Public Information and Outreach


Public officials, citizens, and the media along the WIPP transportation corridor have a renewed interest in WIPP as a result of world events.  WIPP is consistently mentioned in press releases as a successful permanent repository for radiological and nuclear waste and was noted in the final report of President Obama’s Blue Ribbon Commission on America’s Nuclear Future.  This has resulted in an increasing need for more public information that is internet-based and utilizes social media.  As a result, the Colorado WIPP Program has developed this comprehensive website which augments training and provides links to key agencies, programs and topical information. 

Other key aspects of the outreach activity include the availability of a speaker’s bureau to make presentations, special briefings for public and elected officials, static displays at community events as well as tours to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant facility for public officials and emergency response personnel.

Incidents at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant 

Two isolated events took place at WIPP in February 2014. On February 5, a salt haul truck caught fire.  Workers were evacuated and the underground portion of WIPP was shut down.  Several workers were treated for smoke inhalation, but no injuries occurred.

Nine days later, late in the evening of February 14, a second unrelated event occurred when a continuous air monitor (CAM) alarmed during the night shift, when only 11 employees were at the WIPP site on the surface, no employees were in the underground.  Two other WIPP employees reported to the site a couple hours later. The continuous air monitor measured airborne radioactivity close to the operating location where waste was being emplaced.

Long Awaited News About the Reopening of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant

This January 17, 2017 USDOE article provides an overview about WIPP's Path to Recovery.  

Please see this page about the reopening of the facility and the prospective look forward to the resumption of shipments through Colorado.

Resumption of WIPP Shipments Through Colorado --NEW!  (as of 8/10/18)

The last week of March 2017 was slated for the US Dept. of Energy/Carlsbad Field Office to conduct stakeholder engagement and public outreach before the resumption of WIPP shipments.  Two WIPP "Road Shows" Events were held in Colorado on March 29 & 30, 2017.  Maps for the Loveland event on March 29 can be obtained here.
As of June 30, 2018, 215 WIPP shipments from Idaho National Laboratory have been transported through Colorado.  In the July 30, 2018 Semi-Annual Notification letter from the US Dept of Energy/Carlsbad Field Office, they expect that Argonne National Laboratory, Illinois shipments will resume through Colorado sometime over the next year before July 2019.

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