skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Analysis of a Radioactive Release in a Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility

Abstract

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is a 655-meter deep mine near Carlsbad, New Mexico, used to dispose the nation’s defense transuranic waste. Limited airborne radioactivity was released from a container of radioactive waste in WIPP on 14 February, 2014. As designed, a mine ventilation filtration system prevented the large scale release of contamination from the underground. However, isolation dampers leaked, which allowed the release of low levels of contaminants after the event until they were sealed. None of the exposed individuals received any recordable dose. While surface contamination was limited, contamination in the ventilation system and portions of the underground was substantial. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in the operating ventilation system ensure continued containment during recovery and resumption of disposal operations. However, ventilation flow is restricted since the incident, with all exhaust air directed through the filters. Decontamination and natural fixation by the hygroscopic nature of the salt host rock has reduced the likelihood of further contamination spread. Contamination control and ventilation system operability are crucial for resumption of operations. This article provides an operational assessment and evaluation of these two key areas.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];
  1. Dept. of Energy, Washington, DC (United States)
  2. Dept. of Energy, Carlsbad, NM (United States)
  3. Nuclear Waste Partners, Carlsbad, NM (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
USDOE Office of Environmental Management (EM), Washington, DC (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Environmental Management (EM)
OSTI Identifier:
1373268
Report Number(s):
DOE-EM-4.21-02
TRN: US1703323
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
12 MANAGEMENT OF RADIOACTIVE AND NON-RADIOACTIVE WASTES FROM NUCLEAR FACILITIES; ALPHA-BEARING WASTES; SURFACE CONTAMINATION; RADIOACTIVE WASTE DISPOSAL; VENTILATION SYSTEMS; NEW MEXICO; CONTAINMENT; RADIOACTIVITY

Citation Formats

Poppiti, James, Nelson, Roger, MacMillan, Walter J., and Cunningham, Scott. Analysis of a Radioactive Release in a Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility. United States: N. p., 2017. Web. doi:10.2172/1373268.
Poppiti, James, Nelson, Roger, MacMillan, Walter J., & Cunningham, Scott. Analysis of a Radioactive Release in a Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility. United States. doi:10.2172/1373268.
Poppiti, James, Nelson, Roger, MacMillan, Walter J., and Cunningham, Scott. Sat . "Analysis of a Radioactive Release in a Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility". United States. doi:10.2172/1373268. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1373268.
@article{osti_1373268,
title = {Analysis of a Radioactive Release in a Nuclear Waste Disposal Facility},
author = {Poppiti, James and Nelson, Roger and MacMillan, Walter J. and Cunningham, Scott},
abstractNote = {The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is a 655-meter deep mine near Carlsbad, New Mexico, used to dispose the nation’s defense transuranic waste. Limited airborne radioactivity was released from a container of radioactive waste in WIPP on 14 February, 2014. As designed, a mine ventilation filtration system prevented the large scale release of contamination from the underground. However, isolation dampers leaked, which allowed the release of low levels of contaminants after the event until they were sealed. None of the exposed individuals received any recordable dose. While surface contamination was limited, contamination in the ventilation system and portions of the underground was substantial. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters in the operating ventilation system ensure continued containment during recovery and resumption of disposal operations. However, ventilation flow is restricted since the incident, with all exhaust air directed through the filters. Decontamination and natural fixation by the hygroscopic nature of the salt host rock has reduced the likelihood of further contamination spread. Contamination control and ventilation system operability are crucial for resumption of operations. This article provides an operational assessment and evaluation of these two key areas.},
doi = {10.2172/1373268},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Sat Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017},
month = {Sat Jul 01 00:00:00 EDT 2017}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share: