- General Public
Reserved for Energy
The DOE Scholars Program offers unique opportunities that introduce students to the mission and operations of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) Program. The WIPP Site is the Nation’s repository for defense related Transuranic Waste. It is deep geological salt mine 2150 ft. underground in the Salado formation underneath southeastern New Mexico and West Texas. The facility receives shipments of prepackaged waste from multiple generator sites across the U.S. and emplaces that waste into rooms which have been mined out of the salt formation at depth. The CBFO has a number of areas where research opportunities exist for participants. Areas include the following:
Maintenance of the mine requires support of the exposed mine surfaces, known in the mining industry as ground control. Participants would be conducting research into the methods and efficacy of current and proposed ground control methods. The WIPP mine is ventilated by a suite of forced air exhaust fans. Participants would be involved in mine ventilation airflow studies being conducted by DOE operating contractor and DOE to validate current airflow assumptions and potentially explore solutions for improved ventilation in the WIPP underground. The waste which is received at WIPP undergoes rigorous investigations to ensure the suitability of the waste to be safely handled, packaged, and disposed of in the WIPP repository by waste disposal workers. The program to ensure these conditions are met prior to packaging the waste is known as the National TRU Program (NTP). It is run out of the Carlsbad Field Office. The NTP monitors the programs and processes which characterize the waste for hazardous constituents and which ensure it will meet all of the WIPP Waste Acceptance Criteria. Participants would be conducting research into how waste streams are analyzed and approved for shipment to WIPP. The research would look into programs run at the generator sites but would all be conducted at the Carlsbad Field Office.
Finally, participants would team with federal staff in either the Office of Business, Environmental Protection, or the Office of Program Management where they will research the day to day conduct of business within a DOE Field Office. The appointees will be assigned a mentor and will conduct research and study tasks to gain understanding of the interactions and responsibilities of the assigned office and its relation to accomplishment of the mission at WIPP. Participation in all of these activities would be coordinated through the Carlsbad Field Office’s Office of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (OWIPP) with the participants reporting the results of their participation to their assigned mentors.