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WIPP completes upgrades, prepares to increase nuclear waste shipments

Waste handlers take radiological readings as a crane lifts containers from a TRUPACT-II cask in the contact-handled waste bay at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant. The DOE facility has resumed accepting shipments and processing waste after a two-month annual maintenance outage.

Shipments and disposal of nuclear waste resumed at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant after a two-month pause in the repository’s primary operations to allow personnel to complete several maintenance projects in the underground and on the surface.

WIPP completed 97 total projects during the maintenance outage which ran from Feb. 15 to April 15, upgrading infrastructure throughout the facility.

The work involved mine operations, waste handling, hoisting, ground control, safety and engineering, and the break included a site-wide power outage to allow electrical work to be completed safely.

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An outage is held each year for major projects that can’t be performed alongside waste emplacement, and routine preventative maintenance is conducted regularly throughout the year.