Waste Isolation Pilot Plant - Radiation Control Program

Brief History of WIPP

The Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, or WIPP, is the world's first underground repository licensed to safely and permanently dispose of transuranic radioactive waste left from the research and production of nuclear weapons. After more than 20 years of scientific study, public input, and regulatory struggles, WIPP began operations on March 26, 1999.

Located in the remote Chihuahuan Desert of Southeastern New Mexico, project facilities include disposal rooms mined 2,150 feet underground in a 2,000-foot thick salt formation that has been stable for more than 200 million years. Transuranic waste is currently stored at sites nationwide.

Emergency Response Training

As part of the State of Texas Emergency Management plans, the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has adopted and offers the Department of Energy's Modular Emergency Radiological Response Transportation Training (MERRTT) course for Emergency Responders. MERRTT modules range from an overview of radioactive material and response issues to the more complex topics of radiological instrumentation and offensive actions used in radioactive material incidents. MERRTT will provide Emergency Responders with the fundamental knowledge and skills required to respond with confidence to incidents involving radioactive materials. The typical course length is eight hours.

In addition, an eight-hour Medical Management course is also available through DSHS. This course is intended for hospital emergency room doctors and nurses who may be required to treat a patient potentially contaminated with transuranic material from a WIPP transportation accident. Field experts introduce students to the concepts of radiation exposure, external and internal contamination by radioactive materials, and radionuclide incorporation. Upon completion, students will be able to properly select and prepare an appropriate treatment/decontamination area with the hospital and perform the necessary decontamination of a patient. 

WIPP -- Waste Isolation Pilot Plant, DOE Carlsbad Field Office -- Facility Operations

EPA WIPP Program Page -- Federal Regulatory Agency for radioactive waste disposal at WIPP

External links to other sites are intended to be informational and do not have the endorsement of the Texas Department of State Health Services. These sites may also not be accessible to people with disabilities.

Contact Information

Forrest Weston
Email: Forrest Weston 
Phone: 512-751-4584

Raven Alexander
Email: Raven Alexander
Phone: 512-902-9960