The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), through its contractor CH2M Hill BWXT West Valley, LLC, is moving forward with the decontamination and decommissioning of the West Valley Demonstration Project site pursuant to the West Valley Demonstration Project Act. The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) is monitoring and maintaining the State Licensed Disposal Area (SDA) and retained premises of the West Valley Nuclear Service Center. DOE with NYSERDA as a joint lead agency, released a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Decommissioning and/or Long- Term Stewardship (DEIS) for comment in late November 2008. In April 2010 the Department of Energy (DOE) released the Record of Decision for Decommissioning and Long-Term Stewardship at the West Valley Demonstration Project and Western New York Nuclear Service Center. In May 2010 the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) as joint-lead agency released the State Environmental Quality Review Finding Statement. The Decommissioning Plan was filed with and reviewed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. (The underlyng documents may be found in the NEPA related documents on the Key Documents webpage.)
In the Record of Decision and New York Finding Statement DOE and NYSERDA adopted a phased approach. In Phase 1 some areas will be decommissioned over a period of 8-10 years. Simultaneously characterization and studies will be conducted to determine the best technical approach to decommissioning the remaining facilities. (For the Phase 1 Studies information see the Phase 1 Studies website for up-to-date information and opportunities for public participation.)
During Phase 1 the Main Plant Process Building, Low-Level Waste Treatment Facility, Radwaste System Drum Cell, and several other facilities will be removed. Some surface soils may be removed. These decommissioning activities are to be done in a way that will not impact future decisions for Phase 2. Phase 1 does not include removal of the non-source area of the North Plateau Groundwater Plume, underground waste storage tanks, the NRC-licensed Disposal Area or the State-licensed Disposal Area.
The agencies are now engaged in Phase 1 Decommissioning. In 2016 the High-Level Waste Canisters of vitrified waste which had been stored in the Main Plant Process Building (MPPB) were moved to the Interim Storage Pad. The canisters were placed in Vertical Storage Casks for the move. The MPPB is being prepared for demolition and other wastes are being shipped offsite for disposal as funds are available. Additional work for cleanup, monitoring and maintenance continues under supervision of DOE and NYSERDA.
Through the Phase 1 Studies Process independent expert work groups on erosion, exhumation and engineered barriers are conducting studies to inform the Phase 2 decision. Several work group reports have been released. Information on that process can be found on the Phase 1 Studies website