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

November 24, 2015

Addition of Safe Havens Increase WIPP Underground Safety

EOC members participate in an exerciseThe WIPP site has made significant safety improvements. Recently, eight underground safe havens (or refuge chambers) were delivered to the site and will be downloaded into the WIPP underground prior to the restart of waste disposal operations. 

The safe havens are about 28 feet long, 8 feet wide, 7.25 feet high and weigh approximately 19,000 pounds. Each unit is equipped to house 20 people for at least 36 hours in the event of an emergency where workers may not be able to safely evacuate the mine. The safe havens contain life saving and habitability elements such as an heating, ventilation and cooling system, an on-board oxygen delivery system, food, water, a chemical toilet, gas monitoring capabilities, lighting, seating and other features.

These units are being installed at WIPP as part of the overarching safety and emergency program enhancements associated with the WIPP recovery efforts.

Photo caption: Safe havens provide life-saving shelter for underground workers in the event of an emergency.

Interim Ventilation System Ductwork Installation Begins

Work continues to progress on the Interim Ventilation System (IVS) as crews began installing the ductwork that will tie the new system into the exhaust air ventilation circuit.  More than half of the ductwork supports have already been installed around the IVS with the remaining supports in process.  Electrical transformers supporting the IVS have also been placed as part of the overall IVS.

Once completed, the system will significantly increase the overall amount of airflow in the underground. This increase will allow more of WIPP’s diesel fueled equipment to operate underground, thereby helping crews to complete restoration activities.

Next WIPP Town Hall Meeting Scheduled January 7

The City of Carlsbad and DOE will co-host its Town Hall meeting featuring updates on WIPP recovery activities. The meeting is scheduled for Thursday, January 7 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


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


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

CBFO Corrective Action Plan for the Fire and Radiological Events

NWP Corrective Action Plan for the Fire and Radiological Events

Technical Assessment Team Report

Supporting Documents

Supporting documents for the AIB and TAT reports

Did you know?

WIPP has made significant progress in its recovery efforts

On September 30, 2014, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) Recovery Plan was issued. It outlines the necessary steps to resume limited waste disposal operations in the first quarter of calendar year 2016. 

Several of the steps have been completed and WIPP is making good progress in its recovery efforts.

For more information about the WIPP Recovery Plan, see the Plans and Reports page.