Energy secretary visits Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad

Energy secretary visits Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad.
Energy secretary visits Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad. | Courtesy of the Department of Energy
Deputy Secretary of Energy Elizabeth Sherwood-Randall made a visit Tuesday to the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) located near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

During her visit, Sherwood-Randall examined the status and progress of the recovery of operations at the facility and met with site employees and surrounding community members.

The WIPP facility has been closed since Feb. 2014 following two unrelated incidents: a salt truck fire and reports of airborne radioactivity in proximation of where nuclear waste was being stored. These incidents prompted the closure of the facility and subsequent recovery and repair efforts.

During the visit, she noted the progress made in recovery efforts to bring the WIPP facility back to an operational status. This includes establishing mining stability, the restoration of electrical distribution and reductions in radiological risks.

“We must sustain our focus on quality and safety, for now and forever,” Sherwood-Randall said. “I ask you to continue to be vigilant and to know that we are committed to ensuring your concerns and recommendations for improvement reach the right people and that effective action is taken. Safety is a shared responsibility for all of us.”

Sherwood-Randall also reaffirmed the commitment of the DOE to Carlsbad and its community members.

“The support for the vital mission at WIPP has been unwavering, and Secretary Moniz and I both value your continued dedication,” Sherwood-Randall said.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is a cabinet-level department of the U.S. Government concerned with policies regarding energy and safety in handling nuclear material.

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