WIPP-related geological issues
Lokesh N. Chaturvedi
The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) is a proposed repository for disposal of defense transuranic (TRU) radioactive waste. Located in southeastern New Mexico, 25 mi (40 km) east of Carlsbad, the repository has been excavated in the Salado Formation bedded salt at a depth of 2150 ft (655 m) below the surface. The concept of geologic isolation of radioactive waste, with the half-life of the radionuclides measured in tens of thousands of years, is to primarily rely on the geologic barriers to keep the radionuclides from leaking to the biosphere. Several geologic features and processes have been identified during the site characterization of the WIPP site that could impact the performance of the repository for the 10,000 year regulatory period. These include salt dissolution, breccia chimneys, brine reservoirs, Salado Formation hydrology, hydrology of the overlying Rustler Formation water-bearing units, disturbed rock behavior and natural resources. These geologic factors are being considered in the analysis of breach scenarios from the WIPP repository for the next 10,000- year period.
- Chaturvedi, Lokesh N., 1993, WIPP-related geological issues, in: Carlsbad Region, New Mexico and West Texas, Love, David W.; Hawley, John W.; Kues, Barry S.; Adams, Jim W.; Austin, George S.; Barker, James M., New Mexico Geological Society, Guidebook, 44th Field Conference, pp. 331-338.