WIPP confirms rock fall, work resumes via Current-Argus

CARLSBAD — WIPP officials have confirmed that a rock fall occurred in the underground on Thursday.

Workers were evacuated after a loud noise was heard and salt dust was observed in the air on Thursday afternoon.

A team of geotechnical and radiological control personnel, a representative from the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the mine rescue team reentered the underground on Friday morning.

They discovered a “significant” portion of the ceiling in Room 4 of Panel 7 had fallen, a news release said.


Panel 7 remains contaminated due to a radiological release created when a drum containing waste ruptured in February 2014.

Runyon said the reentry team did not discover any change in radiation levels as a result of the rock fall.

The Department of Energy and Nuclear Waste Partnership will work with the Mine Safety and Health Administration to develop a ground control plan for Panel 7, according to the news release.

Entry to a section of Room 5 of Panel 7, the location of a controlled collapse last month, and Room 6 of Panel 7 are also currently prohibited due to geotechnical stability issues.

Employees returned to work in the underground on Saturday, Runyon said.

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