Los Alamos Waste Denied Shipment to WIPP

According to reports, nine containers of transuranic waste are currently stuck at the Los Alamos National Laboratory's (LANL) Plutonium facility after the Carlsbad Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) refused to take them in July. 

The containers are said to hold waste items such as gloves, tools and other items that have come into contact with radiological materials, were due to to be shipped to WIPP during the week of July 26. N3B, the Department of Energy's contractor that operates WIPP, inspected the containers at LANL prior to shipping and determined that they contained materials that could combust. N3B Spokesman Todd Nelson said that there was never a chance the containers would have made it to WIPP in the condition they were in. “N3B evaluates all containers prior to shipment, and if necessary, remediates them to meet the WIPP waste acceptance criteria,” Nelson said.

Seven of the containers are owned by N3B, two of them are owned by Triad National Security, the lab’s management and operations contractor.“During a routine evaluation of drums at LANL’s Technical Area 54 prior to shipment, radiography identified what appears to be vermiculite or other granular material in the containers that historically could have been used to absorb liquids, including potentially oxidizing chemicals. This is a prohibited combination for WIPP certification,” Nelson said.

At this time the containers remain stored in Technical Area 54 Area G, the Plutonium Facility, at LANL pending their routine remediation and eventual WIPP certification.


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