-furnished trailers will be parked at the WIPP. CAST will provide maintenance.

Westinghouse initially requested proposals for the transportation contract in late August 1994. TAD Trucking of Hobbs, N.M., was awarded the contract in late November 1994. The award, however, was protested by the current transportation contract holder, Dawn Trucking, Inc., of Farmington, N.M. This action resulted in contract cancellation with TAD, requiring Westinghouse to resolicit "Best and Final" offers from Dawn, TAD and CAST. Reevaluation of the proposals resulted in the selection of CAST as the WIPP transportation provider.

The contract, which is effective beginning April 1, calls for a four-month transition period with Dawn. 10WR0395

WIPP WASTE RECYCLING

WIPP'S RECYCLING PROGRAM HAS POSITIVE EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 23 -- A recycling program at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is having a positive effect on the environment, while saving taxpayers' money.

Since December 1993, WIPP employees have recycled enough paper to save 872 trees, 154 cubic yards of landfill space, 360,000 gallons of water, and sufficient energy to heat 51 houses for six months.

"We are very proud of our employees' recycling accomplishments," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, which administers the WIPP program. "The DOE and the federal government are setting an example and providing real leadership that will help create jobs and protect the environment."

According to paper manufacturer, 3M Corporation, for every ton of paper recycled, 17 trees, three cubic yards of landfill space, 7,000 gallons of water, and enough energy to heat a house for six months is saved. Through February, WIPP employees have recycled 51.21 tons of paper.

The WIPP's Waste Minimization Program features a variety of participants including the DOE, Westinghouse Electric Corporation, Sandia National Laboratories, and several subcontractors. Program participants receive personal paper recycling bins.

When the paper collection containers are full, a local company recycles the materials and proceeds are donated to the Carlsbad Area Retarded Citizens (CARC) Farm. Bins to transport the paper to the CARC Farm are donated by the city of Carlsbad.

Aluminum recycling bins are placed near vending machines. Over 700 pounds of aluminum cans have been recycled since the program began. Proceeds are donated to various charities, including the Boy Scouts of America organization.

In March 1994, WIPP employees started recharging laser printer toner cartridges, saving taxpayers almost $18,000 in 11 months. Each toner cartridge is recharged three times. After that, cartridges are donated to the Shriners, a nonprofit organization that recycles the units. Proceeds go to the Shriner's Childrens Hospital.

"By using recycled materials and reducing our own waste, the community and environment will benefit," said Dials.

Other waste Minimization activities at the WIPP include recycling of used oil and antifreeze, and the reclamation of lead acid batteries. Employees have developed other methods to keep the environment clean. Examples include the recycling of disposable gas cylinders, reusing waste water to make cement, and using more environmentally sound products to clean vehicles.

Additional tax dollars are saved by puncturing and compacting aerosol cans. Before December 1994, aerosol cans made up a large volume of the hazardous waste generated at the WIPP. Now, the new volume reduction process saves $5 per can in disposal costs while safely complying with all hazardous waste regulations.

Members of the WIPP's Waste Minimization Committee voluntarily participate in community outreach programs that educate businesses about the best way to begin a recycling program.

The Waste Minimization Program, in part, was begun in response to President Bill Clinton's executive order requiring the use of recycled paper and products by all government installations. Statistics show that the federal government uses 300,000 tons of printing and writing paper per year, or approximately 2 percent of the entire U.S. market for paper. Paper accounts for 40 percent of all solid waste and 77 percent of government office waste.

Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor at the WIPP, a project of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office designed to demonstrate the safe, permanent disposal of defense-generated radioactive waste in a stable salt formation 2,150 feet below the earth's surface. Sandia serves as scientific advisor for the project. 14DR0395

NEW 1-800 NUMBER FOR WIPP

TOLL FREE WIPP INFORMATION NUMBER ESTABLISHED BY DOE

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 7 -- The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office today announced the establishment of a toll-free telephone number to access information on the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and the National Transuranic Waste Program.

Stakeholders, educators, government agencies and the public can call 1-800-336-WIPP (1-800-336-9477) to reach the WIPP Information Center. Telephone lines are staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (MT), Monday through Friday. After 4:30 p.m. and on weekends, callers may leave a recorded message, or listen to prerecorded updates on the status of WIPP programs.

"This is another way to get stakeholders involved and keep them informed about the WIPP and the National Transuranic Program," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "Callers should feel free to use this number any time."

Dials initiated the 1-800 information line by placing the first telephone call to the Center, Wednesday, March 1.

Information available to callers includes the following:

  • Announcements of upcoming meetings and public involvement opportunities

  • Program information including fact sheets and bibliographies on selected topics

  • Updates on program developments and regulatory compliance

  • Answers to specific questions about the WIPP and transuranic waste management

  • Information on the availability of program documents.

The WIPP is a research and development facility operated by the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. Located in southeastern New Mexico, it is designed to demonstrate the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in ancient bedded salt rock.

The National Transuranic Waste Program, another element of the Carlsbad Area Office, administers nationwide generator/storage site programs for packaging, transporting, storing and disposing of transuranic radioactive waste. 12DR0395

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

DOE, WESTINGHOUSE TRANSFER WIPP TRAINING PROGRAM TO PRIVATE SECTOR

CARLSBAD, N.M., Feb. 1 -- Training technology developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) will promote economic development in the private sector.

BDM Federal of Albuquerque this week became the recipient of information contained in the WIPP's Management and Supervisor Training (MAST) program. The technology transfer was initiated through the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, which administers the WIPP program, and its main contractor, Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division.

"Technology transfer ensures that taxpayers receive the greatest possible return on DOE-funded research and development," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "It is our hope that this technology transfer will generate business growth in New Mexico."

Most technology developed by the Department is available for transfer to the private sector upon request. BDM contacted the DOE and Westinghouse, which then transferred the training program technology.

The MAST Program, developed by Westinghouse under a contract with the DOE, is used to train managers and supervisors at the WIPP, and personnel at other DOE facilities. BDM gained 31 self-paced modules containing 1,000 pages of instructional material related to leadership, communication and planning.

Ray Marchi, senior vice-president of BDM Federal, said that his company plans to market the MAST program commercially. "We are pleased to receive this program," he said. "BDM's Workforce Group headquartered in Albuquerque will include these high quality materials in its product line for commercial and government clients."

"I believe this program is the future of technology transfer initiatives," said Carl Cox, general manager of the Waste Isolation Division. "In the past, technology transfer primarily focused on equipment, but now it is information. We are glad to be part of this exciting process."

Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, the WIPP is a research and development facility designed to demonstrate the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in a stable salt formation. 09DR0295

WIPP TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT UNDER PROTEST

WIPP TRANSPORTATION CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS TO REOPEN

CARLSBAD, N. M., Jan. 30 -- Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division will reopen contract negotiations with three trucking company finalists seeking to transport radioactive waste to the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. The original request for transportation services was issued in Aug. 1994. Under a prime contract with the DOE, Westinghouse asked for transportation support at the WIPP and 10 locations nationwide.

The transportation subcontract will require transfer of radioactive materials on and between DOE waste generator sites, state emergency response training exercises, transport of transuranic shipping containers, including the TRUPACT-II, for required maintenance, and a variety of educational activities and public outreach programs.

In Nov. 1994, TAD Trucking Company of Hobbs was awarded an initial one-year contract that had a potential value of $1.7 million over a five-year option period. The previous supplier of transportation services, Farmington-based Dawn Enterprises Inc., filed a protest of the TAD award in Dec. 1994 with the General Accounting Office in Washington, D.C.

Based upon review and evaluation of the protest, reopened negotiations between Westinghouse and the three finalists participating in the best and final award process will address several elements of the transportation contract including information related to cost.

Negotiations To Reopen

"Each finalist will be asked to submit information that is necessary for Westinghouse to reevaluate the bids," said Joe Epstein, deputy general manager of the Waste Isolation Division. "This allows those companies involved an opportunity to refine their bids and assure taxpayers a cost-effective service."

Westinghouse will complete a second best and final evaluation by April 1995.

The WIPP is a research and development facility designed to demonstrate the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in a stable salt formation. 06WR0195

CAO 1996 BUDGET

REDUCTION IN 1996 BUDGET NOT EXPECTED TO AFFECT WIPP'S OPENING

CARLSBAD, N.M., Jan.27 -- The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office announced today that a proposed 1 percent cut in its fiscal year 1996 budget is not expected to affect the opening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in June 1998.

Programmatic reductions were ordered by the Presidential Office of Management and Budget. George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office, which administers the WIPP and National Transuranic Program Office budgets, said the reduction will save taxpayers about $1.6 million in fiscal year 1996.

Congress approved a $174.3 million budget to operate the WIPP and National Transuranic Program Office programs in fiscal year 1995. The Carlsbad Area Office is requesting $172.7 million as part of the President's Fiscal Year 1996 budget proposal. Proposed funding for the WIPP in fiscal year 1996 is $150.1 million, compared to $22.6 million for the National Transuranic Program Office.

"We will be able to meet key milestones, including the December 1996 submittal of the final compliance application to the Environmental Protection Agency," said Dials. "The program reductions are not unexpected. As throughout the DOE complex, we are working hard to do more with less funding."

No layoffs are expected at the DOE research and development facility, managed and operated by Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division. The Carlsbad Area Office is determining what areas will be affected by the cost-saving measure.

The WIPP is a proposed repository for defense-generated transuranic radioactive waste. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in a stable salt formation. The National Transuranic Program Office coordinates all activities related to the characterization, storage, transportation and disposal of transuranic radioactive waste. 08DR0195

GRAHAM VISITS WIPP

U.S. BUREAU OF MINES DIRECTOR REVISITS THE WIPP

CARLSBAD, N.M., Jan. 12 -- Rhea Graham, U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) director, received a homecoming of sorts today, revisiting the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) for an update on mining technology.

"It's a pleasure to be back in New Mexico, " said Graham, who was accompanied on her tour of the WIPP by DOE Carlsbad Area Office Manager George Dials. "This facility is a showcase of mining technology and one of the safest in the nation," said Graham. "Westinghouse and the DOE should be commended for the job they do here."

The DOE and USBM share information through an interagency agreement. Graham returned to Carlsbad and the WIPP to receive an update on work that is being performed under the agreement.

During her visit, Graham viewed a state-of-the-art ground control monitoring system that allows personnel to remotely monitor "real time" conditions in the WIPP underground. "Real time" refers to the actual time during which something takes place. Technology developed from the collection of this data could in turn be transferred to other mines nationwide. The USBM also performs an annual evaluation of the WIPP's surface and underground facilities.

The WIPP is a proposed repository for defense-generated nuclear waste. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in a stable salt formation.

Graham, who was sworn in Oct. 17, 1994, by President Clinton as the 19th director of the USBM, was associated with the WIPP in 1993 as a senior scientist with Science Applications International Corporation. She also served as director of the Mining and Minerals Division of the state of New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department (1991-1993).

Graham's knowledge is not limited to the mining environment at the WIPP. Before accepting her current position, she prepared environmental compliance audits for hazardous and mixed radioactive waste facilities at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and Idaho National Engineering Laboratory. She has also worked in the public sector as a research scientist for the U.S. Agriculture Department, and as a committee member researching ground failure hazards for the National Academy of Sciences.

Dials said Graham's visit is important to the DOE in its quest to open the WIPP as a nuclear waste repository by 1998. "We are very proud of the state-of-the-art mining technology and our safety record here," he said. "It's nice to see an official of Ms. Graham's stature take time out of her busy schedule to recognize the excellence of facility operations and safety at the WIPP."

Graham pointed to Westinghouse Electric Corporation Waste Isolation Division's eighth consecutive mine "Operator of the Year" award as a clear indication of safe facility operation. This outcome is supported by the research and development role of the USBM and its effort to promote mine safety and protect the environment. The award, announced Jan. 10 by the State Inspector of Mines, comes in the underground operation category for large nonproducing mines.

Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, which administers the WIPP operation.

"Our employees and management realize the importance of safety," said Carl Cox, WID general manager. "It is our goal to maintain and improve safety programs that are already in place." 07DR195

WIPP SAFE MINE AWARD

WESTINGHOUSE NAMED MINE 'OPERATOR OF THE YEAR'

CARLSBAD, N. M., Jan. 10 -- Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division (WID) has again been selected by the New Mexico Mining Association and the N.M. State Inspector of Mines "Operator of the Year" for its safe operation of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Presented to Westinghouse for the eighth consecutive year, the award came in the underground operation category for large nonproducing mines. "Operator of the Year" is awarded to producing and nonproducing mines with the lowest injury rates. The Pittsburgh-based company is the management and operating contractor for the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, which administers the WIPP operation.

"It's a pleasure for me to participate in the recognition of Westinghouse's outstanding safety at and operation of the WIPP, " said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office.

Dials explained that the continued safe operation of the facility is important to the Department in its preparation to open the WIPP as a nuclear waste repository in 1998.

"Safety is the number one priority in everything we do," said Carl Cox, WID general manager. "We are proud of our safety record and will continue to maintain safety programs as our top priority."

The "Operator of the Year" honor continues a string of safety awards Westinghouse has received including, most recently, selection as the first government contractor to receive "Star" status under the Department's Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)

The VPP is a national program established by the DOE in 1993 to recognize superior performance in the field of safety and health by contractor management and their employees. "Star" status is the highest level that can be achieved under VPP guidelines. The WIPP's "Blue Team" also won the 1994 National Mine Rescue Championship.

"The DOE and Westinghouse continue to operate the WIPP as the safest mine in the state," said State Mining Inspector Desi Apodaca, who visited the WIPP today. "It is my pleasure to present this award to the WIPP for the eighth straight year."

The WIPP is a research and development facility designed to demonstrate the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste left from the production of nuclear weapons. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include excavated rooms 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in ancient bedded salt rock. 06DR195

 

 


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