CARLSBAD, N.M. – EM Acting Assistant Secretary William "Ike" White traveled to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) recently to tour the site and learn about the progress the facility has made since his last visit in 2019.
“I was encouraged to see the progress that WIPP is making on key infrastructure improvements that will set the groundwork for the site’s continued success,” White said.
White toured the Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS), which is not only WIPP’s most intensive construction effort in three decades but is also the largest containment fan system in the DOE complex. The SSCVS is a modern air supply system which will improve air quality for workers underground.
As part of the project, White viewed progress on the system’s Salt Reduction Building. The building pre-filters salt-laden air coming from the underground to extend the lifespan of the system’s high-efficiency particulate absorbing (HEPA) filters contained in the system’s New Filter Building. White also peered over the edge of the system’s intake, the 26-foot-diameter utility shaft that will eventually reach 2,250 feet and connect back to the existing WIPP underground.
Underground, White saw progress on the mining of a new waste disposal panel. Panel 8, made up of seven gigantic rooms, is scheduled for completion in less than a year. A continuous miner machine has already removed more than 105,000 tons of salt to date from Panel 8 in preparation for its use.
White also met with WIPP’s federal and contractor staff, and had the opportunity to meet WIPP’s summer interns who were eager to hear from him and learn about his experiences within DOE.
“We were very pleased to host the acting assistant secretary for a firsthand view of a number of critical projects at WIPP,” EM Carlsbad Field Office Manager Reinhard Knerr said. “These important efforts ensure WIPP can safely continue its national mission far into the future.”
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