In the News

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.

West Valley’s 3D Model Becomes Indispensable Tool for Demolition Safety

EM Update, June 18, 2024 —

WEST VALLEY, N.Y. – The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) and its cleanup contractor at the West Valley Demonstration Project drew from innovation and teamwork to create a 3D model of the Main Plant Process Building currently undergoing demolition.

Created with the help of onsite engineers and a contracted company, the 3D model shows everything from walls and support beams to equipment and piping.

“The West Valley team used collaboration and inclusion to their advantage when developing this innovative tool,” EM West Valley Project Management Assistant Director Stephen Bousquet said. “This tool helps our team to be safer as they continue to deconstruct the Main Plant in a methodical and deliberate manner.”

Read the full article here.

CHBWV celebrates over 10 years of safe and compliant cleanup at the WVDP

Springville Journal, June 13, 2024 — CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley celebrated more than 10 years of safe and compliant cleanup activities at the West Valley Demonstration Project. Since August 2011, CHBWV, the Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor, has continued to accelerate cleanup, eliminate potential environmental hazards and reduce the footprint and life-cycle costs at the site.
Jason Casper, CHBWV President and General Manager stated, “The work performed since 2011 has changed the landscape of the site forever; and is an important accomplishment in the progress to decommission the site. This effort shows that robust engineering controls coupled with state-of-the-science monitoring can accomplish the safe removal of
nuclear facilities.”

Read the full article here.

Over 10 years of safe and compliant cleanup celebrated at the WVDP

Olean Times Herald, June 12, 2024 —

WEST VALLEY — CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV) is celebrating more than 10 years of safe and compliant cleanup activities at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP).

Since August 2011, the Department of Energy’s cleanup contractor has continued to accelerate cleanup, eliminate potential environmental hazards and reduce the footprint and life-cycle costs at the site.

“The work performed since 2011 has changed the landscape of the site forever and is an important accomplishment in the progress to decommission the site,” said Jason Casper, CHBWV President and General Manager.

“This effort shows that robust engineering controls coupled with state-of-the-science monitoring can accomplish the safe removal of nuclear facilities.”

Under their contract, CHBWV has completed a number of major accomplishments, including packaging and shipping the vitrification melter (160 tons) and two large vitrification components (180 tons and 150 tons) off-site for safe disposal.

Cres relocated 278 high-level waste canisters to an onsite storage pad — the first time in U.S. history — and vitrified high-level waste (HLW), a liquid waste converted into a glass substance, was placed into interim storage, outdoor passive storage.

CHBWV completed the disposition of more than 180,000 cubic feet of low-level legacy waste produced from past cleanup activities and demolished the 01-14 Cement Solidification Facility, the Vitrification Facility — the first Vitrification

Facility in the country to be successfully constructed, operated and demolished — and seven ancillary support structures surrounding the Main Plant Process Building, including the Manipulator Repair Shop, Contact Size-Reduction Facility, Laundry Facility, Utility Room Building, Utility Room Extension building, Load-In/Load-Out Building and Main Plant Office Building.

Crews deactivated the Main Plant Process Building, including the removal of seven miles of piping and over 50 tons of equipment, and removed 110 feet of the Main Plant Process Building’s ventilation stack, weighing more than 20,000 pounds.

CHBWV deployed a liquid nitrogen decontamination system (Nitrocision®) to effectively scabble highly contaminated concrete from the Product Purification Cell walls.

Crews demolished and restored the area of 46 balance of site facilities that were no longer needed for current or future cleanup activities, including the Administrative Office Building, Liquid Pretreatment System building and Chemical Process Cell-Waste Storage Area building.

CHBWV safely shipped 2,976 cubic feet of hazardous/universal waste; 281,224 cubic feet of industrial waste; 24,173 cubic feet of mixed low-level waste; and 2,971,846 cubic feet of low-level waste.

Crews completed infrastructure improvement to support future clean-up with the installation of a new potable water system, a new electric substation, a new natural gas line, a new guardhouse and restoration of the rail line servicing the site.

As CHBWV continues the deconstruction of the Main Plant Process Building, which started in September 2022; crews have passed the 50% completion mark while maintaining safety and compliance.

Beyond their work at the West Valley site, CHBWV employees and officials supported the community with annual outreach initiatives, including $90,000 in community service donations, $12,000 in other community donations, collecting 100,000 pounds of food for nine local pantries in the Thanksgiving food drive; $12,000 during the United Way campaign and 350 toys collected for Toys For Tots.

“These accomplishments demonstrate the importance of putting safety first, solid communication, teamwork and best practices,” said Kelly Wooley, CHBWV Deputy General Manager. “The CHBWV Team was deliberate in the planning and execution of this work, which resulted in the safe and compliant completion of challenging and high-risk cleanup activities. This is a proud moment for our team and the work they continue to do at the WVDP.”

Throughout all of this work, employee safety and the protection of the environment remain the top priority, officials said. Workers continue to use extensive measures to prevent the spread of radioactive contamination and safety professionals provide continuous monitoring and sampling during cleanup activities.

This work at the site has been accomplished while working among heavy construction equipment, in areas with radiological, industrial and hazardous materials and in changing weather conditions, CHBWV officials said.

CHBWV manages and operates the WVDP under contract to DOE. The CHBWV team is comprised of Jacobs, BWX Technologies (BWXT) and the Environmental Chemical Corporation (ECC).

West Valley Crews Maintain Momentum in Main Plant Demolition

EM Update, June 11, 2024 —

WEST VALLEY, N.Y. – U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) crews at the West Valley Demonstration Project have safely removed sections of contaminated ventilation duct as part of ongoing demolition of the Main Plant Process Building.

The 26-inch-diameter duct had carried exhaust from past operations. It was located in the plant’s Vent Wash Room, a cell housing a ventilation “scrubber” that removed airborne particulates resulting from fuel reprocessing operations that ceased in 1972. The 19 sections of the duct were removed from that space during deactivation activities in 2021 and placed in another area of the plant so they could be taken out during the current demolition phase.

After removing the duct sections from the Vent Wash Room in 2021, crews removed debris, applied fixative to the cell, grouted the floor and placed the duct sections into containment bags to control contamination for removal.

Read the full article here.

West Valley safely ships eight large legacy waste containers for disposal workers

Springville Journal, June 6, 2024 —

 Crews with the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management recently met a fiscal year goal at the West Valley Demonstration Project by shipping eight containers of legacy waste each weighing up to 94,000 pounds for offsite disposal.] 

The effort by EM and cleanup contractor CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley involved comprehensive planning, engineered safeguards, continuous communication, and teamwork. 

“The West Valley Demonstration Project team continues to use planning, teamwork and deliberate execution to complete challenging work safely,” said Stephen Bousquet, EM West Valley assistant director of Project Management. “By removing legacy wastes, we continue to position the site for future cleanup activities.” 

Workers used a large crane to pick up and lower each container into an engineered overpack, which serves as a secondary layer of protection. They loaded the overpack containers onto trailers and transported them by truck to a local rail transload facility. There, the shipment was securely loaded onto rail cars for transportation to an approved disposal facility in Texas. 

The legacy waste was removed from the former Fuel Receiving and Storage Facility. The building was used from 1965 to 1972 to receive and store spent nuclear fuel before it was reprocessed to recover reusable plutonium and uranium. 

“Our team members continue to use their combined knowledge to safely and deliberately complete high risk work activities,” CHBWV Waste and Site Operations Manager Peggy Loop said. “I’m proud of their efforts, accomplishments and work they continue to do on this project.” 

This latest achievement joins a list of fiscal year goals EM crews have completed at West Valley, including the removal of old locker rooms and the original guardhouse, installation of new walkways, construction of a new access roadway between the north and south parking lots, and collection of a sample in an underground tank that stored high-level liquid waste from spent fuel reprocessing operations. 

 

Upcoming meeting information

The next CTF meeting will be on Wednesday, September 25, 2024 from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Location: Ashford Office Complex, 9030 Route 219, West Valley
On-line webinar: Link to come

Agenda to come!

For more information

on the West Valley Citizen Task Force, please contact:

Nancy Raca, Facilitator
West Valley Citizen Task Force
c/o Highland Planning
nancy@highland-planning.com