Federal representatives reported that a joint investigation is underway to establish a plan to enter WIPP’s underground facilities. They gave no timeline for entry.
The location of the leak is “downwind” of panel 7, room 7. This hints the incident could have happened in panel 7 where current work to store waste is underway. DOE claims the earlier truck fire was in the north tunnels. The panel rooms that are the size of a football field each are in the south area of the mine. The numbers on the diagram below show where panel 7 is located. The air exhaust shaft is between the north and south mine areas.
DOE has insisted the HEPA filtration system will catch any releases, but admits here that the offsite contamination could have made it through their filtration system. HEPA filtration cleans at least 99.7% of all contaminants, so .03% would potentially leak out. This becomes a problem if there is a major event. DOE has also refused to give any readings of their on site detection equipment and will not let CEMRC on site to collect their on site filters for testing. We will have more information as it becomes available.
Statement on incident location from journalist @zackponce12 tweets from Carlsbad Current Argus
Additional events here
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