WIPP reacts to underground fire

06 February 2014

No damage or injuries were reported after a fire and evacuation at the WIPP waste disposal facility in New Mexico.

WIPP underground dump trucks 250x166.jpg
A file photo of dump trucks hauling salt in WIPP

Owned by the Department of Energy (DoE), the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) disposes of transuranic waste packages from the US military in an underground salt formation. One of the trucks used to haul salt underground caught fire yesterday shortly after 11am, said the DoE.

The underground complex of tunnels, shafts and disposal rooms was evacuated in response to the fire and "multiple" employees taken to hospital for potential smoke inhalation, said the DoE. They were discharged within a few hours with no ill effects reported.

One of WIPP's mine rescue teams entered the complex several hours later and confirmed the air was clear and safe to breathe. The fire was found to be extinguished, and a second team doused the truck with foam to prevent potential re-ignition.

Researched and written
by World Nuclear News