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    No interference from radioactive waste at WIPP

    All waste disposal operations are conducted in the southern reaches of the WIPP underground in specially mined disposal panels.  The nearest of these disposal panels is about a kilometer from the experiment gallery to the north.  With no "line of sight" for streaming radiation between waste and experimental areas, and with solid rock walls separating them, there is no interference to sensitive nuclear particle detectors from the waste in the experiment gallery.  This even includes neutrinos from waste components decaying by beta emission.  Additionally, the careful monitoring to ensure clean operations guarantees no airborne radioactivity contributes to instrument background levels.  Fresh air from the surface is split with separate circuits for ventilation in the experiment gallery and disposal operations. 

    Stacked drums of transuranic waste in Panel 1 contain waste with mostly alpha emitting radionuclides.  While some gamma and beta emitters are present, their contribution to the total is small.

    Finally, it is important to note that the salt layers of the WIPP underground contain significantly lower natural background radiation than many other mines.