The US Department of Energy has issued a plan to deal with the only working commercial reprocessing and waste treatment centre in the USA.

The West Valley Demonstration Project, New York

Credit: Copyright 2006 James Cavanaugh

The West Valley Demonstration Project, New York

The DOE has issued a Record of Decision for the West Valley Demonstration Project and Western New York Nuclear Service Center in West Valley, N.Y. that will implement a phased decision making process to continue the decommissioning and cleanup efforts at the site.

DOE worked in partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to review the environmental impacts of the cleanup alternatives before reaching this decision.

“The completion of the site’s environmental impact statement will put the West Valley Demonstration Project on a path to closure,” said Bryan Bower, DOE Federal Project Director.

The Record of Decision for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Decomissioning and/or Long-Term Stewardship at the West Valley Demonstration Project and Western New York Nuclear Service Center, DOE-EIS-0226, examined three alternatives for moving forward (EIS-Sitewide Removal, Sitewide Close-In-Place, the No Action Alternative), and chose a two-phased decision making process.

Under Phase 1, DOE will remove the Main Plant Process Building, the Vitrification Facility, the Remote Handled Waste Facility, the lagoon areas, a number of unneeded facilities, and the contaminated soils under and around these facilities, including the source of the contaminated groundwater plume.

Decisions on Phase 2 decommissioning will be made within the next 10 years. This includes decommissioning on the underground high-level waste tanks and the NRC-licensed Disposal Area (NDA), and expects to select either removal or in-place closure, or a combination, for its decommissioning plans. NYSERDA will manage the State- licensed Disposal Area in place. DOE will continue to safely manage the site’s few remaining facilities while conducting Phase 1 cleanup efforts and undertaking a number of studies to evaluate the final decommissioning and long-term management plans for the underground tanks and the disposal areas.

DOE will continue to seek public input and participation as it undertakes a National Environmental Policy Act review and decision making process for Phase 2 of the cleanup.

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