|From:||Lenny Siegel <email@example.com>|
|Date:||Fri, 9 May 2008 11:16:06 -0700 (PDT)|
|Subject:||[CPEO-MEF] RADIATION: Western New York Nuclear Service Center (NY)|
News Release New York State Department of Environmental Conservation May 7, 2008Report Finds Scant Progress 21 Years After Feds Signed West Valley Clean-Up Pact
ALBANY, NY (05/07/2008; 1030)(readMedia)-- In May 1987, the U.S. Department of Energy signed an agreement to begin the process of cleaning up radioactive waste at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center ("West Valley") in Cattaraugus and Erie counties. Exactly 21 years later, it has yet to reach the first regulatory milepost (the completion of a final environmental impact statement), according to a new report issued today by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
The report finds there is a pressing need to accelerate the long-running clean-up effort - the facility has been closed since 1975. To date, only one major aspect of the remediation mandate has been met. The report points out that the current federal funding provision necessary to accomplish this is woefully inadequate, covering just over half the price tag for making real improvements at the site.
The report is available at: http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/43501.htmlThe report notes that a number of contamination issues remain outstanding and makes several recommendations, such as hastening the design and planning aspects so that work can begin as soon as possible. Other recommendations include decontaminating the "main process" building on site, shipping off site as much waste as allowable, emptying and drying underground waste tanks, and containing an underground plume of radioactive material with new technology. The underground plume now stretches approximately one-third of a mile and continues to slowly expand.
The lone major piece of the clean up that has been achieved is the"vitrification" of liquid high level radioactive waste (solidifying the waste into glass-like logs). But even this is a qualified success. Because no off-site disposal option had been found for the logs, they remain on site - preventing final decontamination of the main process building.
With a minimum commitment of $95 million per year for a decade, significant cleanup progress would be achievable, the report found. That's a pittance compared to the federal budget's $2 billion allocation for the nuclear waste site in Hannaford, Wash., and $1.4 billion for the Savannah River (S.C.) site. Yet the 2008 federal budget allocates just $57.6 million for West Valley.
West Valley is a 3,345-acre site located about 30 miles south of Buffalo and 20 miles upstream from the Cattaraugus Reservation of the Seneca Nation. The site was formerly run by a private company called Nuclear Fuel Services Inc. An estimated 9,200 people live within six miles of the site in what is a largely agricultural area.
Approximately 200 acres of the site contain the remains of nuclear fuel reprocessing operations, which began in the 1960s. The 1987 agreement was signed by the federal government, the Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes and the Radioactive Waste Campaign. Among other requirements, it mandated completion of a final environmental impact statement to help steer the clean-up. That step has yet to be reached.
-30- -- Lenny Siegel Executive Director, Center for Public Environmental Oversight a project of the Pacific Studies Center 278-A Hope St., Mountain View, CA 94041 Voice: 650/961-8918 or 650/969-1545 Fax: 650/961-8918 <firstname.lastname@example.org> http://www.cpeo.org _______________________________________________ Military mailing list Military@lists.cpeo.org http://lists.cpeo.org/listinfo.cgi/military-cpeo.org
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