Back to current year news releases

 



1997 News Releases

Joe Skeen, Louis Whitlock and Wendell Weart Honored As New DOE Carlsbad Area Office Dedicated

CARLSBAD, N.M., December 16, 1997 -- Local, state and federal dignitaries honored U.S. Rep. Joe Skeen, former state Sen. Louis Whitlock and scientist Dr. Wendell D. Weart today during ceremonies dedicating the new office building housing the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office.

Property owner and developer John C. Harvey christened the building the Skeen-Whitlock Building and the auditorium at the northeast corner of the building the Weart Auditorium.

Harvey is president and founder of The Cowperwood Company, contracted to design and build the 85,000-square-foot facility. During the dedication, he also unveiled bronze plaques bearing the names of the building and auditorium, located at 4021 National Parks Highway. The event took place during a ribbon cutting and grand opening.

The Skeen-Whitlock Building brings together 300 DOE and contractor employees previously housed at the WIPP site 26 miles east of Carlsbad and in three buildings in town. The structure also features a public reading room and educational displays in the lobby area. The Weart Auditorium seats 150 people.

Harvey, a Carlsbad native and son of former Carlsbad Mayor H. C. Harvey, owns the property and leases it to the U.S. General Services Administration for use by the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. The Carlsbad Area Office administers the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant and National Transuranic Waste programs.

"It’s a real honor to dedicate this beautiful new facility in the names of Joe Skeen and Louis Whitlock," said Harvey. "These men have dedicated many years to supporting the Department of Energy and the WIPP. It is befitting, therefore, that this structure bear their names."

Dr. Weart, dubbed by former Energy Secretary Hazel O’Leary as the "Sultan of Salt," has devoted 38 years to the scientific study of underground physics and nuclear waste technology.

"Many refer to Dr. Weart as the grandfather of WIPP," Harvey said. "His steady hand has guided the science of WIPP since 1975, and that science is what we recognize here today."

Weart directed WIPP site evaluation studies and research on interaction of radioactive waste with the geologic environment. The result is worldwide validation of the science that has transformed the WIPP into a viable repository for defense-generated transuranic nuclear waste.

Skeen, a staunch supporter of the DOE’s Carlsbad Area Office and national defense and environmental restoration programs, spearheaded efforts to open the WIPP as the nation’s first repository for permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive wastes.

He led Congress in passage of the WIPP Land Withdrawal Act of 1992. In 1996, he sponsored legislation to amend the Act, removing duplicative regulatory requirements and setting the WIPP on a timely schedule to begin disposal operations.

Whitlock, a long-time Carlsbad resident, played a key role in bringing the WIPP to the salt beds of southeastern Eddy County. In the early 1970s, he was among a group of local leaders who contacted federal officials about the possibility of establishing a nuclear waste repository in the area.

Since then, Whitlock has been an integral part of the community effort pushing the WIPP down the path to success. As a state senator, he worked closely with other legislators to build support for the project.

"Joe Skeen and Louis Whitlock have been true leaders in their work on behalf of the DOE and the WIPP," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "I can’t think of two people more deserving of this honor.

"Wendell Weart’s dedication to the WIPP project and his work in nuclear waste technology are legendary in the scientific world. He has won the respect and admiration of the entire scientific community."

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

The National Transuranic Waste Program administers a nationwide plan for storing, characterizing, packaging, transporting, and disposing of transuranic waste. Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at 10 major generator/storage sites and several small-quantity sites nationwide.

To Top

WIPP Transportation Exercise Termed A Success

CARLSBAD, N.M., December 10, 1997 – Emergency personnel from Pojoaque and other surrounding communities successfully demonstrated that they are prepared to respond should an accident occur involving a shipment of radioactive transuranic waste headed for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

The training exercise, which involved a simulated shipment of radioactive waste from Los Alamos National Laboratory, was held December 6 at the Port of Entry near Pojoaque. Several dozen firefighters, police officers and medical personnel took part in the three-hour event.

"This training exercise clearly illustrates that emergency responders are prepared to provide aid should an accident occur involving a WIPP shipment," said Carlsbad Area Office Transportation Manager Tim Sweeney. "The Pueblo of Pojoaque and the state of New Mexico ensured that local emergency responders are properly trained and prepared to react to any accident involving hazardous or radioactive materials."

Emergency responders along transportation routes for WIPP shipments are offered training through the DOE’s States and Tribal Education Program (STEP). The program, which was initiated in 1988, offers courses in responding to potential incidents involving shipments of waste to the WIPP.

After initially reviewing and certifying STEP courses in 1993, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recertified the program in 1996. More than 11,000 emergency response personnel have been trained through STEP.

Initial response to an actual incident would most likely come from local "first responders," such as state or local police departments, fire departments, and other emergency response personnel. State and local governments have emergency response plans that outline specific procedures for handling a hazardous materials transportation accident safely and effectively.

Local first responders are trained in material identification, regulations, response procedures, and personal protection. In the event of an incident, local responders would usually contact state public health agencies, and, if necessary, the first response team would be followed by the appropriate DOE Radiological Assistance Team and eventually augmented by the DOE Carlsbad Area Office’s Incident/Accident Response Team, which would be on standby while transuranic waste shipments are in progress.

The DOE Albuquerque Operations Office Emergency Operations Center is in charge of any incident involving a shipment of transuranic waste, regardless of where the incident occurs. Response would be automatic and not contingent on a state request for assistance. The DOE maintains regional offices that can receive calls for assistance 24 hours a day and are prepared to send trained personnel and equipment to incident sites.

The Pojoaque exercise simulated an accident that involved a WIPP truck and a van-load of children. As part of the exercise, emergency responders were required to follow strict radioactive/hazardous materials training procedures while administering mock medical aid to the injured.

"The exercise did exactly what it was designed to do – show local responders their strengths and weaknesses," said Sweeney. "From that aspect, it was a total success."

A cornerstone of the DOE’s national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 (almost half a mile) underground in an ancient, stable salt formation.

To Top

Decades-Old Quest to Open the WIPP Is Within the DOE’s Grasp

CARLSBAD, N.M., December 3, 1997 – Employees at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) are within a stone’s throw of achieving a dream they’ve been chasing for almost two decades – opening the world’s first underground repository for the permanent disposal of radioactive transuranic waste.

Originally sited in the early 1970s, the WIPP project has struggled through a variety of delays. As a result of the U.S. Environmental Protection’s (EPA) October 23 announcement, the barriers to progress appear to be coming down.

"As required by Congress, EPA has reviewed DOE's application and, today, EPA is proposing to certify that the WIPP will meet health-based, environmental protection standards for disposal of defense-related radioactive waste," said Richard Wilson, EPA acting Assistant Administrator for Indoor Air and Radiation. "The proposed certification is based on DOE's application which has received extensive scientific analysis by the National Academy of Sciences, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and other independent scientists."

A public comment period on the proposed EPA rule began on October 30 and will run for 120 days, ending on February 26, 1998. Public hearings are also scheduled for mid-January in Albuquerque, Carlsbad and Santa Fe, New Mexico.

"I am very pleased that the EPA has issued a draft certification of compliance for the WIPP," said Energy Secretary Federico Peña. "I appreciate the thorough and timely analysis of the Department of Energy's WIPP application by Administrator Carol Browner, EPA staff, and the independent scientific reviewers.

"This draft certification indicates EPA's preliminary findings that WIPP can effectively meet EPA's environmental standards and safely isolate radioactive transuranic waste. This important step is the result of a vigorous EPA review to ensure that the Department of Energy has answered a wide range of technical questions. We encourage the public to participate in EPA's upcoming hearings and comment on the draft certification."

In addition to EPA’s preliminary WIPP certification, the DOE has completed a second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement. The SEIS-II takes into account all of the circumstances involved with the disposal of transuranic waste at the WIPP that might result in environmental impacts, including closure of the facility once operations end. An environmental analysis is required for all proposed federal facilities, or federal facilities that have undergone major changes, under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The final piece of the regulatory puzzle requires the DOE to secure a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) permit to dispose of mixed transuranic waste. Mixed waste consists of radioactively contaminated debris that has hazardous constituents like cleaning solvents, lead and/or other contaminants defined under RCRA. The DOE’s RCRA permit application, which was submitted to the New Mexico Environment Department in 1995, remains in the review process.

If the RCRA permit is not received from the NMED before final approval is received from the EPA, the DOE will initiate non-mixed transuranic waste shipments. Approximately 40 percent of all the waste that will come to the WIPP for permanent disposal falls into the "non-mixed" category.

"Once final approval is received by the EPA, it would be environmentally irresponsible and a poor use of taxpayer dollars to delay non-mixed transuranic waste shipments to the WIPP," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office that oversees the WIPP program. "In fact, NMED Secretary Mark Weidler said the DOE does not immediately need the RCRA permit to begin waste operations. He said 55-gallon drums that do not contain hazardous materials – referred to as non-RCRA waste – could come to the WIPP without a state permit."

Certifying the WIPP will allow the Department of Energy to take a major step toward solving one of the key elements in the nation's nuclear waste disposal problem. Upon receiving approval from the EPA, waste shipments from more than 20 temporary storage sites could begin as early as May or June of 1998.

To Top

 Statement from Secretary of Energy Federico Peña on Draft Certification of Compliance by the EPA for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

October 23, 1997 - I am very pleased that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a draft certification of compliance for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico. I appreciate the thorough and timely analysis of the Department of Energy's WIPP application by Administrator Carol Browner, EPA staff, and the independent scientific reviewers.

This draft certification indicates EPA's preliminary findings that WIPP can effectively meet EPA's environmental standards and safely isolate radioactive transuranic waste. This important step is the result of a vigorous EPA review to ensure that the Department of Energy had answered a wide range of technical questions. We appreciate EPA's effort to meet its target of determining WIPP's compliance by spring of 1998. And we encourage the public to participate in EPA's upcoming hearings and comment on the draft certification.

Certifying WIPP will allow the Department of Energy to take a major step toward solving one of the key elements in the nation's nuclear waste disposal problem.

To Top

Westinghouse Legal Counsel Gloria J. Barnes Admitted to New Mexico Bar Association

October 17, 1997 - Gloria J. Barnes, legal counsel for Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, has been admitted to the New Mexico Bar Association. The Bar Association consists of attorneys licensed to practice in all of the courts of the State of New Mexico.

"We are very fortunate to have an attorney of Gloria's caliber working for the division," said Joe Epstein, general manager of the Waste Isolation Division.

Barnes provides expert legal advice and counsel, assisting in the development of compliance strategies at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). She has served as senior counsel for the Waste Isolation Division since 1994. Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

Before arriving in Carlsbad, Barnes served as legal counsel for the Westinghouse Savannah River Company near Aiken, SC (1990-1994), and as a judicial law clerk for the Honorable Ernest A. Finney, Jr. of the South Carolina Supreme Court (1988-1990).

A graduate of the University of South Carolina School of Law (1988), Barnes was admitted to the South Carolina Bar Association in November 1988. She completed her undergraduate studies at South Carolina State College, graduating Cum Laude in 1979, and earned a masters degree from The Citadel in 1982.

To Top

WIPP Mine Rescue Silver Team Wins Southeast Missouri Regional Competition

CARLSBAD, N.M., October 17, 1997 - The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Mine Rescue Silver Team captured first place in the Fifteenth Annual Southeast Missouri Regional Mine Rescue Competition held October 8-10 at the University of Missouri at Rolla.

"This high level of performance exemplifies the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) and Westinghouse's emphasis on safety at the WIPP," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, which administers the WIPP program. "We are very pleased with the level at which our mine rescue teams perform. It is consistent with our commitment to excellence in all environmental, safety and health areas at the WIPP."

The WIPP Silver Team -- competing against mining industry teams from Wyoming, Nevada, New Mexico and Missouri -- outscored Asarco Sweetwater of Ellington, Mo., while FMC Mining Corporation of Green River, Wyo., was third.

Individually, Richard West of the WIPP Silver Team finished third in his first benchman competition, while the Silver team's Mike Proctor and Robert Rhoades finished second in the first aid competition. The benchman competition tests the skills required to maintain and repair breathing equipment used by team members to access areas where air is not breathable.

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), the federal regulatory agency responsible for safety in the mining industry, organizes and judges national mine rescue competitions with assistance from state and local mine rescue associations.

Team members, who are trained in mine gases, ventilation, first aid, mine recovery and fire fighting, are rated on how well they follow basic MSHA rules and regulations in carrying out a rescue under adverse, disaster-like conditions. In a real emergency, the lives of coworkers depend on the teams' skills.

WIPP mine rescue team members voluntarily participate in exercises, conducting the majority of their training on their own time. All members of the teams hold full-time jobs with Westinghouse, the DOE's management and operating contractor at the WIPP.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground in an ancient, stable salt formation.

To Top

Westinghouse Employees Recognized For Cost Savings at the WIPP

CARLSBAD, N.M., October 13, 1997 - For the second consecutive year, employees at Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division have been recognized by the national Employee Involvement Association for more than $1.5 million in cost savings/avoidance at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

The 1996 Savings Eligible Employee Ratio Award, which was presented to Westinghouse in September, recognizes organizations or companies that rank at the top of their industry group based on total cost savings per 100 employees. Most savings are achieved through Westinghouse's Process Improvement Program that recognizes employees for suggestions that lead to higher efficiency within the division.

Westinghouse serves as the management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy at the WIPP.

"This award is a reflection of our employees' commitment to improving the way we do business," said Joe Epstein, general manager of the Waste Isolation Division. "I'm extremely proud of the division and its many accomplishments."

Since its inception in 1992, the Waste Isolation Division's Process Improvement Program has accounted for almost $4.5 million in cost savings/avoidance, and dozens of better business and safety practices.

The Employee Involvement Association, founded in 1942, has been supportive of employee involvement for more than 50 years. The association represents more than 600 organizations that include many Fortune 500 companies, businesses, and government agencies at local, state and federal levels.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

The DOE and Westinghouse are involved in a number of rigorous regulatory compliance activities in preparation for receiving radioactive waste in May 1998.

To Top

 

DOE Assistant Secretary Pledges to Clean Up Majority of Sites by 2006

CARLSBAD, N. M., October 2, 1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is committed to cleaning up the majority of its former nuclear weapons plants by the year 2006. An integral part of that plan includes getting the first underground repository for radioactive transuranic waste open by May 1998, according to Al Alm, the DOE's Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management.

"Our goal is to open the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant," said Alm, speaking before 120 community leaders during today's opening session of the Energy Communities Alliance (ECA) Fall Conference. "Getting the WIPP open sends the signal that the DOE is getting on with the business at hand getting these sites cleaned up."

Alm said the aggressive cleanup plan, termed Accelerating Cleanup: Focus on 2006, is the "key to the success of the DOE's Environmental Management Program."

Accelerating Cleanup: Focus on 2006 is a report proposing strategies to clean up many contaminated DOE sites by 2006. The national planning process is designed to accelerate cleanup, reduce overall costs and maintain the DOE's commitment to meet federal and state regulations and compliance agreements.

Alm also stressed the importance of privatization to the cleanup program. "By privatizing, DOE can tap the financial and technical resources of the private sector, save money, and speed up the cleanup program," said Alm. "Congress appropriated $200 million in privatization money for the Environmental Management Program, as well as, $37 million for two projects at the Fernald site in Ohio that were originally candidates for privatization."

Alm was the keynote speaker for the ECA conference, which runs through Friday, October 3. The ECA is an organization of local communities that are home to major DOE facilities. The alliance was formed in 1992 to bring together local governments in energy communities to share information, establish policy positions, and advocate community interests in DOE activities.

Richard Church, Jr., Mayor of Miamisburg, Ohio, introduced Alm and kicked off the event by saying the ECA looks forward to working with the DOE to ensure "this partnership works."

"This is the first time in our short history that we've held the ECA conference in the city of an ECA site," said Church. "This is a great new tradition."

That tradition will continue in 1998 when the annual conference is held in Westminster, Colorado, a suburb of Denver and near the DOE's Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site.

Miamisburg is the host community for the DOE's Mound Plant, which is one of the temporary storage sites for transuranic waste. Church, too, talked about the importance of getting the WIPP open.

"As a community, we have a great stake in the WIPP project," said Church. "The quicker we can remove [transuranic] waste from the Mound Plant, the better. We definitely support the timely opening of the WIPP."

Carlsbad is the host community for the WIPP. Administered by the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

More than 120 community leaders representing 24 cities and 13 states registered for the conference, which got underway October 1 at Carlsbad's Pecos River Village Conference Center.

"I certainly see this organization B the Energy Communities Alliance B as playing a critical role in bringing many affected local governments together to work through a variety of environmental concerns," said Alm. "I look forward to working with the ECA at the many DOE sites nationwide."

U.S. Representatives Joe Skeen of New Mexico and Michael Crapo of Idaho are also scheduled to address the gathering. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in discussions on such subjects as economic development, working with DOE contractors, adjusting to changes in facility missions, and the roles regulatory agencies play in helping DOE communities.

To Top

Westinghouse Receives Recognition As "Mine Operator of the Year" at the WIPP

CARLSBAD, N.M., October 3, 1997 - For the eleventh consecutive year, Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division (WID) has received recognition for "excellence in underground operations" at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Westinghouse was presented the "Mine Operator of the Year" award by Gilbert Miera, the New Mexico State Inspector of Mines, and Richard Heinen, president of New Mexico Mining Association, on September 22 during the association's annual convention in Taos. The "Mine Operator of the Year" award recognizes Westinghouse's close attention to safety in a mining environment. Westinghouse serves as the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

"The WIPP underground is in excellent condition," said Miera. "It should be used as a showcase mine for the rest of the state and nation. Westinghouse, its employees, and management team should be commended for maintaining a safe environment."

Westinghouse has also performed well in safety inspections. Since 1993, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) has reported no significant negative findings at the WIPP. MSHA enforces federal safety and health regulations for the mining industry. Because of the nature of its underground facilities, the WIPP is considered a "mining operation" and is required by federal and state law to maintain the same safety standards as other mines.

"Safety is the number one priority in everything we do," said WID General Manager Joe Epstein. "We are proud of our safety record and will continue to maintain safety programs as our top priority."

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

The DOE and Westinghouse are involved in a number of rigorous regulatory compliance activities in preparation for receiving radioactive waste in May 1998.

To Top

Department Announces Preferred Alternative in Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for WIPP

WASHINGTON, D. C., October 1, 1997 -- The New Mexico Waste Isolation Pilot Plant would accept defense-generated radioactive transuranic waste up to current legal limits for permanent disposal, under the recommendation or "preferred alternative" in the Energy Department's final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS-II) released today. In November, Secretary of Energy Federico Peña will determine, in a Record of Decision, whether to select this "preferred alternative." The department is also awaiting regulatory approval of WIPP by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Mexico Environment Department.

"In finalizing this document, the department has responded to nearly 4,000 public comments and provided extensive environmental analysis. We are confident that the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant can be operated safely. The facility is an important solution to a national problem -- cleaning up decades of Cold War-generated radioactive waste at sites nationwide," said Al Alm, Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management.

This final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement also recommends that the department continue to explore the feasibility of transporting waste by rail. The document updates information contained in the first WIPP Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement.

In preparing the second supplemental environmental impact statement, the Energy Department asked experts to analyze the environmental impacts associated with the treatment, storage, transportation and disposal of transuranic waste. After completing the analysis in November 1996, the department held hearings nationwide in January to give the public a chance to comment on the draft document. A 90-day public comment period was also held. The final statement reflects the department's consideration of more than 4,000 stakeholder comments on the draft.

Some of the changes that have occurred since the draft of SEIS-II was issued for public comment include:

  • Two sites were removed -- Pantex Site and Teledyne Brown Engineering -- because the small amount of transuranic waste at those sites has been transferred to other sites for storage.

  • Relevant information from the Final Waste Management Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement and other recently completed environmental analyses have been incorporated.

  • The department would continue considering rail transportation of transuranic waste. Initially, the Energy Department would transport transuranic waste by truck, primarily because of the unavailability of rail service with transit times that are reliable enough to meet Nuclear Regulatory Commission requirements.

The final SEIS-II includes a volume with nearly 4,000 public comments and the department's responses.

The SEIS-II takes into account all of the aspects involved with the disposal of transuranic waste at the WIPP that might result in environmental impacts, including closure of the facility once operations end. An environmental impact statement is required for all major federal actions that may significantly affect human health or the environment, under the National Environmental Policy Act.

The final WIPP Disposal Phase Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS-II) is available to the public through the WIPP Information Center at 1-800-336-9477 and on the web site at http://www.wipp.ws

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags and other disposable items contaminated with radioactive elements, mostly plutonium. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, facilities include disposal rooms excavated nearly one-half-mile underground, in an ancient, stable salt formation. The department's Carlsbad Area Office is responsible for the WIPP and National Transuranic Waste programs.

To Top

WIPP AND INEEL SUCCESSFULLY DEMONSTRATE SAFE TRANSPORTATION AND DISPOSAL OF RADIOACTIVE TRANSURANIC WASTE

CARLSBAD, N.M., September 18, 1997 - Employees at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) are participating in a performance demonstration to show how radioactive transuranic waste will be safely transported to the WIPP for permanent disposal.

Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

The Performance Dry Run, which continues through September 19, is designed to show that employees at both U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facilities can safely complete a full waste disposal cycle using simulated transuranic debris. The dry run includes the transportation and unloading of three shipping containers carrying forty-two 55-gallon drums filled with sand. This portion of the demonstration was successfully completed on September 16.

"This is an excellent opportunity to ensure that transuranic waste can be safely shipped from a temporary storage site to the WIPP for permanent disposal," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "The demonstration will also help us work out any remaining issues that may turn up in the WIPP waste transportation and disposal systems."

Every DOE-specific procedure -- from the inspection of the waste shipment as it left INEEL, to final unloading and emplacement activities at the WIPP -- are being tested during the in-depth exercise. In addition to all standard waste disposal activities, WIPP personnel are participating in a series of graded drills to judge response to off-normal events. A variety of regulators, oversight groups and stakeholders were invited to view the demonstration.

Actual transuranic waste shipments from INEEL to the WIPP are scheduled to begin in May 1998, pending regulatory approvals from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Mexico Environment Department. The INEEL, located near Idaho Falls, is a temporary storage site that will ship waste to the WIPP.

The Carlsbad Area Office administers the National Transuranic Waste Program, which is responsible for shipping and waste characterization activities at more than 20 temporary storage sites nationwide.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground.

To Top

LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY DEEMED READY TO IMPLEMENT WIPP PROGRAM REQUIREMENTS

CARLSBAD, N.M., September 17, 1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office today announced that Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has met all program requirements to characterize, certify and, ultimately, ship radioactive transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Each DOE facility generating and/or temporarily storing transuranic waste must meet stringent quality assurance, training, and documentation requirements for processing and shipping waste to the WIPP. LANL's authorization comes after three audits over the past two years in which the laboratory's program was scrutinized by experts representing the DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the New Mexico Environment Department, the New Mexico Environmental Evaluation Group and other organizations.

"The authorization of Los Alamos National Laboratory's program satisfies a key milestone on the WIPP Disposal Decision Plan - the DOE's schedule of work that targets May 1998 as the opening date for the project," said George Dials, Manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "Los Alamos is the first site to make the grade, and it did so two weeks ahead of schedule."

The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) and the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site are the next facilities in line to be judged for their readiness to characterize, certify and ship waste to the WIPP. The current schedule calls for these sites to achieve authorization in January 1998 and February 1998, respectively. INEEL, LANL, and Rocky Flats are the first three DOE facilities that will ship transuranic waste to the WIPP, once it meets all applicable regulatory requirements to begin disposal operations.

LANL's authority to operate its WIPP transuranic waste program signifies that the facility has all required procedures and plans in place, and that all personnel have been appropriately trained to implement the program elements. Approximately 3,000 shipments (roughly 82,000 55-gallon drums) of contact-handled transuranic waste will travel from LANL to the WIPP over the life of the project.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP SUPPORTS CHILDHOOD EDUCATION BY PUTTING COMPUTERS IN THE CLASSROOM

CARLSBAD, N.M., September 8, 1997 - From basic keyboarding instruction to accessing worldwide information on the Internet, hundreds of students in southeastern New Mexico are benefiting from more than $700,000 in computer equipment once used at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Since 1995, approximately 430 used computers, printers and monitors have been donated through the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office Computer Gift Program. School systems participating in the popular program include Hobbs, Artesia, Lake Arthur, Dexter, Eunice, Carlsbad, Hagerman, Loving, Lovington and Tatum.

"As educators, we are very aware of the impact [computer] technology has on schools," said Bruce Hardison, assistant superintendent for operations at Hobbs High School. "Having access to up-to-date computers, and putting them in the schools, is always a benefit. These [WIPP] computers are used in the Hobbs High School math lab. They are making a real difference in preparing kids to go out and be successful in the world."

Computer equipment is provided to schools at no charge through an agreement between the Carlsbad Area Office and the Southeastern New Mexico Educational Resource Center (SNMERC). The SNMERC distributes a computer "gift list" to area school districts. Once the schools make their selections, they send their requests to the SNMERC. Arrangements are then made to distribute the equipment.

Located in Carlsbad, the SNMERC is a regional entity that provides resources for 11 participating school districts through the collaborative efforts of organizations such as the DOE, Sandia National Laboratories and Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division. Local businesses and companies have also joined in this partnership by providing sponsorship for several SNMERC programs.

"It [the Computer Gift Program] has really made a difference in student learning. We have noticed students coming from the junior high level have improved computer skills," said David Chavez, superintendent at Loving Schools. "We have also been able to implement a program at the elementary level by using the DOE-donated computer hardware. It's a win-win situation for everyone."

The DOE is authorized to donate computers to schools or non-profit organizations for student use. Under the program, teachers interested in obtaining excess WIPP computers must apply through Jimmy Derrick of SNMERC at 234-0001.

"This is computer equipment that no longer meets our needs," said Patty Crockett of the Carlsbad Area Office. "It is, however, perfect for introducing students to computer technology. Taxpayers also get the most bang for their buck."

Before the computers are distributed, the DOE erases all information from hard drives, performs virus checks, and examines the operating systems. Unopened, excess software is also distributed to school districts.

The Carlsbad Area Office administers the National Transuranic Waste and the WIPP programs. The Waste Isolation Division, which coordinates the Carlsbad Area Office Computer Gift Program, is the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP DRIVER COMPETES IN NATIONAL TRUCK DRIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS

CARLSBAD, N.M., September 5, 1997 - Randy Anderson of CAST Transportation, the contract carrier for truck shipments of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), placed sixteenth in a field of 48 contestants in the flatbed division of the National Truck Driving Championships, held August 20-23 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Anderson earned the right to represent CAST, the WIPP and the state of New Mexico in the national competition by winning the flatbed division of the New Mexico Truck Driving Championship May 2-3, in Albuquerque, N.M.

In the competition, drivers are judged by their performance on a written exam, a personal interview, a pre-trip inspection to find seven pre-set defects on their rigs, and a road course with six obstacles. The road course, that includes backing up to a dock, parallel parking, tight right turns, entering a diminishing (narrowing) alleyway, and a stop line, must be completed within 10 minutes with no errors.

Anderson, a 27-year veteran with approximately two million miles of big-rig experience, is one of six drivers with CAST who will be responsible for the safe transport of waste to the WIPP. The Colorado-based trucking company is under contract to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation Waste Isolation Division to transport transuranic waste to the WIPP, which is scheduled to begin operating in May 1998. Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at the WIPP.

"Randy's fine showing at the national level places him among the best flatbed drivers in the country," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "The WIPP transportation system is safe, and a key component of that safety is the fact that our drivers are among the most highly trained and skilled truck drivers in the nation."

WIPP drivers are required to have at least 100,000 miles of accident-free, citation-free driving and receive additional driver training and WIPP-specific emergency response training.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP-DEVELOPED TECHNOLOGY GENERATES MORE THAN $21 MILLION IN SALES AND SAVINGS

CARLSBAD, N.M., August 29, 1997 - More than $21 million in commercial sales and savings have been generated by businesses and organizations using technology developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

The technology, which consists mainly of training materials, technical manuals, and managerial tools, is available, at no charge, to businesses and organizations.

"This is tremendous," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "Generating sales and savings of this magnitude in only 30 months is astounding. The technology developed at the WIPP benefits everyone. The best part of the transfer process is that this technology can be obtained for no charge."

Nine respondents participating in a recent survey conducted by the Carlsbad Area Office said WIPP-developed technology helped them generate huge profits, crediting the government program for commercial sales in excess of $155,000 each.

John Donnelly of HR+ Management Services in Acton, Mass., has saved more than $50,000 using the WIPP-developed technology.

"My practice focuses primarily on healthcare providers and smaller, start-up ventures," said Donnelly. "I have begun to utilize the [WIPP] programs with clients and would expect that in the future they will be of even greater revenue-producing value."

Companies, universities, government agencies and nonprofit organizations can obtain, free of charge, taxpayer-funded technology. The Carlsbad Area Office 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. The Carlsbad Area Office administers the WIPP program.

Survey results indicate that for every taxpayer dollar spent on technology transfer, the public enjoys a $172 economic benefit. More than 3,400 businesses and organizations have received technology transfers from the Carlsbad Area Office over the past 30 months.

Additional survey results show that transferred technology is responsible for the creation/retention of almost 500 jobs. More than 500 organizations participated in the study.

Anyone wanting information on Carlsbad Area Office technology transfer opportunities can call Bill Keeley at (505) 234-7594, or reach him through e-mail at Bill.Keeley@wipp.ws. Information can also be obtained by accessing the Carlsbad Area Office home page at http://www.wipp.ws.

The Carlsbad Area Office Technology Transfer Program is administered by Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP, WESTINGHOUSE ACHIEVE INTERNATIONAL RECOGNITION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE

CARLSBAD, N.M., August 21, 1997 -- The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) became the second U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facility -- and first nuclear facility in the United States -- to achieve environmental excellence under the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 14001 criterion. This also makes the site's management and operating contractor, Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, the twenty-second private sector recipient of this prestigious recognition.

"Environment, safety and health is a top priority at the Department of Energy," said Energy Secretary Federico Pea. "This international recognition confirms that WIPP's environmental management is world class. I congratulate both our federal and contractor employees for their outstanding work."

On August 5, Westinghouse and the WIPP received registration under ISO 14001, a voluntary standard for developing and implementing an Environmental Management System. The standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization, which consists of 112 member countries, including the United States.

ISO 14001 serves as a guide for environmental management programs and provides an internationally recognized framework to measure, evaluate, and audit these programs. The WIPP's environmental management system includes elements of policy, planning, implementation, corrective actions, and management review.

During the week of July 28, auditors with international environmental expertise arrived in Carlsbad to perform a preliminary investigation of the WIPP's Environmental Management System and determine if they could proceed with a full registration audit.

After spending only two days on site, the evaluators determined that they could accelerate the visit into a formal registration audit. At the end of their four-day inspection of the facility, the auditors enthusiastically endorsed the WIPP's ISO 14001 registration.

Lead auditor Dr. Richard Ellis of Advanced Waste Management Systems, Inc. (Hixon, Tenn.), said that the DOE is leading the pack in "federal agencies committed to ISO 14001 implementation."

"We have worked in over 50 countries, from the top of the Andes to the bottom of some Chinese gold mines," said Ellis. "This [the WIPP] certainly ranks among the most unique."

The DOE's Kansas City Plant in Kansas City, Mo., was the first departmental site to achieve the standard in June 1997. The non-nuclear plant is managed by Allied Signal Corporation.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION for STANDARDIZATION ISO 14001 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS

What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is a voluntary standard for developing and implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS). The standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization, consisting of 112 member countries, including the United States. The standard serves as a guide for environmental management programs and provides an internationally recognized framework to measure, evaluate, and audit these programs. The management system includes elements of policy, planning, implementation, corrective actions, and management review.

Why is ISO 14001 registration important to the WIPP?

Registration is yet another independent validation of excellence at the WIPP. It puts the WIPP in an elite group of facilities recognized as having world-class environmental programs. ISO registration clearly demonstrates a commitment to move beyond strict compliance with environmental laws and regulations and establish programs that exceed legal requirements and emphasize continual improvement. It creates a potential for reducing compliance audits. The WIPP's world-class EMS ensures greater employee involvement in business operations and helps reduce liability and risk through operations excellence.

How many DOE facilities are ISO 14001 registered?

The Kansas City Plant in Kansas City, Mo., was the Department's first site to achieve the standard (June 1997). Allied Signal Corporation manages the non-nuclear plant under a contract with DOE. The WIPP, which is managed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division (WID), became the second DOE site and the first nuclear facility to receive registration on August 5, 1997. Overall, 22 companies nationally have been awarded registration. Additionally, the WIPP is the first New Mexico facility to receive ISO 14001 registration.

How long does it take to get registered to ISO 14001?

The process normally takes from 12 to 18 months. Duration is linked to an organization's existing EMS, size, and internal resources.

What did the ISO audit team find unique about the WIPP and the WID?

The ISO audit team feedback indicates that the WID maintains a world-class EMS at the WIPP. Dr. Richard Ellis, the lead auditor, describes the system as "as good as we've ever seen, both nationally and internationally." The final audit report described the WID's EMS as "extraordinarily strong," according to previous audit experience."

WESTINGHOUSE HONORS DONOVAN FOR COMMUNITY SERVICE

CARLSBAD, N.M., August 12, 1997 - The Waste Isolation Division's Kevin S. Donovan is the winner of the 1997 Westinghouse Community Service Award. Donovan was selected for the honor, in part, because of his work with Carlsbad's "Habitat For Humanity" program.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry. Habitat works in partnership with people in need throughout the world building simple, decent shelter that is sold to them at no profit, through no-interest loans. Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat is approaching the completion of its 60,000th house worldwide.

Donovan manages the division's Environment, Safety and Health Department at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). He has also devoted personal time to Girls Scouts of America, New Mexico First, and Character Counts.

Nationally, only 20 Westinghouse Electric Corporation employees receive the community service award. Recipients are personnel who, through outstanding service on their own time, make communities better places to live and work.

Five other Waste Isolation Division employees were nominated for community service awards. The nominees and their community involvement activities include Chris West, Renaissance Corporation and Carlsbad MainStreet Project; Mary Ann Walker, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).; Chuck Link, youth self defense classes and several community art projects; Mario Carrasco, Loving schools, board president; and Sherry Reese, United Way co-chairperson, Carlsbad Museum and Loving schools.

The Waste Isolation Divison serves as the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

850 TAKE PART IN WIPP COMMUNITY APPRECIATION DAY

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 21, 1997 - Approximately 850 people from New Mexico and West Texas took part in "Community Appreciation Day" July 19 at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

During the day-long event, visitors toured surface facilities, visited information stations, and participated in several hands-on activities. A majority of the visitors took advantage of the opportunity to travel almost one-half mile underground to see where the DOE will permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste.

"Weekend events such as these are scheduled periodically to thank area communities for their support of and interest in the WIPP," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "These special events also offer the public a chance to thank WIPP employees for their dedication to the WIPP's important mission. The number of people that turned out is indicative of the public interest in and support for the project, and it makes us all feel good to be able to show it off in this manner."

"Our employees are especially proud of this facility," said Joe Epstein, general manager of the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division which operates the WIPP under contract to the DOE. "It's great to be able to show the public the results of the hard work and dedication our employees put into this project."

Anyone interested in visiting the WIPP can get more information by calling, toll free, 1-800-336-9477.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP HOME PAGE RECEIVES FAVELIFT; NATIONAL TRANSURANIC INFORMATION AVAILABLE ON INTERNET

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 9, 1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office has given the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Internet home page a facelift, adding new information about the National Transuranic Waste Program.

Located at http://www.wipp.ws, the redesigned home page highlights the Carlsbad Area Office, describing the National Transuranic Waste and WIPP programs. Additionally, new, easier-to-use, clickable buttons have been added to improve access to all information.

Using a modem and personal computer, the public can access several National Transuranic Waste Program/WIPP sections. By clicking on the "National Transuranic Sites" button, for example, users will learn where radioactive transuranic waste is currently stored. The "What's New" button gives the public up-to-date information on a variety of WIPP and National Transuranic Waste Program subjects.

A photographic tour of the WIPP waste disposal process, fact sheets on several transuranic waste-related issues, and numerous graphical illustrations are also available to the public.

The National Transuranic Waste Program administers nationwide generator/storage site programs for packaging, storing, and disposing of transuranic waste.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP EMPLOYEE RECOGNIZED AS ENERGY MANAGER OF THE YEAR

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 8, 1997 - An employee at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has been recognized by the Federal Energy Management Program as the "You Have the Power" Energy Champion and the DOE Albuquerque Operations Office Energy Manager of the Year.

James Hedin received the honor, in part, because of energy-saving initiatives that could reduce yearly utility costs at the WIPP by more than $220,000. Hedin, for example, is instituting a lighting retrofit program that will amount to a 30 percent savings in energy costs. He has also recommended energy-saving changes to the plant's heating and cooling system.

Hedin is employed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

The Federal Energy Management Program's "You Have the Power" campaign promotes energy efficiency practices and products, recognizing ordinary people throughout the federal government who are doing extraordinary things to save energy and money. Hedin is one of six individuals within the DOE complex to receive this recognition.

"James should be congratulated for his innovation and determination in improving energy performance through increased energy efficiency," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office, which oversees the WIPP program. "This is an outstanding accomplishment that illustrates the type of dedicated and conscientious employee we have working at the WIPP."

The Carlsbad Area Office receives administrative support from the Albuquerque Operations Office.

"While I am honored to receive this award, I would like to attribute it to the many people at the WIPP who contribute to the success of the program," Hedin said. "This level of recognition is the result of true teamwork."

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

AGREEMENT REACHED ON WIPP LAND MANAGEMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 7, 1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and the state of New Mexico executed an agreement which addresses how certain land management issues will be handled at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) site near Carlsbad, N.M.

The agreement, entitled "Management of the WIPP Withdrawal Area," establishes formal relationships and specifies various procedures to be followed by the DOE and four New Mexico state government agencies with respect to WIPP land management. Issues covered under the agreement include those associated with cultural resources, range management, wildlife, fire management, mining and oil/gas activities, rights-of-way, and environmental restoration and reclamation. In addition to the DOE, parties to the agreement are the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department; New Mexico Department of Game and Fish; New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs; and the New Mexico State Land Office.

"This important agreement further demonstrates the cooperative spirit that exists between the DOE and the state," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "It helps ensure that the area surrounding the WIPP is well managed and that public health and the environment are foremost considerations."

The agreement complements and helps implement the DOE's WIPP Land Management Plan. This plan, developed in consultation with the U.S. Interior Department and state of New Mexico, provides a comprehensive framework for the management and coordination of land uses within and adjacent to the WIPP withdrawal area. The WIPP withdrawal area, established by Congress in 1992 (Public Law 102-579), consists of 16 sections of federal land totaling 10,240 acres in Eddy County, N.M.

"We executed this agreement to further clarify the roles and responsibilities of various government agencies with jurisdiction over the complex land management issues at the WIPP site," said Jennifer A. Salisbury, cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and chair of the state's Radioactive Waste Consultation Task Force. The task force, created by the New Mexico State Legislature in 1979 to monitor WIPP and other federal nuclear waste projects, consists of six cabinet-level agencies in New Mexico State Government.

"This agreement is yet another example of the 'defense-in-depth' strategy for the WIPP Project," said Salisbury. "It will significantly enhance coordination and communications among the key government agencies involved in land management at WIPP and thereby contribute to its continuing safe operation. When it comes to WIPP, protection of public health and the environment is our top priority."

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP COMMUNITY APPRECIATION DAY SET FOR JULY 19

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 2,1997 - The public is invited to take part in "Community Appreciation Day" July 19 at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

During the day-long event, visitors will tour surface facilities, visit information stations, and participate in several hands-on activities. Tour guides will then take guests almost one-half mile underground to see where the DOE will permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste.

Special arrangements have been made for children 9th grade and older to tour the underground. Surface tours will begin at 7:30 a.m. Underground tours are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the day. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

To preregister for tours, cut out the "WIPP Community Appreciation Day" advertisement appearing in the July 3 Lovington Daily Leader, Carlsbad Current-Argus, Hobbs Daily News-Sun, and the Artesia Daily Press. Forms should be filled out and returned to the address provided in the ad by July 11. Specific tour times and a site map will be sent to all registrants.

Questions regarding "WIPP Community Appreciation Day" can be answered by calling, toll free, 1-800-336-9477.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WESTINGHOUSE GRANTED ACCREDITATION FOR WIPP RADIOLOGICAL PROGRAM

CARLSBAD, N.M., June 25,1997 - Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, the primary contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), has been granted accreditation for the WIPP dosimetry program.

Dosimetry accreditation is required of all DOE facilities that use dosimeters. A dosimeter is a device for measuring worker doses of radiation.

To gain accreditation, the Waste Isolation Division successfully completed a series of performance-based tests and passed a site inspection by the DOE Laboratory Accreditation Program assessors without any deficiencies.

Successful completion of the DOE Laboratory Accreditation Program helps ensure the quality of dosimetry results and staff competency. Reaccreditation is required of all DOE dosimetry facilities every two years.

The WIPP dosimetry program received its initial accreditation in 1990 and has achieved reaccreditation three times since inception.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other such items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP PERSONNEL WIN STATE AWARD FOR ENGINEERING EXCELLENCE

CARLSBAD, N.M., June 24,1997 - Engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) have been selected as winners in the "Research and Development" category of the New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers achievement awards competition.

The competition, held recently in Albuquerque, was part of the society's fiftieth anniversary celebration, recognizing engineering achievements that have had a substantial impact on the environment and life in New Mexico.

"I want to be the first to congratulate the many WIPP engineers who have helped design and construct this world-class facility. This is an outstanding achievement for our employees and a testimonial to the WIPP project's impact, within the state and nationally," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, which administers the WIPP program. "This award further illustrates the sound science and engineering that was used in constructing this facility."

During the awards ceremony, Westinghouse Electric Corporation personnel were honored for the engineering design of the WIPP project and transportation system, including vertical shafts, an underground testing area, and completion of the Transuranic Package Transporter Model 2, which will be used to ship radioactive waste to the WIPP.

Westinghouse was selected by DOE as the engineering and design contractor for the WIPP project in the mid 1970s. Currently, the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division is the operating and managing contractor at the WIPP.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP TEAMS WITH U.S. PARK SERVICE FOR BAT CENSUS AT CARLSBAD CAVERNS

CARLSBAD, N.M., June 4,1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and its primary contractor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, have gone "batty."

In a cooperative effort with the U.S. National Park Service, the Carlsbad Area Office and Westinghouse are helping perform a census of the Mexican free-tailed bat population at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

"This is a terrific intergovernmental agency cooperative project," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "It is also commendable that Westinghouse employees are willing to volunteer their own time to complete this project. The thousands of visitors who see the bats each year are the real winners here."

Using infrared laser equipment loaned by the Carlsbad Area Office, volunteers from Westinghouse and the Garwin Group, a subcontractor to Westinghouse at the WIPP, teamed with park officials to produce a contour map of the ceiling where the bats reside. Data were captured during a four-day period from late January to early February. This period was selected by park officials because the bats migrate to Mexico from Carlsbad during the winter months.

Contours will correspond to varying ceiling heights thereby providing more accurate estimates of the ceiling area. Photographs of the existing bat population will then be scanned into a computer, and the contour map will be displayed as an overlay. Using specialized software, park officials are able to determine the average number of bats packed into a square foot of cave ceiling at the Carlsbad Caverns.

A similar study using photographs and sound technology was conducted in 1996, placing the pre-birth bat population at 193,000. The population nearly doubled to 352,000 bats by fall when the young were born.

The evening flight of the Mexican free-tailed bat from the entrance of the Carlsbad Caverns is one of the park's main visitor attractions. The bat colony at Carlsbad is comprised primarily of females who give birth and raise their young from June through September before migrating south to winter in Mexico.

WIPP DRIVER WINS NEW MEXICO TRUCK DRIVING CHAMPIONSHIP, ADVANCES TO NATIONAL COMPETITION AUGUST 20-23 IN MINNEAPOLIS

CARLSBAD, N.M., May 21, 1997 - Randy Anderson of CAST Transportation, the contract carrier for truck shipments of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), will compete August 20-23 in the National Truck Driving Championships in Minneapolis, Minn.

Anderson earned the trip to the national competition by winning the flatbed division of the New Mexico Truck Driving Championship May 2-3, in Albuquerque, N.M.

In the competition, drivers are judged by their performance on a written exam, a personal interview, a pre-trip inspection to find seven pre-set defects on their rig, and a road course with six obstacles. The road course, that includes backing up to a dock, parallel parking, tight right turns, a diminishing alleyway, and a stop line, must be completed within 10 minutes with no errors.

Anderson, a 27-year veteran with approximately two million miles of big-rig experience, is one of six drivers with CAST who will be responsible for the safe transport of waste to the WIPP. The Colorado-based trucking company is under contract to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation Waste Isolation Division to transport transuranic waste to the WIPP when it begins operating in May 1998. Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at the WIPP.

"Randy's performance in this competition is indicative of the level of expertise WIPP drivers have," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "The WIPP transportation system is safe, and a key component of that safety is the fact that our drivers are among the most highly trained and skilled truck drivers in the nation."

WIPP Drivers are required to have at least 100,000 miles of accident-free, citation-free driving and receive special driver training and WIPP-specific emergency response training.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

TWO CARLSBAD AREA STUDENTS EARN WESTINGHOUSE SCHOLARSHIP

CARLSBAD, N.M., May 20, 1997 - Westinghouse Electric Corporation today announced that Lucy-Jo Weston and Jimmy Morgan each have been awarded $2,500 scholarships for the 1997-98 academic year.

Weston, an honors student at the College of the Southwest, will continue her studies at that school with the $2,500 award. Morgan, who will graduate this month from Loving High School, will attend New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Weston achieved a 3.56 grade point average while attending New Mexico State University-Carlsbad and made the President's List this year at the College of the Southwest with a 4.0 grade point average. Jimmy Morgan, the son of Steven and Judy Morgan, has maintained a grade point average of at least 3.8 at Loving High School and is a member of the National Honor Society.

The Westinghouse Scholarship Committee selected Weston and Morgan for the awards based on their scholastic standing, community involvement and financial need.

Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

WIPP And INEEL Successfully Demonstrate Safe Transportation And Disposal Of Radioactive Transuranic Waste

CARLSBAD, N.M., September 18, 1997 - Employees at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and the Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) are participating in a performance demonstration to show how radioactive transuranic waste will be safely transported to the WIPP for permanent disposal.

Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

The Performance Dry Run, which continues through September 19, is designed to show that employees at both U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facilities can safely complete a full waste disposal cycle using simulated transuranic debris. The dry run includes the transportation and unloading of three shipping containers carrying forty-two 55-gallon drums filled with sand. This portion of the demonstration was successfully completed on September 16.

"This is an excellent opportunity to ensure that transuranic waste can be safely shipped from a temporary storage site to the WIPP for permanent disposal," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "The demonstration will also help us work out any remaining issues that may turn up in the WIPP waste transportation and disposal systems."

Every DOE-specific procedure -- from the inspection of the waste shipment as it left INEEL, to final unloading and emplacement activities at the WIPP -- are being tested during the in-depth exercise. In addition to all standard waste disposal activities, WIPP personnel are participating in a series of graded drills to judge response to off-normal events. A variety of regulators, oversight groups and stakeholders were invited to view the demonstration.

Actual transuranic waste shipments from INEEL to the WIPP are scheduled to begin in May 1998, pending regulatory approvals from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New Mexico Environment Department. The INEEL, located near Idaho Falls, is a temporary storage site that will ship waste to the WIPP.

The Carlsbad Area Office administers the National Transuranic Waste Program, which is responsible for shipping and waste characterization activities at more than 20 temporary storage sites nationwide.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground.

To Top

Los Alamos National Laboratory Deemed Ready to Implement WIPP Program Requirements

CARLSBAD, N.M., September 17, 1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office today announced that Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) has met all program requirements to characterize, certify and, ultimately, ship radioactive transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Each DOE facility generating and/or temporarily storing transuranic waste must meet stringent quality assurance, training, and documentation requirements for processing and shipping waste to the WIPP. LANL's authorization comes after three audits over the past two years in which the laboratory's program was scrutinized by experts representing the DOE, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the New Mexico Environment Department, the New Mexico Environmental Evaluation Group and other organizations.

"The authorization of Los Alamos National Laboratory's program satisfies a key milestone on the WIPP Disposal Decision Plan - the DOE's schedule of work that targets May 1998 as the opening date for the project," said George Dials, Manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "Los Alamos is the first site to make the grade, and it did so two weeks ahead of schedule."

The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory (INEEL) and the Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site are the next facilities in line to be judged for their readiness to characterize, certify and ship waste to the WIPP. The current schedule calls for these sites to achieve authorization in January 1998 and February 1998, respectively. INEEL, LANL, and Rocky Flats are the first three DOE facilities that will ship transuranic waste to the WIPP, once it meets all applicable regulatory requirements to begin disposal operations.

LANL's authority to operate its WIPP transuranic waste program signifies that the facility has all required procedures and plans in place, and that all personnel have been appropriately trained to implement the program elements. Approximately 3,000 shipments (roughly 82,000 55-gallon drums) of contact-handled transuranic waste will travel from LANL to the WIPP over the life of the project.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

WIPP Supports Childhood Education by Putting Computers In The Classroom

CARLSBAD, N.M., September 8, 1997 - From basic keyboarding instruction to accessing worldwide information on the Internet, hundreds of students in southeastern New Mexico are benefiting from more than $700,000 in computer equipment once used at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Since 1995, approximately 430 used computers, printers and monitors have been donated through the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office Computer Gift Program. School systems participating in the popular program include Hobbs, Artesia, Lake Arthur, Dexter, Eunice, Carlsbad, Hagerman, Loving, Lovington and Tatum.

"As educators, we are very aware of the impact [computer] technology has on schools," said Bruce Hardison, assistant superintendent for operations at Hobbs High School. "Having access to up-to-date computers, and putting them in the schools, is always a benefit. These [WIPP] computers are used in the Hobbs High School math lab. They are making a real difference in preparing kids to go out and be successful in the world."

Computer equipment is provided to schools at no charge through an agreement between the Carlsbad Area Office and the Southeastern New Mexico Educational Resource Center (SNMERC). The SNMERC distributes a computer "gift list" to area school districts. Once the schools make their selections, they send their requests to the SNMERC. Arrangements are then made to distribute the equipment.

Located in Carlsbad, the SNMERC is a regional entity that provides resources for 11 participating school districts through the collaborative efforts of organizations such as the DOE, Sandia National Laboratories and Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division. Local businesses and companies have also joined in this partnership by providing sponsorship for several SNMERC programs.

"It [the Computer Gift Program] has really made a difference in student learning. We have noticed students coming from the junior high level have improved computer skills," said David Chavez, superintendent at Loving Schools. "We have also been able to implement a program at the elementary level by using the DOE-donated computer hardware. It's a win-win situation for everyone."

The DOE is authorized to donate computers to schools or non-profit organizations for student use. Under the program, teachers interested in obtaining excess WIPP computers must apply through Jimmy Derrick of SNMERC at 234-0001.

"This is computer equipment that no longer meets our needs," said Patty Crockett of the Carlsbad Area Office. "It is, however, perfect for introducing students to computer technology. Taxpayers also get the most bang for their buck."

Before the computers are distributed, the DOE erases all information from hard drives, performs virus checks, and examines the operating systems. Unopened, excess software is also distributed to school districts.

The Carlsbad Area Office administers the National Transuranic Waste and the WIPP programs. The Waste Isolation Division, which coordinates the Carlsbad Area Office Computer Gift Program, is the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

WIPP Driver Competes in National Truck Driving Championships

CARLSBAD, N.M., September 5, 1997 - Randy Anderson of CAST Transportation, the contract carrier for truck shipments of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), placed sixteenth in a field of 48 contestants in the flatbed division of the National Truck Driving Championships, held August 20-23 in Minneapolis, Minn.

Anderson earned the right to represent CAST, the WIPP and the state of New Mexico in the national competition by winning the flatbed division of the New Mexico Truck Driving Championship May 2-3, in Albuquerque, N.M.

In the competition, drivers are judged by their performance on a written exam, a personal interview, a pre-trip inspection to find seven pre-set defects on their rigs, and a road course with six obstacles. The road course, that includes backing up to a dock, parallel parking, tight right turns, entering a diminishing (narrowing) alleyway, and a stop line, must be completed within 10 minutes with no errors.

Anderson, a 27-year veteran with approximately two million miles of big-rig experience, is one of six drivers with CAST who will be responsible for the safe transport of waste to the WIPP. The Colorado-based trucking company is under contract to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation Waste Isolation Division to transport transuranic waste to the WIPP, which is scheduled to begin operating in May 1998. Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at the WIPP.

"Randy's fine showing at the national level places him among the best flatbed drivers in the country," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "The WIPP transportation system is safe, and a key component of that safety is the fact that our drivers are among the most highly trained and skilled truck drivers in the nation."

WIPP drivers are required to have at least 100,000 miles of accident-free, citation-free driving and receive additional driver training and WIPP-specific emergency response training.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

WIPP-Developed Technology Generates More than $21 Million In Sales And Savings

CARLSBAD, N.M., August 29, 1997 - More than $21 million in commercial sales and savings have been generated by businesses and organizations using technology developed at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

The technology, which consists mainly of training materials, technical manuals, and managerial tools, is available, at no charge, to businesses and organizations.

"This is tremendous," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "Generating sales and savings of this magnitude in only 30 months is astounding. The technology developed at the WIPP benefits everyone. The best part of the transfer process is that this technology can be obtained for no charge."

Nine respondents participating in a recent survey conducted by the Carlsbad Area Office said WIPP-developed technology helped them generate huge profits, crediting the government program for commercial sales in excess of $155,000 each.

John Donnelly of HR+ Management Services in Acton, Mass., has saved more than $50,000 using the WIPP-developed technology.

"My practice focuses primarily on healthcare providers and smaller, start-up ventures," said Donnelly. "I have begun to utilize the [WIPP] programs with clients and would expect that in the future they will be of even greater revenue-producing value."

Companies, universities, government agencies and nonprofit organizations can obtain, free of charge, taxpayer-funded technology. The Carlsbad Area Office 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. The Carlsbad Area Office administers the WIPP program.

Survey results indicate that for every taxpayer dollar spent on technology transfer, the public enjoys a $172 economic benefit. More than 3,400 businesses and organizations have received technology transfers from the Carlsbad Area Office over the past 30 months.

Additional survey results show that transferred technology is responsible for the creation/retention of almost 500 jobs. More than 500 organizations participated in the study.

Anyone wanting information on Carlsbad Area Office technology transfer opportunities can call Bill Keeley at (505) 234-7594, or reach him through e-mail at Bill.Keeley@wipp.ws. Information can also be obtained by accessing the Carlsbad Area Office home page at http://www.wipp.ws.

The Carlsbad Area Office Technology Transfer Program is administered by Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

WIPP, Westinghouse Achieve International Recognition For Environmental Excellence

CARLSBAD, N.M., August 21, 1997 -- The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) became the second U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facility -- and first nuclear facility in the United States -- to achieve environmental excellence under the International Organization for Standardization's ISO 14001 criterion. This also makes the site's management and operating contractor, Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, the twenty-second private sector recipient of this prestigious recognition.

"Environment, safety and health is a top priority at the Department of Energy," said Energy Secretary Federico Pea. "This international recognition confirms that WIPP's environmental management is world class. I congratulate both our federal and contractor employees for their outstanding work."

On August 5, Westinghouse and the WIPP received registration under ISO 14001, a voluntary standard for developing and implementing an Environmental Management System. The standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization, which consists of 112 member countries, including the United States.

ISO 14001 serves as a guide for environmental management programs and provides an internationally recognized framework to measure, evaluate, and audit these programs. The WIPP's environmental management system includes elements of policy, planning, implementation, corrective actions, and management review.

During the week of July 28, auditors with international environmental expertise arrived in Carlsbad to perform a preliminary investigation of the WIPP's Environmental Management System and determine if they could proceed with a full registration audit.

After spending only two days on site, the evaluators determined that they could accelerate the visit into a formal registration audit. At the end of their four-day inspection of the facility, the auditors enthusiastically endorsed the WIPP's ISO 14001 registration.

Lead auditor Dr. Richard Ellis of Advanced Waste Management Systems, Inc. (Hixon, Tenn.), said that the DOE is leading the pack in "federal agencies committed to ISO 14001 implementation."

"We have worked in over 50 countries, from the top of the Andes to the bottom of some Chinese gold mines," said Ellis. "This [the WIPP] certainly ranks among the most unique."

The DOE's Kansas City Plant in Kansas City, Mo., was the first departmental site to achieve the standard in June 1997. The non-nuclear plant is managed by Allied Signal Corporation.

A cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

International Organization For Standardization ISO 14001 Environmental Management Systems

What is ISO 14001?

ISO 14001 is a voluntary standard for developing and implementing an Environmental Management System (EMS). The standard was developed by the International Organization for Standardization, consisting of 112 member countries, including the United States. The standard serves as a guide for environmental management programs and provides an internationally recognized framework to measure, evaluate, and audit these programs. The management system includes elements of policy, planning, implementation, corrective actions, and management review.

Why is ISO 14001 registration important to the WIPP?

Registration is yet another independent validation of excellence at the WIPP. It puts the WIPP in an elite group of facilities recognized as having world-class environmental programs. ISO registration clearly demonstrates a commitment to move beyond strict compliance with environmental laws and regulations and establish programs that exceed legal requirements and emphasize continual improvement. It creates a potential for reducing compliance audits. The WIPP's world-class EMS ensures greater employee involvement in business operations and helps reduce liability and risk through operations excellence.

How many DOE facilities are ISO 14001 registered?

The Kansas City Plant in Kansas City, Mo., was the Department's first site to achieve the standard (June 1997). Allied Signal Corporation manages the non-nuclear plant under a contract with DOE. The WIPP, which is managed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division (WID), became the second DOE site and the first nuclear facility to receive registration on August 5, 1997. Overall, 22 companies nationally have been awarded registration. Additionally, the WIPP is the first New Mexico facility to receive ISO 14001 registration.

How long does it take to get registered to ISO 14001?

The process normally takes from 12 to 18 months. Duration is linked to an organization's existing EMS, size, and internal resources.

What did the ISO audit team find unique about the WIPP and the WID?

The ISO audit team feedback indicates that the WID maintains a world-class EMS at the WIPP. Dr. Richard Ellis, the lead auditor, describes the system as "as good as we've ever seen, both nationally and internationally." The final audit report described the WID's EMS as "extraordinarily strong," according to previous audit experience."

To Top

Westinghouse Honors Donovan For Community Service

CARLSBAD, N.M., August 12, 1997 - The Waste Isolation Division's Kevin S. Donovan is the winner of the 1997 Westinghouse Community Service Award. Donovan was selected for the honor, in part, because of his work with Carlsbad's "Habitat For Humanity" program.

Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, Christian housing ministry. Habitat works in partnership with people in need throughout the world building simple, decent shelter that is sold to them at no profit, through no-interest loans. Founded in 1976 by Millard and Linda Fuller, Habitat is approaching the completion of its 60,000th house worldwide.

Donovan manages the division's Environment, Safety and Health Department at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). He has also devoted personal time to Girls Scouts of America, New Mexico First, and Character Counts.

Nationally, only 20 Westinghouse Electric Corporation employees receive the community service award. Recipients are personnel who, through outstanding service on their own time, make communities better places to live and work.

Five other Waste Isolation Division employees were nominated for community service awards. The nominees and their community involvement activities include Chris West, Renaissance Corporation and Carlsbad MainStreet Project; Mary Ann Walker, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).; Chuck Link, youth self defense classes and several community art projects; Mario Carrasco, Loving schools, board president; and Sherry Reese, United Way co-chairperson, Carlsbad Museum and Loving schools.

The Waste Isolation Division serves as the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

To Top

850 Take Part In WIPP Community Appreciation Day

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 21, 1997 - Approximately 850 people from New Mexico and West Texas took part in "Community Appreciation Day" July 19 at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

During the day-long event, visitors toured surface facilities, visited information stations, and participated in several hands-on activities. A majority of the visitors took advantage of the opportunity to travel almost one-half mile underground to see where the DOE will permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste.

"Weekend events such as these are scheduled periodically to thank area communities for their support of and interest in the WIPP," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "These special events also offer the public a chance to thank WIPP employees for their dedication to the WIPP's important mission. The number of people that turned out is indicative of the public interest in and support for the project, and it makes us all feel good to be able to show it off in this manner."

"Our employees are especially proud of this facility," said Joe Epstein, general manager of the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division which operates the WIPP under contract to the DOE. "It's great to be able to show the public the results of the hard work and dedication our employees put into this project."

Anyone interested in visiting the WIPP can get more information by calling, toll free, 1-800-336-9477.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

WIPP Home Page Receives Facelift; National Transuranic Information Available On Internet

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 9, 1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office has given the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Internet home page a facelift, adding new information about the National Transuranic Waste Program.

Located at http://www.wipp.ws, the redesigned home page highlights the Carlsbad Area Office, describing the National Transuranic Waste and WIPP programs. Additionally, new, easier-to-use, clickable buttons have been added to improve access to all information.

Using a modem and personal computer, the public can access several National Transuranic Waste Program/WIPP sections. By clicking on the "National Transuranic Sites" button, for example, users will learn where radioactive transuranic waste is currently stored. The "What's New" button gives the public up-to-date information on a variety of WIPP and National Transuranic Waste Program subjects.

A photographic tour of the WIPP waste disposal process, fact sheets on several transuranic waste-related issues, and numerous graphical illustrations are also available to the public.

The National Transuranic Waste Program administers nationwide generator/storage site programs for packaging, storing, and disposing of transuranic waste.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

WIPP Employee Recognized As Energy Manager Of The Year

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 8, 1997 - An employee at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) has been recognized by the Federal Energy Management Program as the "You Have the Power" Energy Champion and the DOE Albuquerque Operations Office Energy Manager of the Year.

James Hedin received the honor, in part, because of energy-saving initiatives that could reduce yearly utility costs at the WIPP by more than $220,000. Hedin, for example, is instituting a lighting retrofit program that will amount to a 30 percent savings in energy costs. He has also recommended energy-saving changes to the plant's heating and cooling system.

Hedin is employed by Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

The Federal Energy Management Program's "You Have the Power" campaign promotes energy efficiency practices and products, recognizing ordinary people throughout the federal government who are doing extraordinary things to save energy and money. Hedin is one of six individuals within the DOE complex to receive this recognition.

"James should be congratulated for his innovation and determination in improving energy performance through increased energy efficiency," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office, which oversees the WIPP program. "This is an outstanding accomplishment that illustrates the type of dedicated and conscientious employee we have working at the WIPP."

The Carlsbad Area Office receives administrative support from the Albuquerque Operations Office.

"While I am honored to receive this award, I would like to attribute it to the many people at the WIPP who contribute to the success of the program," Hedin said. "This level of recognition is the result of true teamwork."

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

Agreement Reached On WIPP Land Management

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 7, 1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and the state of New Mexico executed an agreement which addresses how certain land management issues will be handled at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) site near Carlsbad, N.M.

The agreement, entitled "Management of the WIPP Withdrawal Area," establishes formal relationships and specifies various procedures to be followed by the DOE and four New Mexico state government agencies with respect to WIPP land management. Issues covered under the agreement include those associated with cultural resources, range management, wildlife, fire management, mining and oil/gas activities, rights-of-way, and environmental restoration and reclamation. In addition to the DOE, parties to the agreement are the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department; New Mexico Department of Game and Fish; New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs; and the New Mexico State Land Office.

"This important agreement further demonstrates the cooperative spirit that exists between the DOE and the state," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "It helps ensure that the area surrounding the WIPP is well managed and that public health and the environment are foremost considerations."

The agreement complements and helps implement the DOE's WIPP Land Management Plan. This plan, developed in consultation with the U.S. Interior Department and state of New Mexico, provides a comprehensive framework for the management and coordination of land uses within and adjacent to the WIPP withdrawal area. The WIPP withdrawal area, established by Congress in 1992 (Public Law 102-579), consists of 16 sections of federal land totaling 10,240 acres in Eddy County, N.M.

"We executed this agreement to further clarify the roles and responsibilities of various government agencies with jurisdiction over the complex land management issues at the WIPP site," said Jennifer A. Salisbury, cabinet secretary of the New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department and chair of the state's Radioactive Waste Consultation Task Force. The task force, created by the New Mexico State Legislature in 1979 to monitor WIPP and other federal nuclear waste projects, consists of six cabinet-level agencies in New Mexico State Government.

"This agreement is yet another example of the 'defense-in-depth' strategy for the WIPP Project," said Salisbury. "It will significantly enhance coordination and communications among the key government agencies involved in land management at WIPP and thereby contribute to its continuing safe operation. When it comes to WIPP, protection of public health and the environment is our top priority."

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

WIPP Community Appreciation Day Set For July 19

CARLSBAD, N.M., July 2,1997 - The public is invited to take part in "Community Appreciation Day" July 19 at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

During the day-long event, visitors will tour surface facilities, visit information stations, and participate in several hands-on activities. Tour guides will then take guests almost one-half mile underground to see where the DOE will permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste.

Special arrangements have been made for children 9th grade and older to tour the underground. Surface tours will begin at 7:30 a.m. Underground tours are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis throughout the day. Children must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

To preregister for tours, cut out the "WIPP Community Appreciation Day" advertisement appearing in the July 3 Lovington Daily Leader, Carlsbad Current-Argus, Hobbs Daily News-Sun, and the Artesia Daily Press. Forms should be filled out and returned to the address provided in the ad by July 11. Specific tour times and a site map will be sent to all registrants.

Questions regarding "WIPP Community Appreciation Day" can be answered by calling, toll free, 1-800-336-9477.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

Westinghouse Granted Accreditation For WIPP Radiological Program

CARLSBAD, N.M., June 25,1997 - Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, the primary contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), has been granted accreditation for the WIPP dosimetry program.

Dosimetry accreditation is required of all DOE facilities that use dosimeters. A dosimeter is a device for measuring worker doses of radiation.

To gain accreditation, the Waste Isolation Division successfully completed a series of performance-based tests and passed a site inspection by the DOE Laboratory Accreditation Program assessors without any deficiencies.

Successful completion of the DOE Laboratory Accreditation Program helps ensure the quality of dosimetry results and staff competency. Reaccreditation is required of all DOE dosimetry facilities every two years.

The WIPP dosimetry program received its initial accreditation in 1990 and has achieved reaccreditation three times since inception.

The cornerstone of the DOE's national clean-up strategy, the WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other such items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

WIPP Personnel Win State Award For Engineering Excellence

CARLSBAD, N.M., June 24,1997 - Engineers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) have been selected as winners in the "Research and Development" category of the New Mexico Society of Professional Engineers achievement awards competition.

The competition, held recently in Albuquerque, was part of the society's fiftieth anniversary celebration, recognizing engineering achievements that have had a substantial impact on the environment and life in New Mexico.

"I want to be the first to congratulate the many WIPP engineers who have helped design and construct this world-class facility. This is an outstanding achievement for our employees and a testimonial to the WIPP project's impact, within the state and nationally," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, which administers the WIPP program. "This award further illustrates the sound science and engineering that was used in constructing this facility."

During the awards ceremony, Westinghouse Electric Corporation personnel were honored for the engineering design of the WIPP project and transportation system, including vertical shafts, an underground testing area, and completion of the Transuranic Package Transporter Model 2, which will be used to ship radioactive waste to the WIPP.

Westinghouse was selected by DOE as the engineering and design contractor for the WIPP project in the mid 1970s. Currently, the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division is the operating and managing contractor at the WIPP.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

WIPP Teams With U.S. Park Service For Bat Census At Carlsbad Caverns

CARLSBAD, N.M., June 4,1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and its primary contractor at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division, have gone "batty."

In a cooperative effort with the U.S. National Park Service, the Carlsbad Area Office and Westinghouse are helping perform a census of the Mexican free-tailed bat population at the Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

"This is a terrific intergovernmental agency cooperative project," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "It is also commendable that Westinghouse employees are willing to volunteer their own time to complete this project. The thousands of visitors who see the bats each year are the real winners here."

Using infrared laser equipment loaned by the Carlsbad Area Office, volunteers from Westinghouse and the Garwin Group, a subcontractor to Westinghouse at the WIPP, teamed with park officials to produce a contour map of the ceiling where the bats reside. Data were captured during a four-day period from late January to early February. This period was selected by park officials because the bats migrate to Mexico from Carlsbad during the winter months.

Contours will correspond to varying ceiling heights thereby providing more accurate estimates of the ceiling area. Photographs of the existing bat population will then be scanned into a computer, and the contour map will be displayed as an overlay. Using specialized software, park officials are able to determine the average number of bats packed into a square foot of cave ceiling at the Carlsbad Caverns.

A similar study using photographs and sound technology was conducted in 1996, placing the pre-birth bat population at 193,000. The population nearly doubled to 352,000 bats by fall when the young were born.

The evening flight of the Mexican free-tailed bat from the entrance of the Carlsbad Caverns is one of the park's main visitor attractions. The bat colony at Carlsbad is comprised primarily of females who give birth and raise their young from June through September before migrating south to winter in Mexico.

To Top

WIPP Driver Wins New Mexico Truck Driving Championship, Advances To National Competition August 20-23 In Minneapolis

CARLSBAD, N.M., May 21, 1997 - Randy Anderson of CAST Transportation, the contract carrier for truck shipments of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), will compete August 20-23 in the National Truck Driving Championships in Minneapolis, Minn.

Anderson earned the trip to the national competition by winning the flatbed division of the New Mexico Truck Driving Championship May 2-3, in Albuquerque, N.M.

In the competition, drivers are judged by their performance on a written exam, a personal interview, a pre-trip inspection to find seven pre-set defects on their rig, and a road course with six obstacles. The road course, that includes backing up to a dock, parallel parking, tight right turns, a diminishing alleyway, and a stop line, must be completed within 10 minutes with no errors.

Anderson, a 27-year veteran with approximately two million miles of big-rig experience, is one of six drivers with CAST who will be responsible for the safe transport of waste to the WIPP. The Colorado-based trucking company is under contract to the Westinghouse Electric Corporation Waste Isolation Division to transport transuranic waste to the WIPP when it begins operating in May 1998. Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) at the WIPP.

"Randy's performance in this competition is indicative of the level of expertise WIPP drivers have," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office. "The WIPP transportation system is safe, and a key component of that safety is the fact that our drivers are among the most highly trained and skilled truck drivers in the nation."

WIPP Drivers are required to have at least 100,000 miles of accident-free, citation-free driving and receive special driver training and WIPP-specific emergency response training.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense-related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

To Top

Two Carlsbad Area Students Earn Westinghouse Scholarship

CARLSBAD, N.M., May 20, 1997 - Westinghouse Electric Corporation today announced that Lucy-Jo Weston and Jimmy Morgan each have been awarded $2,500 scholarships for the 1997-98 academic year.

Weston, an honors student at the College of the Southwest, will continue her studies at that school with the $2,500 award. Morgan, who will graduate this month from Loving High School, will attend New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

Weston achieved a 3.56 grade point average while attending New Mexico State University-Carlsbad and made the President's List this year at the College of the Southwest with a 4.0 grade point average. Jimmy Morgan, the son of Steven and Judy Morgan, has maintained a grade point average of at least 3.8 at Loving High School and is a member of the National Honor Society.

The Westinghouse Scholarship Committee selected Weston and Morgan for the awards based on their scholastic standing, community involvement and financial need.

Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

To Top

DOE REVISES WIPP'S OPENING DATE TO MAY 1998

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 31, 1997 - The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office today announced that a revised Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Disposal Decision Plan that gives May 1998 as the projected opening date for the WIPP will be issued this week.

Carlsbad Area Office Manager George Dials said that moving the WIPP's scheduled opening from November 1997 to May 1998 is based on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) schedule for reviewing the DOE Compliance Certification Application for the WIPP. The Carlsbad Area Office administers the WIPP and the National Transuranic Waste Program.

"We have been working directly with the EPA to provide the additional information it has requested in order to facilitate its certification decision," Dials said. "We recognize and appreciate that, due to the time needed by the EPA to review and evaluate the data in the application, the additional information submitted, and resolve parameters and other technical issues, the agency will not be able to render a certification decision as originally planned."

The EPA has informed the DOE that it cannot complete the required rule making on the certification decision until April 1998 at the earliest. The Secretary of Energy's approval for opening the facility is linked to the certification decision. The WIPP could thus begin operations 30 days after that decision, or May 1998.

The EPA's commitment to this schedule will provide the DOE with a clear path toward solving the country's transuranic waste problem. The DOE is confident that, with this extra time, the EPA will be capable of meeting its evaluation requirements and certifying the WIPP as a safe transuranic waste disposal facility.

Dials said that the Carlsbad Area Office will work to ensure that this delay results in a benefit to the program and taxpayers by focusing on further demonstrating the WIPP's compliance with all regulatory requirements, as well as added assurance that the project exceeds all safety standards in order to protect human health and the environment.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other such items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

The National Transuranic Waste Program administers nationwide generation/storage site programs for characterizing, transporting, packaging, storing, and disposing of transuranic waste. Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at more than 30 small and large sites nationwide.

TRUPACT-II WASTE TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM FEATURED AT AUGUSTA TRADE SHOW AND FORUM

AUGUSTA, Ga., March 26, 1997 -- The safest radioactive and hazardous waste transportation system on the road today will be exhibited here April 2-3 at the Tri-Cities Plant Engineering/Central Savannah River Area (TRICIPE CSRA) Trade Show and Forum.

TRICIPE CSRA, to be held at the Augusta Civic Center, highlights the latest technologies in radioactive and hazardous materials handling, cleanup and disposal, pollution monitoring and remediation, recycling, workplace safety and other environmental fields.

This year's two-day show and forum is expected to draw more than 2,000 people to see exhibits by nearly 100 firms from all over the United States, Canada and Great Britain.

The TRICIPE CSRA events are produced by TRICIPE TradeShows of Bend, Ore., which for the past four years has presented trade shows in the Tri-Cities area of eastern Washington State, near the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Hanford Nuclear Site.

On loan from the DOE Carlsbad Area Office 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 WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other such items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

Transuranic waste will be transported to the WIPP from more than 23 small and large temporary storage sites nationwide, including the Savannah River Site (SRS). Located across the Savannah River from Augusta near Aiken, South Carolina, the SRS was developed in the early 1950s to produce raw materials for nuclear weapons, primarily tritium and plutonium. More than 400 contaminated areas have been identified at the vast DOE site.

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 ten feet high. The shipping container is certified by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) and complies with NRC and U.S. Department of Transportation safety standards. At a cost of about $350,000, the leaktight shipping container is constructed with stainless steel 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, or two standard waste boxes, containing transuranic waste.

A conventional diesel tractor and custom-designed semitrailer are used to transport as many as three TRUPACT-II containers at one time. A key feature of the carrier includes a computer console that links the vehicle with a nationwide satellite communication tracking system and the central monitoring room at the WIPP site. The tractor also features mobile and cellular telephones to allow backup two-way communication.

Drivers are required to pass stringent traffic safety and emergency response examinations, maintain excellent driving records and renew their certifications each year.

Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division serves as the management and operating contractor for the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office at the WIPP. CAST Trucking, Inc. of Denver, Colo. will transport transuranic waste for the DOE under a subcontract to Westinghouse.

When all applicable state and federal environmental regulations have been met, the Secretary of Energy is expected to make a decision to open the WIPP as the nation's first deep-geologic repository for transuranic radioactive waste. Shipments to the repository from the SRS could begin in late 1998.

DOE AND GSA BREAK GROUND FOR NEW BUILDING TO HOUSE WIPP AND NATIONAL TRANSURANIC WASTE PROGRAM

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 20, 1997 - Ground breaking activities were held here today for an 84,000-square-foot, two-story U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) building to house the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office.

The Carlsbad Area Office administers the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and National Transuranic Waste programs.

The new Carlsbad Area Office building will be located on a five-acre tract of land at Hidalgo Road and National Parks Highway (U.S. 180/62), across from the Carlsbad Civic Center. The Cowperwood company, headquartered in New York City, was awarded the GSA contract to construct the building in August 1996. It will take approximately 12 months to complete the project, with occupancy scheduled for March or April 1998.

The contract states that Cowperwood will construct and then lease the new building to the GSA for approximately $1 million a year over the 30-year period of the contract. The Carlsbad Area Office will then reimburse the GSA for the cost of the lease.

"Having personnel spread among several locations has been a problem since I arrived in 1993," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office. "We have looked at several different options. After conducting a thorough analysis, this is the best solution for the problem. It is a cost-saving measure that will allow us to house the majority of our key people under one roof."

Cowperwood was awarded the Carlsbad Area Office building contract following a competitive procurement that included bids from 13 companies. The company was founded in 1972 by John C. Harvey, who was born and reared in Carlsbad. His father, H. C. Harvey, is a former Carlsbad mayor.

Cowperwood is a privately owned national real estate development and management company with regional offices in Houston, Texas; Richland, Wash.; and Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Tenants who have contracted with the company for services in the past include Bechtel, Lockheed-Martin, H&R Technical Associates, Johnson Controls the Analysas Corporation. With more than 20 years of experience, Cowperwood has developed, owned and managed approximately 1.5 million square feet of commercial office space.

Currently, the DOE maintains three separate in-town facilities for government and contractor personnel. When completed, the new Carlsbad Area Office building will provide office space for approximately 300 employees. The structure will also include a 150-seat auditorium, a public reading room and a lobby display.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

The National Transuranic Waste Program administers a nationwide plan for storing, characterizing, packaging, transporting, and disposing of transuranic waste. Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at 10 major generator/storage sites and several small quantity sites nationwide.

WILLIAM A. KEELEY NAMED MANAGER OF WID ECONOMIC, TECHNOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 18, 1997 -- William A. Keeley has been appointed manager of Economic and Technological Development for Westinghouse Electric Corporation's Waste Isolation Division (WID).

In this position, Keeley is responsible for economic development, technology transfer, the interactive Internet training hub initiative for U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) facilities, and WID participation in the Waste-management Education and Research Consortium. The WID is management and operating contractor for the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.

During his eight-year career with the Division, Keeley has managed the technology partnering program, human resources development and total quality, and training functions. Under Keeley's guidance, the WID recently completed its two-thousandth technology transfer to the private sector. A graduate of Eastern Illinois University, Keeley has been with Westinghouse since 1988.

WIPP HOSPITAL TRAINING OFFERED IN HOBBS

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 14, 1997 - Emergency management training for hospital personnel will be held on March 20 at the Columbia Lea Regional Medical Center in Hobbs. Hospital personnel are encouraged to take advantage of this eight-hour course.

The training is an ongoing cooperative effort of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and the New Mexico Department of Health to provide medical personnel the necessary training in the event of an incident involving a shipment of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad. The training is funded by the Carlsbad Area Office and offered through a cooperative agreement with the state. Instructors from DOE's Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., will conduct the course. REAC/TS is the only facility of its kind in the world.

The course, titled "Hospital Emergency Management of Radiation Accident Victims," is designed to provide information on the signs and symptoms of radiation injuries, methods of treatment and decontamination, if necessary.

"This course is designed to answer questions health care professionals may have about radiation accidents and injuries," said Ralph Davis, WIPP Medical Preparedness Coordinator with the New Mexico Department of Health. "The course has been offered since 1988 to hospitals along the WIPP shipment routes and has helped hospital emergency departments plan for other hazardous materials incidents as well."

The training session will include a brief overview of radiation physics, the use of radiation detection instruments, and will conclude with a practice "walk through" exercise in the hospital's emergency room.

Hobbs area physicians, nurses, emergency department technicians, and pre-hospital care providers wishing to participate in the training are asked to contact Davis at (505) 827-1400, extension 123.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP HOSPITAL TRAINING OFFERED IN CARLSBAD

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 14, 1997 - Emergency management training for hospital personnel will be held on March 21 at the Columbia Medical Center in Carlsbad. Hospital personnel are encouraged to take advantage of this eight-hour course.

The training is an ongoing cooperative effort of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and the New Mexico Department of Health to provide medical personnel the necessary training in the event of an incident involving a shipment of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad. The training is funded by the Carlsbad Area Office and offered through a cooperative agreement with the state. Instructors from DOE's Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., will conduct the course. REAC/TS is the only facility of its kind in the world.

The course, titled "Hospital Emergency Management of Radiation Accident Victims," is designed to provide information on the signs and symptoms of radiation injuries, methods of treatment and decontamination, if necessary.

"This course is designed to answer questions health care professionals may have about radiation accidents and injuries," said Ralph Davis, WIPP Medical Preparedness Coordinator with the New Mexico Department of Health. "The course has been offered since 1988 to hospitals along the WIPP shipment routes and has helped hospital emergency departments plan for other hazardous materials incidents as well."

The training session will include a brief overview of radiation physics, the use of radiation detection instruments, and will conclude with a practice "walk through" exercise in the hospital's emergency room.

Carlsbad area physicians, nurses, emergency department technicians, and pre-hospital care providers wishing to participate in the training are asked to contact Davis at (505) 827-1400, extension 123.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WESTINGHOUSE OFFERS $2,500 COLLEGE SCHOLARSHIPS TO EDDY COUNTY STUDENTS

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 14 -- Westinghouse Electric Corporation announced today that two $2,500 college scholarships will be awarded to Eddy County students. The deadline to apply is April 4.

One scholarship will be honored by New Mexico State University (NMSU) in Las Cruces, and the other by the College of the Southwest (CSW) in Carlsbad. High school seniors applying for the NMSU scholarship should be interested in careers related to science, mathematics or engineering. The CSW-Carlsbad scholarship may be used for any discipline.

To qualify for either scholarship, students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and be, actively involved in their community. Financial need of applicants will also be considered.

For more information on the NMSU-Las Cruces scholarship, high school seniors should contact their counselors. College students wishing to apply for the CSW-Carlsbad scholarship should call Linda Aycock at 887-3500.

DOE's CARLSBAD AREA OFFICE REACHES "2,000-MARK" IN TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER PROGRAM

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 12, 1997 - More than 2,000 companies, universities, government agencies and nonprofit organizations have used the Internet System on their computers to obtain, at no cost, taxpayer-funded technology developed through the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office. The Carlsbad Area Office administers the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and the National Transuranic Waste Program.

"It took us some 17 months to reach the 1,000-mark, and most of those transfers came after we revamped the program in January of 1995," said Patti Crockett, Technology Administrative Specialist with the Carlsbad Area Office. "Our increased knowledge and aggressive use of the Internet, coupled with an expanded product line, enabled us to reach the milestone of 2,000 transfers in less than nine months."

The Carlsbad Area Office Technology Transfer Program is managed by the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division, the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

The 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. The technology, which consists mainly of training materials, technical manuals, and managerial tools developed at the Carlsbad Area Office, is available at no cost to organizations for nonexclusive commercialization or internal use.

Among the diverse organizations in the United States taking advantage of the program are: Gateway 2000; Bass Pro Shops, Inc.; 3M Corporation; Cedar-Sinai Medical Center; Vassar College; Lifetime Television Network; the Municipality of Anchorage, Alaska; the Internal Revenue Service; and the U.S. Postal Service.

Based on a statistical model created from a 1996 survey, the Carlsbad Area Office estimates that every dollar spent on technology transfer results in a savings or cost avoidance of nearly $2,000 to users of the technology, plus $25 in commercial sales in the private sector. Additionally, the survey indicates that every $1,000 spent on the program results in one new or saved job for the participating organizations.

Anyone wanting information on Carlsbad Area Office technology transfer opportunities may call Bill Keeley at (505) 234-7594, or reach him through the Internet at Bill.Kelley@wipp.ws.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other such items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

The National Transuranic Waste Program administers nationwide generation/storage site programs for characterizing, transporting, packaging, storing, and disposing of transuranic waste. Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at more than 30 small and large sites nationwide.

DOE CARLSBAD AREA OFFICE CLARIFICATION: SHIPMENT OF TRANSURANIC WASTE FROM PANTEX PLANT TO LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY NOT WIPP RELATED

CARLSBAD, N.M., March 11, 1997 - A recent shipment of transuranic waste from the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Pantex Plant near Amarillo, Texas, to Los Alamos National Laboratory did not involve the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). The shipment of three drums of waste was mis-categorized as a WIPP shipment in the March 11, 1997, edition of the Santa Fe New Mexican.

"No equipment or personnel associated with the WIPP were involved in this shipment," said Dennis Hurtt, spokesman for the DOE Carlsbad Area Office. "The waste was not transported using the WIPP transportation system. It was shipped in a Nuclear Regulatory Commission-certified nuclear waste shipping container not associated with the TRUPACT-II, which is the shipping container that will carry transuranic waste to the WIPP."

Although the three drums did contain transuranic waste, it has not been determined whether the contents ultimately will be shipped to the WIPP for permanent disposal. All transuranic waste destined for the WIPP must meet stringent waste acceptance criteria before it can be shipped to the repository. This shipment was carried out by the DOE to consolidate the waste at one location, thereby saving $50,000 in annual costs associated with its continued storage at the Pantex facility.

The WIPP is scheduled to begin disposal operations in November 1997. Protocols governing WIPP shipments of transuranic waste require the proper notification of states through which the shipments will pass. These protocols will be strictly followed, and all WIPP shipments will be public knowledge once shipping and disposal operations begin at the WIPP.

WIPP INFORMATION AVAILABLE TO PUBLIC VIA 1-800 NUMBER, INTERNET

CARLSBAD, N.M., February 26 -- The public can access information about the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) and the National Transuranic Waste Program by calling the WIPP Information Center toll free, or by accessing the WIPP Home Page on the World Wide Web of the Internet.

The WIPP Information Center, which is operated Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Mountain Time), can be accessed by calling 1-800-336-WIPP (1-800-336-9477). Documents on WIPP technical subjects are available to the public at no cost. Fact sheets, project-specific drawings and other information materials also can be requested.

Using a modem and personal computer, the public can also access WIPP and National Transuranic Waste Program information on the World Wide Web by typing http://www.wipp.ws.

Information that is added to the home page or updated on a regular basis includes press releases, fact sheets, reports, tour details, project photographs and graphics, and links to other WIPP-related home pages. Several other comprehensive technical documents are conveniently available to the public on the WIPP home page.

Located in southeastern New Mexico, the WIPP 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.

The National Transuranic Waste Program, another element of the Carlsbad Area Office, administers nationwide generator/storage site programs for packaging, storing, and disposing of transuranic waste. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements -- mostly plutonium.

STEWART B. JONES NAMED MANAGER OF ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORTING AT WIPP

CARLSBAD, N.M., February 19, 1997 -- Stewart B. Jones has been named manager of Environmental Monitoring for the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division (WID) at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). Westinghouse is the management and operating contractor at the WIPP for the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office. Environmental Monitoring is part of the WID's Environment, Safety and Health Department.

Jones joined the WID in 1985 as an environmental technician. He has held positions of increasing responsibility throughout his career at WIPP, most recently as a senior environmental scientist.

He is responsible for managing the WID's Environmental Monitoring Program, which includes collection of samples from the air, ground and surface water, soil, sediments, and the wildlife within the 16-square-mile area of land in which the WIPP is located.

The samples establish baseline information to ensure that the WIPP will not adversely impact the environment once waste disposal operations begin. Jones is also responsible for land management within the WIPP land withdrawal area, monitoring and managing federally protected birds of prey residing in the vicinity of the WIPP, and monitoring the status of all oil and natural gas wells within one mile of the withdrawal boundary.

Jones is a native of Carlsbad and a 1976 graduate of Carlsbad High School. He holds a degree in wildlife biology from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

1996 PROVES A REWARDING YEAR AT DOE'S WASTE ISOLATION PILOT PLANT

CARLSBAD, N.M., February 14 ­­ It was a year that saw President Clinton sign legislation to expedite the opening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Nineteen-ninety-six was also the year that the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) submitted its most important regulatory document to date, the WIPP Compliance Certification Application, to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on October 29.

In fact, history may show that 1996 was a pivotal year in the DOE's quest to open the nation's first underground repository for defense-generated transuranic radioactive waste. With that in mind, the government agency is taking aim at a November 1997 opening date. There are many hurdles to cross before that goal is realized, however.

"We accomplished a lot in 1996," said George Dials, manager of the DOE's Carlsbad Area Office, which oversees the WIPP project. "There are numerous milestones that must be completed before the Secretary of Energy makes a decision in October on opening the WIPP. We are on a very aggressive schedule and believe that it can be done. The schedule must be met to open the WIPP as a critical step toward solving this nation's nuclear waste disposal problem."

Authorized by Congress in 1979 and constructed 52 miles west of Hobbs in the mid-1980s, the WIPP is designed for the safe, permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste

resulting from the nation's nuclear weapons program. Project facilities include disposal rooms mined in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet below the earth's surface in a remote section of the southeastern New Mexico desert.

Three major hurdles remain before the project can begin receiving radioactive waste from several temporary storage sites nationwide:

The DOE must comply with federal radioactive waste disposal criteria as established by the EPA. The Compliance Certification Application shows how the DOE is complying with the standards, which -- among other things -- require the Department to demonstrate it can effectively isolate transuranic waste for 10,000 years. Additional information continues to be submitted to the EPA, with a final decision on the DOE's application expected in October.

The Department must secure a Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) Part B permit from the New Mexico Environment Department. Most of the radioactive waste identified for permanent disposal at the WIPP contains small amounts of hazardous elements such as lead and cleaning solvents. The state must issue a RCRA permit before the WIPP can accept this type of radioactive/hazardous mixed waste for disposal.

The DOE and the state continue to work on resolving several minor issues. A RCRA permit is expected from the New Mexico Environment Department in late summer or early fall.

The DOE conducted public hearings in early 1997 on a second Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS II). The draft document was made available for public comment in the fall of 1996. The SEIS II updates information contained in the first WIPP Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement.

Generally, this study evaluates the environmental impacts of waste characterization, treatment, and certification; packaging and transportation; site operations and waste emplacement; and long-term performance of the repository.

After reviewing all comments presented by the public, the DOE will issue a Record of Decision in June.

Despite the fact that the DOE has plenty of work to complete in 1997, the government agency witnessed several important WIPP milestones in 1996. The biggest of those milestones occurred on September 23 when the President signed legislation to clear the way for the DOE to begin shipping waste to the WIPP as early as November 1997.

Clinton signed the Fiscal Year 1997 Defense Authorization Bill, which contained amendments to the 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act. The amendments removed redundant regulations, reduced a 180-day waiting period to 30 days, and is expected to save taxpayers millions of dollars.

"The President's approval of this measure is a very important event for the Department of Energy and our nation," Dials said after the bill was signed. "It reaffirms the EPA's role as the independent regulator and further enhances the prospects for protecting the health and safety of the public by removing unnecessary administrative impediments to the opening of this critically important facility."

More than 60 million people are potentially at risk, because they live within a 50-mile radius of sites throughout the United States that are temporarily storing transuranic radioactive waste. "The opening of the WIPP allows for the disposal of this waste 2,150 feet underground in a 250 million-year-old salt formation, thus eliminating the risk to the public and the accessible environment," said Dials.

The legislation was sponsored by U.S. Representatives Joe Skeen (R-NM), Dan Schaefer (R-CO), and Michael Crapo (R-ID), and in the Senate by U.S. Senators Larry Craig (R-ID), Dirk Kempthorne (R-ID), Pete Domenici (R-NM), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM) and Bennett Johnston (D-LA).

As support for WIPP grew in the U.S. House and Senate, the proposed repository received plenty of backing from governors of states where transuranic waste is temporarily stored. On April 22, which coincidentally was Earth Day, New Mexico, Governor Gary Johnson, along with Idaho Governor Philip Batt and Congressman Mike Crapo (R-ID), visited the WIPP to learn, first hand, the status of this very important national project.

"I invited Governor Batt and Congressman Crapo here today to tour the facility and get a better understanding of where the WIPP is headed and learn how we, as governors and lawmakers, can help get the facility open," Johnson said during a briefing with reporters. "It is appropriate, as our nation recognizes Earth Day, we are here at the WIPP looking for a solution to an environmental problem. New Mexico continues to do its part to close the circle on the splitting of the atom. It is important that we work closely with other states to solve this nation's nuclear waste problem. Leaving the waste in temporary storage, like at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, is environmentally irresponsible."

Additional project support came in the form of a June resolution signed by members of the Western Governors' Association. Sponsored by Governors Johnson, Batt and Colorado's Roy Romer, the resolution called for "…the earliest possible opening of the WIPP. The governors are committed to working cooperatively with the Congress, DOE, and the EPA to achieve this objective."

The Western Governors' Association, an independent, non-partisan organization, provides strong leadership on the many vital issues that shape the future of the West. It includes representation from 18 western states.

In October, a group of scientists from the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences validated the WIPP project as a viable solution for the permanent disposal of defense-generated radioactive waste. In its report, released on October 23, the National Research Council stated the proposed underground repository "Has the ability to isolate radioactive waste for thousands of years."

Other 1996 WIPP highlights included:

  • February 9 -- The 650 Westinghouse Electric Corporation workers at the WIPP reached a major milestone, achieving two million consecutive hours without a lost-time injury or illness that resulted in days away from work. Westinghouse's Waste Isolation Division is the management and operating contractor for the DOE at the WIPP.

  • May 6 -- WIPP's emergency response training is put to good use following a radiological spill involving a non-DOE commercial transportation carrier in Wyoming. In preparation for future WIPP shipments, the DOE has trained more than 10,000 emergency response professionals in 12 states, including Wyoming.

  • June 17-20 -- More than 40 tribes from 11 states and the District of Columbia attend the Carlsbad Area Office National Tribal Symposium. The symposium is held to receive input from tribal leaders whose lands may be along transportation routes for waste shipments.

  • July 22 -- Personnel enter a waste handling demonstration mode in preparation for disposal operations, scheduled to begin in November 1997.

  • October 1 -- A prototype of a new waste transportation container, the HALFPACK, is introduced by the Carlsbad Area Office. The HALFPACK, a shorter version of the Transuranic Package Transporter, can carry more weight in payload and is expected to save taxpayers approximately $20 million over the life of the project.

WIPP ECONOMIC IMPACT ON HOBBS, LEA COUNTY FEBRUARY 14, 1997

WIPP spending in Hobbs in FY 1996 (October 1, 1995 through September 30, 1996)

  • 258 transactions totaling $236,000

  • For: office supplies and furniture, lubricants, electrical and industrial supplies, and waste management services

WIPP spending in Hobbs in FY 1997 to date (October 1, 1996 through January 31, 1997)

  • 149 transactions totaling $82,000

Westinghouse contributed approximately $30,000 to community programs and organizations in calendar year 1996

Donations went to support programs/organizations such as: the Boys & Girls Club, College of the Southwest, Hobbs Chamber of Commerce, City of Hobbs, Palmer Drug Abuse Program, Hobbs Jaycees, Hospice Services, Inc., and Hobbs Municipal Schools.

22 Westinghouse employees reside in Hobbs/Lea County.

WIPP HOSPITAL TRAINING OFFERED IN ARTESIA

CARLSBAD, N.M., February 13 - Emergency management training for hospital personnel will be held on February 19 at the Artesia General Hospital in Artesia. Hospital personnel are encouraged to take advantage of this eight-hour course.

The training is an ongoing cooperative effort of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and the New Mexico Department of Health to provide medical personnel the necessary training in the event of an incident involving a shipment of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad. The training is funded by the Carlsbad Area Office and offered through a cooperative agreement with the state. Instructors from DOE's Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., will conduct the course. REAC/TS is the only facility of its kind in the world.

The course, titled "Hospital Emergency Management of Radiation Accident Victims," is designed to provide information on the signs and symptoms of radiation injuries, methods of treatment and decontamination, if necessary.

"This course is designed to answer questions health care professionals may have about radiation accidents and injuries," said Ralph Davis, WIPP Medical Preparedness Coordinator with the New Mexico Department of Health. "The course has been offered since 1988 to hospitals along the WIPP shipment routes and has helped hospital emergency departments plan for other hazardous materials incidents as well."

The training session will include a brief overview of radiation physics, the use of radiation detection instruments, and will conclude with a practice "walk through" exercise in the hospital's emergency room.

Artesia area physicians, nurses, emergency department technicians, and pre-hospital care providers wishing to participate in the training are asked to contact Davis at (505) 827-1400, extension 123.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP HOSPITAL TRAINING OFFERED IN FT. SUMNER

CARLSBAD, N.M., February 13 - Emergency management training for hospital personnel will be held on February 20 at the De Baca County Hospital in Ft. Sumner. Hospital personnel are encouraged to take advantage of this eight-hour course.

The training is an ongoing cooperative effort of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office and the New Mexico Department of Health to provide medical personnel the necessary training in the event of an incident involving a shipment of transuranic waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad. The training is funded by the Carlsbad Area Office and offered through a cooperative agreement with the state. Instructors from DOE's Radiation Emergency Assistance Center/Training Site (REAC/TS) in Oak Ridge, Tenn., will conduct the course. REAC/TS is the only facility of its kind in the world.

The course, titled "Hospital Emergency Management of Radiation Accident Victims," is designed to provide information on the signs and symptoms of radiation injuries, methods of treatment and decontamination, if necessary.

"This course is designed to answer questions health care professionals may have about radiation accidents and injuries," said Ralph Davis, WIPP Medical Preparedness Coordinator with the New Mexico Department of Health. "The course has been offered since 1988 to hospitals along the WIPP shipment routes and has helped hospital emergency departments plan for other hazardous materials incidents as well."

The training session will include a brief overview of radiation physics, the use of radiation detection instruments, and will conclude with a practice "walk through" exercise in the hospital's emergency room.

Ft. Sumner area physicians, nurses, emergency department technicians, and pre-hospital care providers wishing to participate in the training are asked to contact Davis at (505) 827-1400, extension 123.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WESTINGHOUSE ENGINEERS MAKE SIGNIFICANT CONTRIBUTIONS AT WIPP, FOR NATION

CARLSBAD, N.M., February 12 -- On the eve of National Engineers Week, February 16-22, employees of Westinghouse Electric Corporation and the Waste Isolation Division celebrate a company history that is bathed in a rich engineering tradition.

Through the years, Westinghouse employees have witnessed a series of "firsts," including everything from construction of the first major alternating-current power plant at Niagara Falls in 1895, to the Waste Isolation Division's use of mining and nuclear engineering technology to complete the nation's first underground repository for defense-generated radioactive waste, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), in the mid-1980s.

"When George Westinghouse died in 1914, he left behind a company that was founded on sound engineering practices," said John Garcia, manager of engineering at the Waste Isolation Division. "Westinghouse was acclaimed in his time as the 'greatest living engineer.' As a corporation and division we are proud to add to the wonderful engineering legacy he left behind. Without engineers, this nation, company and division would undoubtedly be in the dark ages."

Since its charter was granted in 1886, Westinghouse Electric Corporation and its long list of talented engineers have created many of the mechanical marvels upon which Americans have become dependent.

There were several engineering milestones that took place in the company's early history. In 1890, the first long-distance, alternating-current power transmission system in the United States was established from Willamette Falls to Portland, Oregon. Ten years later, in 1900, Westinghouse built the first steam turbine generator, revolutionizing the generation of electricity from coal.

Several other Westinghouse engineering projects have also left their mark on history. For example, in 1921, the Pittsburgh-based company created the first factory-made radio receiver for home use. Then in 1928, Westinghouse engineers invented the first electronic television camera tube. Engineers also designed the first automatic washing machine that didn't have to be bolted to the floor, and the first atomic engine (Nautilus prototype) in 1953.

A little closer to home and more recently, Westinghouse's Waste Isolation Division engineers have created their own engineering-rich legacy at the WIPP. In the early 1980s, engineers designed and constructed "Room H." The dougnut-shaped WIPP experimental room is mined out of salt rock, 2,150 feet below the earth's surface.

In the late 1980s, engineers also constructed a roof support system in Room 1 of Panel 1 that has since been described by scientists as the "safest underground laboratory in America." The unique support system was created for underground radioactive waste experiments at the WIPP, but in 1993 the tests were relocated to two national laboratories. The uniquely engineered roof support system is designed so that technicians can monitor each of the 286 roof support bolts from the surface.

Westinghouse engineers have also designed a transuranic radioactive waste transportation container described by the National Academy of Sciences as ". . . safer than that employed for any other hazardous material in the United States today." The Transuranic Package Transporter model two, or TRUPACT-II, received Nuclear Regulatory commission approval in August 1989. It will be used to transport transuranic waste from generator/storage sites, to the WIPP for permanent disposal.

Garcia said Waste Isolation Division engineers have made the WIPP project what it is today -- a world-class facility that is based on sound, safe engineering practices, and a critical step toward solving the nation's nuclear waste disposal problem.

"Westinghouse engineers have a lot to be proud of. They are responsible for some amazing products, which -- on a daily basis -- solve problems and make our lives easier. And, let us not forget George Westinghouse and his vision. Mr. Nikola Tesla, whose electrical patents revolutionized the industrial world, said it best: 'George Westinghouse was one of the world's true noblemen, of whom America may well be proud and to whom humanity owes an immense debt of gratitude'."

In observance of National Engineers Week, employees of the Waste Isolation Division will visit Carlsbad, Hobbs, Jal , Lake Arthur and Loving schools to educate students and teachers about the importance of engineering to society.

The Waste Isolation Division is the managing and operating contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy's Carlsbad Area Office at the WIPP.

INDEPENDENT GROUP OF EXPERTS EXPRESSES CONFIDENCE IN WIPP MODELS

CARLSBAD, N.M., February 4 ­­ An independent group of experts has expressed confidence in 22 of 24 conceptual models that assess the viability of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) as a safe underground repository for the permanent disposal of defense-generated transuranic nuclear waste.

"We are addressing the panel's concerns with the final two conceptual models," said George Dials, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office, which oversees the WIPP project. "It is the DOE's highest goal to protect human health and the environment. The peer review process is designed to ensure the safety and long-term performance of the WIPP. I believe that has been accomplished."

The Conceptual Models Peer Review team, made up of experts in hydrology, geology and geomechanics, has reservations about the WIPP conceptual models associated with spallings and chemical engineered backfill. In a supplementary report released last week, the panel said it would require additional information before determining that the output from these models is "adequate."

Spallings are the materials that may be forced into the circulating drilling fluid and to the surface if there is sufficient pressure in the waste disposal panels. The spallings model provides one component of the assessment of a hypothetical radioactive release should someone inadvertently drill into theWIPP Repository.

In its Compliance Certification Application, which was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on October 29, 1997, the DOE examined several types of intrusion events, including oil and gas drilling and mining. Even with multiple hypothetical intrusions, model results indicate that the natural and engineered barriers will safely and permanently isolate transuranic nuclear waste.

Engineered barriers (i.e., shaft seals, panel closures, borehole plugs, backfill) complement and strengthen the natural waste isolating features of the bedded salt in which the WIPP is located. As an added assurance to protect human health and the environment, the DOE also used a model to show how chemical engineered barriers further limit the movement of radionuclides.

Based on discussions with peer review groups, the DOE is continuing several laboratory experiments using magnesium oxide, which chemically stabilizes radionuclides and minimizes their solubility. Dials added that the use of chemical barriers is not a requirement under federal nuclear waste disposal criteria, but "barriers may be used as an additional safeguard." The performance assessment evaluations have shown that the WIPP meets the compliance requirements without the magnesium oxide backfill.

Peer reviews involve a documented, critical evaluation by outside technical experts who are not involved with the WIPP project, and who are sufficiently free from funding considerations to assure that work is impartially reviewed. Each review involves an in-depth critique of the assumptions, calculations, conclusions and methodology used to determine long-term performance of the WIPP.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense­related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

WIPP TRUCK DAMAGED NORTH OF ARTESIA

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 24, 1997 -- A semitruck that will be used to transport waste to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico received fender, bumper, and radiator damage when it struck a cow approximately 40 miles north of Carlsbad at 6:15 p.m., yesterday. The truck, operated by CAST Transportation, Inc. was returning on U.S. Highway 285 to the WIPP from Albuquerque where it had undergone routine maintenance. There were no injuries to the drivers or damage to the trailer or its load.

The truck was not transporting waste, since the WIPP is not yet operating. The vehicle is only being used for training and display at public meetings. The WIPP transportation system, which includes the trailer and the TRUPACT-II shipping containers, has operated for more than a million miles since 1989 without an incident.

As a result of the damage to the truck's bumper, fender, and radiator it was declared out of service. The truck and trailer were towed to the town of Artesia and the damaged truck replaced. The replacement truck and trailer which carried three empty TRUPACT-II containers continued to the WIPP site.

INTERNATIONAL EXPERTS MAKE STOP IN CARLSBAD TO CONTINUE REVIEW OF THE DOE'S WIPP ANALYSES

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 24, 1997 ­­ A group of international experts representing a variety of disciplines will arrive here next week to continue work on the first joint international peer review of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

Members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are examining whether the scientific analyses of the WIPP project is appropriate, technically sound, and conforms with international standards and practices.

Requested by the Doe's Carlsbad Area Office, this peer review is a first for the NEA and the IAEA. The two agencies typically offer services separately to their member countries. An agreement to begin the joint review was signed in Paris, France, on June 7, 1996.

The agencies appointed a group of independent international experts from fields such as geology, geochemistry, material sciences, radiation and environmental protection, and nuclear safety to conduct the review. The expert group includes representatives from nuclear regulatory bodies, radioactive waste management agencies, universities, and research institutions.

The six-month review began in October 1996. It incorporates detailed documentation provided by the Carlsbad Area Office and discussions with the specialists involved with the WIPP project during next week's site visit. A report containing the international expert groups' findings will be submitted to the Carlsbad Area Office.

Most of the information being reviewed by the agencies is included in the WIPP's Compliance Certification Application, which was submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on October 29, 1996. The EPA criteria require the Carlsbad Area Office to demonstrate that the WIPP repository will isolate defense-generated radioactive transuranic waste from the environment for 10,000 years.

"While this review is not a requirement of our permit application, it will provide us and our regulator, the EPA, with additional confidence in the performance assessment conducted on the WIPP facility," said George Dials, manager of the Carlsbad Area Office.

"The WIPP project is a model for international geologic repository development. Through this peer review, it is possible to benefit from the experience of the world's leading experts in nuclear waste disposal and radiological safety assessments," Dials said.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste generated by defense­related activities. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists primarily of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

DOE EXTENDS PUBLIC COMMENT PERIOD FOR WIPP SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONEMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 22 -- The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced today that it has extended until February 27, 1997, the public comment period for the draft Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Disposal Phase Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS II).

The comment period was extended 30 days at the request of interested stakeholders. The public comment period began November 29, 1996, and was originally scheduled to last 60 days, until January 28. The extension gives interested stakeholders a total of 90 days in which to review and submit comments on the document.

Public hearings have been conducted during the public comment period. Hearings were held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, January 6-7; Santa Fe, New Mexico, January 8-10; Carlsbad, New Mexico, January 13; Denver, Colorado, January 13; Boise, Idaho, January 15; Richland, Washington, January 15; and Oak Ridge, Tennessee, January 21. The final hearing will be in North Augusta, South Carolina, January 23.

Comments will be accepted by regular mail, electronic mail, or facsimile. Written comments on the draft SEIS II document must be postmarked by February 27, 1997. Comments postmarked after that date will be considered to the extent practicable.

Written comments should be directed to Harold Johnson, NEPA Compliance Office, Attn: SEIS Comments, P.O. Box 9800, Albuquerque, NM 87119. Comments submitted by electronic mail should be sent to WIPPSEIS@battelle.org, or by facsimile to 1-505-224-8030.

The draft SEIS II updates information contained in the first WIPP Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. Generally, this study evaluates the environmental impacts of waste characterization, treatment, and certification; packaging and transportation; site operations and waste emplacement; and long-term performance of the repository.

For further information, or to obtain a copy of the draft SEIS II, call the toll free WIPP Information line at 1-800-336-9477.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at 10 major generator/storage sites and several small quantity sites nationwide.

DOE TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS NEXT WEEK IN NORTH AUGUSTA ON WIPP SUPPLEMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 16 -- The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Disposal Phase Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS-II) during a public hearing next week (January 23) in North Augusta. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Savannah River Site plans to ship 456,000 cubic feet of transuranic waste to the WIPP.

Officials from the DOE Carlsbad Area Office will host the public hearing at the North Augusta Community Center, 495 Brookside Drive. Planned hours for the hearing are 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees not pre-registered may register at the door on the day of the hearing. Session hours may be adjusted as registration demand warrants.

The draft SEIS-II updates information contained in the first WIPP Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. The study evaluates 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 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 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act and 1996 amendments to the act;

  • Changes in the planned routes for truck transportation; and

  • Changes in the waste acceptance criteria since 1990.

Comments will also be accepted by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile. Written comments concerning the draft SEIS-II document must be postmarked by January 28, 1997. Comments postmarked after this date will be considered to the extent that is practicable. All written comments should be directed to: Harold Johnson, NEPA Compliance Officer, Attn.: SEIS Comments, P.O. Box 9800, Albuquerque, NM 87119. Comments submitted by electronic mail should be sent to WIPPSEIS@battelle.org, or by facsimile to 1-505-224-8030.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the draft SEIS-II, call the toll free WIPP Information line at 1-800-336-9477.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at more than 10 major generator/storage sites and several small quantity sites nationwide.

DOE TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS NEXT WEEK IN OAK RIDGE ON WIPP SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONEMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 14 -- The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Disposal Phase Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS-II) during a public hearing next week (January 21) in Oak Ridge. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory plans to ship 55,000 cubic feet of transuranic waste to the WIPP, while the Mound Laboratory in Miamisburg, Ohio, plans to ship nearly 9,000 cubic feet of transuranic waste to the WIPP.

Officials from the DOE Carlsbad Area Office will host the public hearing at the American Museum of Science and Energy, 300 South Tulane Avenue. Planned hours for the hearing are 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees not pre-registered may register at the door on the day of the hearing. Session hours may be adjusted as registration demand warrants.

The draft SEIS-II updates information contained in the first WIPP Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. The study evaluates 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 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 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act and 1996 amendments to the act;

  • Changes in the planned routes for truck transportation; and

  • Changes in the waste acceptance criteria since 1990.

Comments will also be accepted by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile. Written comments concerning the draft SEIS-II document must be postmarked by January 28, 1997. Comments postmarked after this date will be considered to the extent that is practicable. All written comments should be directed to: Harold Johnson, NEPA Compliance Officer, Attn.: SEIS Comments, P.O. Box 9800, Albuquerque, NM 87119. Comments submitted by electronic mail should be sent to WIPPSEIS@battelle.org, or by facsimile to 1-505-224-8030.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the draft SEIS-II, call the toll free WIPP Information line at 1-800-336-9477.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at more than 10 major generator/storage sites and several small quantity sites nationwide.

DOE CLARIFIES EPA REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL INPUT TO WIPP COMPLIANCE CERTIFICATION APPLICATION

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 9 -- George Dials, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office, today issued a statement clarifying a recent request from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for additional information to supplement the DOE's Compliance Certification Application (CCA) for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

"The December 19, 1996, letter from EPA has clearly been misinterpreted by members of the public and the news media," Dials said. "It is important to understand that this request is a normal part of the permitting process, and in no way reflects any final determination by EPA on the completeness of our application. We remain convinced that the CCA we submitted to EPA on October 29, 1996, substantially meets the requirements of the regulations, criteria, and Compliance Application Guidance (CAG). The CCA, as submitted, was administratively complete, and EPA should be able to complete the technical review by the congressionally suggested October 1997 deadline."

In the letter, EPA assistant administrator for air and radiation, Mary Nichols specifically states, "This information must be provided to the agency prior to any completeness determination by the Administrator."

"We are still very early in the permitting process, much too early to jump to conclusions about the technical sufficiency of the application," Dials said. "We expected this request and, quite frankly, we expect the EPA will make other such requests before it renders any final decisions on the application."

DOE TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS NEXT WEEK IN BOISE ON WIPP SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 9 -- The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Disposal Phase Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS-II) during a public hearing next week (January 15) in Boise. The Idaho National Engineering Laboratory plans to ship more than two million cubic feet of transuranic waste to the WIPP.

Officials from the DOE Carlsbad Area Office will host the public hearing at the Red Lion Inn - Riverside, 2900 Chinden Boulevard. Planned hours for the hearing are 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees not pre-registered may register at the door on the day of the hearing. Session hours may be adjusted as registration demand warrants.

The draft SEIS-II updates information contained in the first WIPP Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. The study evaluates 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 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 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act and 1996 amendments to the act;

  • Changes in the planned routes for truck transportation; and

  • Changes in the waste acceptance criteria since 1990.

Comments will also be accepted by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile. Written comments concerning the draft SEIS-II document must be postmarked by January 28, 1997. Comments postmarked after this date will be considered to the extent that is practicable. All written comments should be directed to: Harold Johnson, NEPA Compliance Officer, Attn.: SEIS Comments, P.O. Box 9800, Albuquerque, NM 87119. Comments submitted by electronic mail should be sent to WIPPSEIS@battelle.org, or by facsimile to 1-505-224-8030.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the draft SEIS-II, call the toll free WIPP Information line at 1-800-336-9477.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at more than 10 major generator/storage sites and several small quantity sites nationwide.

DOE TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS NEXT WEEK IN RICHLAND ON WIPP SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 9 -- The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Disposal Phase Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS-II) during a public hearing next week (January 15) in Richland. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Hanford Site plans to ship 906,000 cubic feet of transuranic waste to the WIPP.

Officials from the DOE Carlsbad Area Office will host the public hearing at the Red Lion Inn - Richland, 802 George Washington Way. Planned hours for the hearing are 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees not pre-registered may register at the door on the day of the hearing. Session hours may be adjusted as registration demand warrants.

The draft SEIS-II updates information contained in the first WIPP Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. The study evaluates 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 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 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act and 1996 amendments to the act;

  • Changes in the planned routes for truck transportation; and

  • Changes in the waste acceptance criteria since 1990.

Comments will also be accepted by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile. Written comments concerning the draft SEIS-II document must be postmarked by January 28, 1997. Comments postmarked after this date will be considered to the extent that is practicable. All written comments should be directed to: Harold Johnson, NEPA Compliance Officer, Attn.: SEIS Comments, P. O. Box 9800, Albuquerque, NM 87119. Comments submitted by electronic mail should be sent to WIPPSEIS@battelle.org, or by facsimile to 1-505-224-8030.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the draft SEIS-II, call the toll free WIPP Information line at 1-800-336-9477.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at more than 10 major generator/storage sites and several small quantity sites nationwide.

DOE TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS NEXT WEEK IN CARLSBAD ON WIPP SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 8 -- The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Disposal Phase Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS-II) during a public hearing next week (January 13) in Carlsbad.

Officials from the DOE Carlsbad Area Office will host the public hearing at the Pecos River Village, 711 N. Muscatel. Planned hours for the hearing are 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees not pre-registered may register at the door on the day of the hearing. Session hours may be adjusted as registration demand warrants.

The draft SEIS-II updates information contained in the first WIPP Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. The study evaluates 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 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 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act and 1996 amendments to the act;

  • Changes in the planned routes for truck transportation; and

  • Changes in the waste acceptance criteria since 1990.

Comments will also be accepted by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile. Written comments concerning the draft SEIS-II document must be postmarked by January 28, 1997. Comments postmarked after this date will be considered to the extent that is practicable. All written comments should be directed to: Harold Johnson, NEPA Compliance Officer, Attn.: SEIS Comments, P.O. Box 9800, Albuquerque, NM 87119. Comments submitted by electronic mail should be sent to WIPPSEIS@battelle.org, or by facsimile to 1-505-224-8030.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the draft SEIS-II, call the toll free WIPP Information line at 1-800-336-9477.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at more than 10 major generator/storage sites and several small quantity sites nationwide.

DOE TO HOLD PUBLIC HEARINGS NEXT WEEK IN DENVER AREA ON WIPP SUPPLEMENTAL ENVIRONEMENTAL IMPLACT STATEMENT

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 8 -- The public will have an opportunity to comment on the draft Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Disposal Phase Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS-II) during a public hearing next week (January 13) in Arvada. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Rocky Flats Environmental Technology Site plans to ship 557,000 cubic feet of transuranic waste to the WIPP.

Officials from the DOE Carlsbad Area Office will host the public hearing at the Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard. Planned hours for the hearing are 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. Attendees not pre-registered may register at the door on the day of the hearing. Session hours may be adjusted as registration demand warrants.

The draft SEIS-II updates information contained in the first WIPP Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, completed in 1990, and the original 1980 WIPP Environmental Impact Statement. The study evaluates 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 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 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act and 1996 amendments to the act;

  • Changes in the planned routes for truck transportation; and

  • Changes in the waste acceptance criteria since 1990.

Comments will also be accepted by mail, electronic mail, or facsimile. Written comments concerning the draft SEIS-II document must be postmarked by January 28, 1997. Comments postmarked after this date will be considered to the extent that is practicable. All written comments should be directed to: Harold Johnson, NEPA Compliance Officer, Attn.: SEIS Comments, P.O. Box 9800, Albuquerque, NM 87119. Comments submitted by electronic mail should be sent to WIPPSEIS@battelle.org, or by facsimile to 1-505-224-8030.

For further information or to obtain a copy of the draft SEIS-II, call the toll free WIPP Information line at 1-800-336-9477.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of radioactive transuranic waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground. Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

Defense-generated transuranic waste is temporarily stored at more than 10 major generator/storage sites and several small quantity sites nationwide.

CARLSBAD AREA OFFICE PRESENTED WITH A NEW YEAR'S SURPRISE - WORKING PROTOTYPE OF HALFPACK TRANSPORTER

CARLSBAD, N.M., January 3, 1997 -- In classic Navy tradition, George Dials, manager of the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Carlsbad Area Office, "christened" the first working prototype of the HALFPACK radioactive waste transporter today.

Joe Epstein, general manager of the Westinghouse Waste Isolation Division, presented Dials with a New Year's card, a bottle of sparkling apple cider, and the prototype HALFPACK, decked out in red ribbon. Dials read the card aloud, which called the package an "early arrival" since it was completed five months ahead of schedule. Dials and Epstein then celebrated with a toast to the HALFPACK.

The HALFPACK is designed to reduce the number of transuranic waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) by about 2,000 and avoid spending $20 million dollars in transportation-related costs.

The HALFPACK is a shorter version of the Transuranic Package Transporter (TRUPACT-II). Because the HALFPACK weighs less than the TRUPACT-II, more of its overall weight can be payload, rather than package, thus reducing the number of trips to transport heavier-than-average drums of waste. The HALFPACK will be able to transport 21 heavy drums on one truck; the TRUPACT-II can only ship 14 heavy drums per truck, decreasing the number of shipments and avoiding transportation costs of approximately $20 million over the life of the project.

The prototype units will help WIPP engineers determine the final design of the container. The final HALFPACK design, as robust as the TRUPACT-II, will undergo certification testing and will be submitted to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission for certification. Both the TRUPACT-II and HALFPACK are specifically designed to safely ship transuranic radioactive waste.

The WIPP is designed to permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 26 miles east of Carlsbad, project facilities include disposal rooms excavated in an ancient, stable salt formation, 2,150 feet (almost half a mile) underground.

Transuranic waste consists of clothing, tools, rags, and other disposable items contaminated with trace amounts of radioactive elements, mostly plutonium.

The WIPP is scheduled to open for waste receipt in November 1997.

To Top

 

 


News Release Archives

Current

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

 

 

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

 

2000

1999

1998

1997

1996

1995

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   

Notice To Users:  Use of this system constitutes consent to security monitoring and testing. All activity is logged
with your host name and IP address.  For more information, please refer to the DOE Privacy Policy

Please report problems to: webmaster@wipp.ws

Hit Counter.