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For Immediate Release: September 28, 2011
The Department of Energy Announces Major Cold War Legacy Waste Cleanup Milestone
Waste Isolation Pilot Plant Receives 10,000th Shipment
CARLSBAD, NM - The U.S. Department of Energy today
announced that the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)
received its 10,000th shipment of transuranic (TRU) waste
over the weekend. This marks an important milestone in DOE�s
mission to clean up the country�s Cold War legacy.
"This accomplishment reflects the hard work and
dedication of our workers and contractors," said Energy
Secretary Steven Chu. "It also demonstrates the Department�s
commitment to future generations as we continue our cleanup
mission as safely and quickly as possible."
The 10,000th shipment, which consisted of
defense-generated contact-handled TRU waste, arrived at WIPP
on Sept. 24, 2011. The shipment came from DOE�s Advanced
Mixed Waste Treatment Project in Idaho, which has accounted
for nearly half of the shipments WIPP has received.
WIPP�s first shipment came from Los Alamos National
Laboratory in New Mexico on March 26, 1999. Other milestone
shipments have included the final shipment from the Rocky
Flats Environmental Technology Site in 2005 and the first
shipment of remote-handled waste in 2007. By the end of
calendar year 2011, legacy TRU waste at two-thirds of the
original waste sites will be dispositioned at WIPP.
"Since WIPP opened in 1999, the facility has been
committed to safely and compliantly reducing the defense
legacy TRU waste footprint," said Dave Huizenga, DOE�s
Acting Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management.
"WIPP has been a tremendous success, and I congratulate
everyone involved on a job well done."
Since its opening, WIPP has received and disposed of more
than 77,000 cubic meters of defense-related TRU waste that
safely traveled more than 12 million total miles from
locations across the country. As of August 2011, the
Department has achieved a total Cold War legacy cleanup
footprint reduction of 55 percent, of 515 of 931 squares
miles. Investments made through the American Recovery and
Reinvestment Act allowed the Department to accelerate
cleanup efforts. These investments in the TRU waste program
have reduced lifecycle costs by $1.2 billion.
WIPP is a DOE facility designed to safely isolate
defense-related TRU waste from people and the environment.
Waste temporarily stored at sites around the country is
shipped to WIPP and permanently disposed in rooms mined out
of an ancient salt formation 2,150 feet below the surface.
WIPP is located 26 miles outside of Carlsbad, New Mexico.
Editorial Date September 28, 2011
By Brad Bugger