Environmental Protection

DOE Issues Final EIS for Decommissioning West Valley Project

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has issued the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Decommissioning and/or Long-Term Stewardship at the West Valley Demonstration Project and Western New York Nuclear Service Center, DOE/EIS-0226.

The EIS evaluated the decommissioning and long-term stewardship alternatives at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) and Western New York Nuclear Service Center in West Valley, N.Y. DOE worked in partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to develop a preferred alternative before issuing the final environmental impact statement.

The action alternatives examined in the EIS included:

  • Complete removal of all facilities and contaminated soil, allowing unrestricted land release;
  • Close-in-place of facilities that could provide for partial release of the land, with possible long-term license management agreement;
  • Phased Decision-making, allowing partial to unrestricted land release in two phases.

DOE has identified Phased Decision-making as the preferred alternative for the site. Under the Phased Decision-making Alternative, in Phase 1, DOE would decommission the Main Plant Process Building, Vitrification Facility, Remote Handled Waste Facility, and lagoon areas. No decommissioning actions would be taken on the underground high-level waste tanks and the NRC-licensed Disposal Area (NDA). NYSERDA would manage the State-licensed Disposal Area in place. If the Phased Decision-making Alternative is selected for implementation, DOE would manage the site’s remaining facilities in a safe manner, deferring the Phase 2 decision for no more than 10 years as the agencies continue to gather important information and data.

While the decommissioning activities are under way in Phase 1, which is expected to take 8 to 10 years, DOE and NYSERDA will undertake a number of studies to help determine the best technical approach to complete decommissioning of the remaining facilities and to facilitate consensus decision-making in that regard.

A Notice of Availability (NOA) of the Final EIS will be published in the Federal Register on Jan. 29. Within 30 days of the publication of the final EIS, DOE will publish a Record of Decision to announce the final course of action based on the EIS. Tthe Final EIS is available at www.westvalleyeis.com and www.gc.energy.gov/NEPA.

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