Path Forward

As the result of the February 5 vehicle fire and the February 14 radiological release, the WIPP repository is shut down and is not accepting any waste shipments.  Below are some key elements of WIPP's phased recovery plan and reports from the Department of Energy's Accident Investigation Board for both events.

Recovery Plan - Phase I

Returning WIPP to normal operations will be a long, multi-step process. Our focus continues to be on actions necessary to keep the public, environment, and employees safe, mitigate the radiation source, and restore operations.


Recovery Plan - Phase II


Accident Investigation Boards

As a result of a the February events -- the February 5 salt haul truck fire and the February 14 radiological release -- the Department of Energy established two Accident Investigation Boards (AIB) to assess the WIPP safety systems programs and processes at the federal and contractor level. These investigations include analysis of training and qualifications and emergency management response to the events.

The AIBs use a rigorous process to investigate events that had or potentially could have had a negative impact to the employees, public or the environment.  The DOE Carlsbad Field Office and its contractor, Nuclear Waste Partnership, made every aspect of WIPP operations available to the investigation teams. 

The AIBs develop Judgments of Needs (JON) that form the basis for corrective actions designed to prevent the recurrence of events.  The JONs form the basis for a Corrective Action Plan that DOE Headquarters, the Carlsbad Field Office and Nuclear Waste Partnership will use as part of the recovery process.

The AIB report on the haul-truck fire was released March 7. To view the report, click on the following link.

The AIB report on the February 14 radiological event is being issued in two phases. Phase I focuses on the release of radioactive material from the underground to the environment and the follow-on response to the release. The Phase I AIB Report was released April 24. To view the report, click on the following link.


The Phase 2 report will be focused on determining the direct cause of the release of the material. A release date is yet to be determined.

Other Plans and Submittals

On Friday, May 30, 2014, the Department of Energy and Nuclear Waste Partnership submitted their WIPP Nitrate Salt Bearing Waste Container Isolation Plan to the New Mexico Environment Department as required by Administrative Order 05-20001. To view this report, click on the following links:

Media Contact for Recovery

Tim Runyon
U.S. Department of Energy
WIPP Recovery Communications
P.O. Box 3090
Carlsbad, NM 88221-2078 
Phone: (575) 234-7545

Donavan Mager
Manager Communications
Nuclear Waste Partnership LLC
P.O. Box 2078 GSA-104
Carlsbad, NM 88221-2078
Phone: (575) 234-7586

Public Inquiries

WIPP Information Center
Phone: 1-800-336-WIPP (9477)