The supplemental ventilation system installed in the air intake drift
WIPP's new hybrid (diesel/electric) bolter in the underground mine
A drill being run at WIPP's new Emergency Operations Center
Emergency response vehicles stationed in the WIPP underground

WIPP Update

May 3, 2016

Documented Safety Analysis (DSA) Approved

The Department of Energy’s Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) has approved the contractor’s Documented Safety Analysis (DSA).  The latest DSA was developed based on the new DOE standard DOE-STD-3009-2014, Preparation of Non-Reactor Nuclear Facility Documented Safety Analysis, and defines the safety parameters under which the facility operates. 

“Completion of this important safety analysis is key to ensuring that the resumptions of operations at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) meets the highest safety standards and that all potential scenarios that could impact safe operations at the site have been fully anticipated and mitigated through careful preparation and response planning,” said Todd Shrader, CBFO Manager. “Completion of this key milestone keeps us on track to resuming operations by the end of this year.”

DSA is signed by DOE and NWP management teamsCBFO Assistant Manager of Operations Oversight Wes Mouser (seated), signs the Safety Evaluation Report approving the WIPP DSA. Looking on are members of the DOE-HQ, CBFO and NWP management teams (from left to right): Phil Breidenbach NWP President and Project Manager, Steve Additon, CBFO Manager Todd Shrader; CBFO Senior Technical Advisor Jeff Carswell; Wade Weyerman, James Harris, Tom Temple, Deputy Assistant Secretary EM-40 Jim Hutton; Dr. Robert Nelson, John Menna, Associate Deputy Assistant Secretary EM-40 Greg Sosson and Terry Foppe.

The DSA includes detailed examination of seven different types of potential events at the WIPP site, such as fires, explosions or energetic events, radiological releases and impacts of natural phenomenon such a high winds or tornadoes.  The analysis includes evaluation of the likelihood and consequences of these events as well as the engineered and administrative controls or technical safety requirements necessary to mitigate or minimize impacts to the safety of the workers, the facility and the

The approval of the DSA will allow the WIPP management and operations contractor Nuclear Waste Partnership to complete the final phase of their Independent Verification Review (IVR) and finalize training the workforce on procedures necessary to implement the new safety basis.  Successful completion of the IVR allows for implementation of the DSA which is the last step on the critical path before the start of cold operations, which is the phase of restart that involves conducting facility operations with simulated waste containers.  Cold Operations is designed to demonstrate the adequacy of procedures and establish worker proficiency prior to the beginning of formal readiness reviews required before resumption of actual waste emplacement operations.

Next WIPP Town Hall Meeting Scheduled June 2

The City of Carlsbad and DOE will co-host a Town Hall meeting to provide more detailed information on the DSA and updates on WIPP recovery and restart activities. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, June 2 at 5:30 p.m. Location: Carlsbad City Council Chambers, 101 N. Halagueno Street.  Live streaming of the meeting can be seen at

Reports and Plans


CBFO CAP Plan CBFO Corrective Action Plan for the Fire and Radiological Events (Rev. 1)

NWP CAP Plan NWP Corrective Action Addendum for Radiological Release Event

AIB Phase II Report on the February 14 Radiological Event

AIB Phase II Investigation Summary Slides

AIB Investigation Report on the February 5 Fire

AIB Investigation Summary Slides

AIB Phase I Report on the February 14 Radiological Event

AIB Phase I Investigation Summary Slides

Office of Environmental Management Corrective Action Plan for Fire Event

Office of Environmental Management Corrective Action Plan for the Radiological Event

Office of Enterprise Assessments Operational Analysis of Safety Trends at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, May 2014 - May 2015

NWP Corrective Action Plan for the Fire and Radiological Events

Technical Assessment Team Report

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents for the AIB and TAT reports