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WIPP 22 May 2014

On October 31, 2015 the DNFSB reported:”Surface Fire Water System. There have been eleven fire water loop failures since 2008 (4 in lead-ins, 4 in loop piping, 1 PIV bonnet and 2 hydrants). NWP has signed a contract with an engineering firm to evaluate the condition of all fire water equipment, including pumps, tanks, buried piping and fire detection and control equipment. Recommendations to repair or replace the system are due in November, 30% conceptual design is planned to complete in late December and 90% design in July 2016. The staff is concerned about the timing of upgrade completion and the receipt of offsite waste for disposal.

Consolidated Evaluation of the Safety of the Situation (ESS). During October the staff conducted a review of the consolidated ESS and participated in a teleconference with the site. Radiological risk in the underground is dominated by the potential for a repeat thermal event. Much of the discussion focused on the credit assigned in the consolidated ESS to the interim closure bulkheads to protect facility workers from radiological exposure in the event of a repeat thermal event. The staff concluded that the controls established in the ESS to protect facility workers from a repeat thermal event may not be adequate. The staff suggested to DOE that establishing an additional control such as CAMs in the ESS would provide greater assurance that facility workers in the underground would be protected. A closeout telecon is scheduled for November 5.
http://www.dnfsb.gov/sites/default/files/Board%20Activities/Reports/Site%20Rep%20Monthly%20Reports/Waste%20Isolation%20Pilot%20Plant/2015/mr_20151031_122.pdf Telecon for sure.

On September 30, 2015 they reported:
Potentially Inadequate Safety Analysis (PISA): The Waste Handling Building (WHB) Fire Suppression System (FSS) is operating in a degraded mode. This resulted in a PISA declaration, followed by a positive Unreviewed Safety Question determination (USQ) on September 18. An additional PISA was declared on September 14 regarding the lack of the required one degree floor slope in the remote-handling (RH) bay which is credited to direct spilled fuel away from the contact-handling (CH) bay. Absorbent socks have been placed along the roll-up and personnel doors between the bays to preclude entry of liquids into the CH bay. Members of the staff are tracking progress of both issues.

Consolidated Evaluation of the Safety of the Situation (ESS): In April 2015 DOE committed to consolidate nine ESSs into a simplified consolidated ESS document to reduce the likelihood of Technical Safety Requirement violations. The Board’s staff reviewed the draft document and transmitted an agenda to support discussions in August. DOE submitted written responses to the agenda and members of the staff are evaluating the responses.

Click to access mr_20150930_122.pdf

BUT 6 metric tons of plutonium are planned to be sent to WIPP from Savannah River Site, cross country, apparently to make room for foreign plutonium at the Savannah River Nuclear site.

WIPP problems should surprise no one since WIPP is in a salt bed (near Carlsbad Caverns) and has been leaking since the beginning: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/the-weeping-wipp-road-wipp-leaking-from-the-get-go/

But, that didn’t stop the DOE from sending Savannah River Site transuranic (plutonium, americium, etc.) to WIPP in the past. And, it isn’t keeping the US DOE from planning to send 6 metric tons of plutonium from Savannah River Nuclear Site to WIPP as soon as it is re-opened!
From SRS to WIPP ca 1999


Any surprises that Quality Assurance QA worker, Robert B. Staffel (Jr.), almost 62, was found dead at WIPP the Sunday after Christmas ( but he died on Monday… a technicality?)

The Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (Board) is an independent organization within the executive branch chartered with the responsibility of providing recommendations and advice to the President and the Secretary of Energy regarding public health and safety issues at Department of Energy (Department) defense nuclear facilities. In operation since in October 1989, the Board reviews and evaluates the content and implementation of health and safety standards, as well as other requirements, relating to the design, construction, operation, and decommissioning of the Department’s defense nuclear facilities.

NWP is a AECOM-led entity with partner B&W Technical Services Group and major subcontractor AREVA Federal Services. We manage and operate the U.S. Department of Energy’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in southeast New Mexico.” http://www. nwp-wipp.com