Please join us, in person or online, for a conversation with Dr. Robert Hayes, Nuclear Engineering Professor at North Carolina State University, on “Emergency Response, Consequence Assessment, and Recovery of the WIPP Event,” on Thursday, January 25, 2018, at 12:00 p.m. ET,  at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, VA,  and online at RSVP requested at

Abstract: The events that led up to the temporary shutdown of the WIPP facility in February 2014 were tragic and preventable. The results from that sequence of events along with the subsequent release to the environment, the initial emergency responses and follow on recovery efforts have now led to the facility reopening earlier this year. The timeline, lessons learned and retrospective considerations are provided from an individual who was present and in fact the first person brought on site after the radiological lockdown to support the resultant emergency response phase of the event. The lecture will presented from first hand observations and attendees should find the subject insightful and highly informative from what was effectively a dirty bomb release initiated inside a category 2 nuclear facility.

​About the speaker: Dr. Robert Hayes is  is an Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering at North Carolina State University. He is also a licensed professional engineer in Nuclear Engineering and a Certified Health Physicist. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and has a Joint Faculty Appointment with Oak Ridge National Laboratory through the Consortium for Nonproliferation Enabling Capabilities. He served for many years in the federal radiological monitoring and assessment center as an assessment scientist and as a team scientist for the radiological assistance program. He conducted the consequence assessment for the WIPP event of 2014 and was part of the emergency response and recovery effort which followed.

About this seminar: This lecture continues a unique speaker series, SIREN (Seminar on Interdisciplinary Research and Education in Nuclear Emergency Response), which features leading international experts on nuclear emergency response. The series is part of an NSF CAREER Award (PI Sonja Schmid) and is hosted by Virginia Tech’s Department of Science, Technology, and Society, with generous support from the Office of the Vice President for the National Capital Region. The talks take place once a month at the Virginia Tech Research Center in Arlington, VA (metro Ballston). Light refreshments will be served. Graduate students are encouraged to arrive at 11:30am to chat with the speaker.

The events are free and open to the public, but seating is limited and RSVP is requested. A live webcast will be available at​

If you are an individual with a disability and desire an accommodation, please contact Sonja Schmid at 703-538-8482 or email during regular business hours at least 10 business days prior to the event.