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June 20, 2018

Underground ventilation system unveiled at WIPP

US Department of Energy officials and community leaders have unveiled a new underground ventilation system for the government’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

By JP Casey

US Department of Energy officials and community leaders have unveiled a new underground ventilation system for the government’s Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico.

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As ore mines ramp up and come on stream, the total number of active surface machines (including trucks, excavators, shovels, loaders, graders and dozers) is forecast to rise from 141,470 in 2020 to 167,367 by 2025. This will be a CAGR of 3.4% from 2020 to 2025. The largest contributor to this growth is expected to be trucks, particularly smaller-sized trucks with shorter lifespans, used extensively in parts of Asia Pacific. Underground mining equipment is similarly expected to see a CAGR of 2.3% in this same time frame, with the number of mining trucks and loaders/LHDs in active underground mines expected to rise to 19,853 by 2025. GlobalData’s extensive mine-site research and equipment models have been used to build a complete view of mobile mining equipment populations globally for trucks, loaders, graders, dozers, excavators and shovels. This report includes informative breakdowns by each major region and key mining country, and also by major commodity. Read GlobalData’s Global Surface and Underground Mining Equipment: Populations & Forecast to 2025 for a complete view of the market, allowing you to best position yourself for the future.
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The WIPP is the US’s only deep geologic waste repository and permanently isolates transuranic waste, often produced by nuclear reactions, 2,150ft underground. The new Safety Significant Confinement Ventilation System (SSCVS) will enable more shipments of waste to be deposited underground by allowing mining, waste emplacement, rock bolting and maintenance to take place simultaneously.

Assistant Secretary for the Office of Environmental Energy Anne White said: “The new system provides WIPP state-of-the-art air handling capabilities, which will be a significant improvement to WIPP in support of its critical role in our national mission.”

The SSCVS provides around 540,000 cubic feet of air per minute to underground areas of the WIPP, and is designed so that filters can be easily replaced in case of damage. Maintenance teams have also been encouraged to take a preventative, rather than reactive, approach to works by replacing and repairing parts ahead of complete breakdowns. The system is expected to be completed by early 2021, and cost $288m.

Bruce Covert, the president of Nuclear Waste Partnership, the contractor that manages and operates the WIPP, said: “This is a significant improvement for WIPP in support of its important national mission.

“I am appreciative of the unwavering support from our local, state, and federal elected officials and stakeholders who ensure we have the proper funding to make infrastructure improvements, like the new ventilation system.”

The WIPP was constructed in the 1980s following the build-up of transuranic waste produced by the American nuclear defence programme which began in the 1940s. The first waste shipment arrived from the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico in 1999, and the WIPP has treated transuranic waste since.

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Dig deeper with our mining equipment forecasts

As ore mines ramp up and come on stream, the total number of active surface machines (including trucks, excavators, shovels, loaders, graders and dozers) is forecast to rise from 141,470 in 2020 to 167,367 by 2025. This will be a CAGR of 3.4% from 2020 to 2025. The largest contributor to this growth is expected to be trucks, particularly smaller-sized trucks with shorter lifespans, used extensively in parts of Asia Pacific. Underground mining equipment is similarly expected to see a CAGR of 2.3% in this same time frame, with the number of mining trucks and loaders/LHDs in active underground mines expected to rise to 19,853 by 2025. GlobalData’s extensive mine-site research and equipment models have been used to build a complete view of mobile mining equipment populations globally for trucks, loaders, graders, dozers, excavators and shovels. This report includes informative breakdowns by each major region and key mining country, and also by major commodity. Read GlobalData’s Global Surface and Underground Mining Equipment: Populations & Forecast to 2025 for a complete view of the market, allowing you to best position yourself for the future.
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