EPA Recertifies the DOE's Waste Isolation Pilot Plant
WASHINGTON (May 3, 2022) - Today, after a full technical review and evaluation of the complete application and public comments, EPA announced it will recertify the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), confirming that the facility, a repository for radioactive waste, continues to comply with the Agency's radioactive waste disposal regulations.
“The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant continues to be a cornerstone in the nation’s effort to responsibly dispose of radioactive waste,” said Jonathan Edwards, EPA Director of the Office of Radiation and Indoor Air. “We will continue our inspection programs at the WIPP and other Department of Energy waste generator sites to review and verify ongoing compliance.”
This is the fourth recertification of WIPP since EPA's initial certification decision in 1998. Congress requires EPA to recertify that the WIPP meets the Agency's disposal regulations every five years for the operational lifetime of the facility.
The WIPP is a deep geologic repository for the permanent disposal of transuranic radioactive waste, which consists of protective clothing, tools and equipment that are produced during nuclear fuel assembly and nuclear weapons research and production. The WIPP site is located outside of Carlsbad, N.M., where waste is entombed in a 2,000-foot thick layer of natural salt 2,150 feet below the surface.
The WIPP recertification decision was published in the Federal Register on May 3, 2022. Copies of the Compliance Application Review Documents supporting today's action and all other recertification-related documentation can be found in the electronic docket via Regulations.gov and on EPA's WIPP website.