Emissions, Nuclear, O&M, Waste Management & Decommissioning

Report: WIPP radiation leak caused by “incompatible” contents

Report: WIPP radiation leak caused by “incompatible” contents

The U.S. Department of Energy said one drum was the source of a radiation leak inside the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in New Mexico.
 
The report by the Technical Assessment Team said the contents of Drum 68660 in Panel 7, Room 7, were chemically incompatible. The contents reacted internally, which led to a thermal runaway that generated heat and produced gases that built up enough pressure to break the seal and leak radiation. The release resulted in the movement of material and caused some damage to surrounding drums.
 
On Feb. 14, 2014, a radiation monitor went off in the underground waste storage area. No personnel were in the repository at the time of the release, but 21 employees were identified to have low-level amounts on internal contamination, and trace amounts of radioactive material were detected off site. A separate accident report in April 2014 said the unfiltered above ground release was preventable and outlined necessary steps to mitigate the issue.
 
To download the full report, click here
 
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