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WIPP Site Incident Independent Review

Romero, V. et al. WIPP Site Incident Independent Review Team Final Report. December 2017.

Final report available here.

Current Status

Summer/Fall 2017: Two members of the WSIIR team continue to respond to requests from the media regarding details of our review of the 2014 incident.

Spring 2017: The WSIIR team has received a no-cost extension for two members continue to respond to requests from the New Mexico Congressional delegation regarding details of our review of the 2014 incident.

Fall 2016: The WSIIR team drafted a report summarizing our analysis of the events that contributed to the February 14, 2014 breaching of drum #68660 at WIPP. This report is available here: WSIIRFINALReport2016.pdf

July 2016: The WSIIR team met with LANL to learn about LANL's drum testing results and plans for remediating existing drums. LANL shared several documents which we have made available on theReports page of this website.

February 2016: The WSIIR team attended a Town Hall meeting in Carlsbad on Wednesday, February 17th and delivered a presentation about our team's scope and work. The presentation slides are available here in PDF format: WSIIRTownHallFINAL.pdf

Our team's interim report, detailing progress through September 30th, 2015 is available here: 

WSIIR Interim Report

In this report we overview the LANL group's investigation and key findings (through September 2015) and provide our overall conclusions regarding the Technical Assessment Team's (TAT) approach. 

The WIPP Site Incident Independent Review (WSIIR) team met with the Los Alamos National Laboratories (LANL) WIPP incident investigation group  in Santa Fe on October 2, 2015.  The purpose of the meeting was for LANL to present details for their approach to remediating the 60 remaining drums at LANL containing the Swheat (organic kitty litter) mixture.

Prior Progress: Our team met with the LANL WIPP Investigation Group on 07/29/15 to hear an in-depth presentation of their investigation and findings. LANL’s 04/02/15 report, upon which their presentation content was based, is available here: LANL_Assessment_of_WIPP_incident.pdf

Our team’s summary of our July 29th, 2015 meeting with the LANL group and interpretation of LANL’s findings are presented in a document available here: LANL729meetingSummary.docx

We met with the Technical  Assessment Team (TAT) on August 5th to discuss their responses to the questions our team had regarding their report released in March 2015. Our questions are available here: Questions for TAT. The TAT's written responses to our questions are available here: TAT Responses to WSIIR Questions

About the WIPPSite Incident Independent Review (WSIIR) Team

We are an independent review team from New Mexico Tech who will be examining the circumstances that led to the breach of a waste containment barrel at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) on February 14, 2014. Our focus will be on examining and defining the exact magnitude of the reaction. As part of our mission to conduct a completely transparent review, all of our work will be documented and available to the public.

In addition to our review of the events leading up to the closure of WIPP and the changes needed to resume operations, this study will conduct open-to-the-public meetings in the Carlsbad area. These meetings will be used to collect and understand public concerns regarding WIPP operations. The information gained from these meetings will aid our team in developing recommendations for future operations. The expected result of this work will be a more resilient, safe, and robust program that will restore credibility with and support of the community and state that was previously enjoyed.

Contact us at wsiir@npe.nmt.edu.