SCHUMER ANNOUNCES $74 MILLION IN ECONOMIC RECOVERY ACT FUNDING COMING TO WEST VALLEY DEMONSTRATION PROJECT FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CLEAN UP - WILL REDUCE SITE CONTAMINATION, CREATE JOBS
Economic Recovery Act Will Provide a Total of $6 Billion Under Dept of Energy to Accelerate Disposal of Waste and Cleanup of Soil and GroundwaterFunding For West Valley Will Go Toward Construction of New Waste Storage System, Reduction of Site Contamination and Demolition of Former FacilitySchumer: Proper Containment and Disposal of Nuclear Waste at West Valley is Essential
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer today announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) has awarded $74 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding to the West Valley Demonstration for waste disposal and site clean up. The $74 million funding is part of a total of $6 billion announced by the Energy Secretary Steven Chu today to accelerate environmental cleanup work and create thousands of jobs across 12 states. Funding for West Valley will construct a storage system for highlevel waste canisters, demolish the former treatment facility and accelerate radioactive waste treatment and disposal activities to shrink the area of site contamination.
"It is critical that we effectively contain and dispose of the nuclear waste at West Valley," said Schumer. "These funds will construct a new storage system that will help contain the contaminated waste to ensure the safety of residents in the area. The clean up will also create jobs and provide an economic boost to the Western New York economy."
West Valley is the site of the first and, to date, only commercial reprocessing plant in the United States. After beginning operations in 1966 with a theoretical capacity to reprocess 300 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel per year, the facility processed a total of 640 tons of waste in six years before shutting down in 1972.
The West Valley Demonstration Project Act, signed into law on October 1, 1980, required that the Department of Energy be responsible for solidifying the highlevel waste, disposing of waste created by the solidification, and decommissioning the facilities used in the process.
Today, to help fund waste clean up at the West Valley site, Senator Schumer announced that the West Valley Demonstration Project will receive $74 million for the DOE to design and construct a storage system for highlevel waste canisters and move highlevel waste canisters from the former waste treatment facility to the new system, allowing the former treatment facility to be decontaminated and demolished earlier than planned. Funding will also be used to demolish former process buildings and install a system to prevent migration of groundwater contamination and accelerate radioactive waste treatment and disposal activities to shrink the area of site contamination.
The funding is part of a total of $6 billion in new funding under ARRA to accelerate environmental cleanup work and create thousands of jobs across 12 states. These projects and the new funding are managed by the Department of Energy's Office of Environmental Management, which is responsible for the risk reduction and cleanup of the environmental legacy from the nation's nuclear weapons program, one of the largest, most diverse and technically complex environmental programs in the world.
The Energy Secretary and The West Valley Demonstration Project are responsible for the following tasks in association with waste treatment and disposal at West Valley:
- Solidifying, in a form suitable for transportation and disposal, the high level radioactive waste at the Center by vitrification or by such other technology which the Secretary determines to be the most effective for solidification
- Developing containers suitable for the permanent disposal of the high level radioactive waste solidified at the Center
- Transporting, in accordance with applicable provisions of law, the waste solidified at the Center to an appropriate Federal repository for permanent disposal in accordance with applicable licensing requirements, dispose of low level radioactive waste and transuranic waste produced by the solidification of the high level radioactive waste under the project
- Decontaminating and decommissioning the tanks and other facilities of the center in which the high level radioactive waste solidified under the Project was stored