Below are articles and other news published since the last West Valley Citizen Task Force Meeting. They relate to the West Valley Demonstration Project, nuclear waste cleanup or are otherwise relevant or of potential interest to stakeholders interested in the Project. After each Citizen Task Force Meeting, these articles are compiled into a single document and may be found with the meeting materials for that month.
ECA Update – GAO report: Over $310 billion to go ‐ highlighting major EM projects and operations
May 16, 2022 – On May 4, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an eye‐opening report quoting over $310 billion as the total cost of completing cleanup at the Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Environmental Management’s (EM) major sites. Of this total, $180.5 billion is expected for cleanup completion at the Hanford Site alone. The report reminds us of the challenges ahead and how much work still needs to be completed at the sites in the near term and long‐term.
The report only covers known cleanup issues and does not address or identify areas/sites that EM is still characterizing, nor does it address the unknown of waste disposal. There is currently no plan for a permanent repository at Yucca Mountain or for interim storage of Defense high‐level waste in EM’s estimates. Many of the largest sites cannot be cleaned up without a disposition pathway for high‐level waste, indicating that the total cleanup figure and the estimated time frames will likely be even higher. The report also highlights that the current completion schedule for all EM work will last until 2081 – nearly 60 years from now – assuming that the funding is available. Link to ECA Update
EMUpdate – West Valley Makes Progress Toward Reducing Cold War Footprint
May 24, 2022 – EM and its cleanup contractor at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) are working to close a former storage area for hazardous mixed waste, thereby reducing the site’s Cold War footprint and helping protect the environment.
A team of employees from CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV) and a subcontracted driller recently finished soil sampling at the former waste storage site. The sampling is required by a closure plan in accordance with the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, a public law that creates the framework for the proper management of hazardous and nonhazardous solid waste. Link to Update
Springville Journal – Ashford board discusses updates with COPS grant
May 19, 2022 – The Ashford Town Board, at its May 11 meeting, heard updates on the COPS hiring program, which was previously awarded to the town to help advance the practice of community policing through the hire or rehire of additional career law enforcement officers.
In other board news: …
– New York State Energy Research and Development Agency West Valley Program Director Paul Bembia reported NYSERDA’s Sustainability and Community Services Committee conducted a lunchtime community cleanup at all of their offices during the month of May. NYSERDA’s West Valley staff also walked an unpaved portion of Rock Springs Road on May 17 and 19 to pick up litter and other small trash.
– Bembia reported Cattaraugus County will be slip lining two culverts under Rock Springs Road, just north of the West Valley Demonstration Project. NYSERDA is supporting the efforts with whatever the county needs. One lane will be closed intermittently during some parts of the construction. Link to article
EM Update – West Valley Supports Outdoor Environmental Competition for High School Students
May 17, 2022 – The EMWest Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) cleanup contractor helped sponsor a recent outdoor competition that tests local high school students on their knowledge of the environment while challenging them to work together in teams.
An Allegany-Limestone Central School District team won the Cattaraugus County Envirothon after contending for the title with five other teams from five school districts. The victors advance to the New York State Envirothon, where they vie to become the state’s representatives at the North American Envirothon. Link to Update
Springville/Ellicottville Pennysaver & News – Seneca Nation begins annual Earth Day event at WVDP
May 14, 2022 – The Cattaraugus Creek Water Walkerz and Onondowaga’ Water Protectors, began this year’s Earth Day event at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP). This annual Earth Day event pays tribute to Mother Earth and brings attention to the importance of protecting the Cattaraugus Creek and Lake Erie watershed for future generations. The WVDP is an appropriate starting point due to its proximity to the Nation Territory and ongoing cleanup efforts to reduce environmental risks.
Walkers from the Seneca Nation, local community, and visitors gathered to participate in a sunrise ceremony to kick‐off the event.“
Water is life,” Maria Maybee, Seneca Nation tribal member and event coordinator, said.
“It is so important to us as a people, as well as every living thing on Mother Earth. Each step taken today is a prayer for healing of the waters as we come together as one to protect our environment. This event reminds us that we only have one environment; and therefore, it is up to all of us to do our part in protecting it for future generations.” Link to article