We have been informed that WIPP plans to restart its 700-C exhaust fan at the underground waste repository for the first time since 2014. Portions of the underground will now be ventilated directly to the atmosphere, as originally designed. WIPP has conducted a very thorough investigation to make sure any radiological release caused by operating the fan will not pose any threat to the workforce, public or environment.
This restart increases airflow for mining and ground control activities taking place at the underground repository and allows WIPP to meet new air quality standards. This restart is scheduled for 2021 – WIPP first plans to run a four-hour test to check on the emissions and then a five-day trial run. WIPP’s labor union, which consists of many of the people who work in the WIPP underground, has submitted a letter in support of this restart. An organization serving as a technical advisor to the Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management has reviewed WIPP’s strategy and believes it to be a good one. The Carlsbad Mayor’s Nuclear Task Force also supports restarting the exhaust fan as being in the best interests of WIPP’s workforce.
If you have any more questions about this restart, please visit the WIPP home page at https://wipp.energy.gov/700c-restart.asp. WIPP will also be holding a virtual town hall meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday. Register for the meeting by clicking on the link on WIPP’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/WIPPNews
Many of you may have heard about a “Vaccine Summit” which took place on Dec. 8 through the White House. The summit is detailing some of the distribution plans for Pfizer and Moderna’s proposed COVID-19 vaccines, which may be authorized for use by next week. Vaccines may be made accessible for at risk residents within the next few weeks, though it may take several months before they are more broadly available. We are communicating with both the state and federal government about how we can assist with the logistics of providing vaccinations, if requested. We realize that there are many people who are not comfortable with the COVID-19 vaccines at this time. Our plan as the City will be to provide information and logistical support as requested and allow you to make your own decision.
My wife, Cheryle, and I plan to take the vaccine when it becomes available to us. The FDA’s analysis of Pfizer’s vaccine, for example, stated that any serious side effects were extremely rare. The vaccine was 95% effective against COVID after two doses and 82% effective after one dose, according to the FDA. This immunization process will help us get our kids back in school where they need to be.
Carlsbad Mayor Dale Janway