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.

ASHFORD BOARD HEARS ECA GRANT PUBLIC OUTREACH PRESENTATION 

ECA Update, June 6, 2024 —  

WEST VALLEY – The Ashford Town Board, at its May 8 meeting, heard an outreach presentation from Ray Vaughn of the West Valley Citizen Task Force outlining progress and information on the nuclear waste cleanup at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center. In 2023, the town of Ashford was awarded $50,000 through the Energy Communities Alliance Local Government Education and Outreach Funding grant. The funding would retain qualified experts who can analyze and explain the plans, proposals, models, assumptions, data and alternatives involved in the Probabilistic Performance Assessment that is being developed by the DOE as part of the Supplemental EIS for the West Valley Demonstration Project. This effort will be led by the West Valley Citizens Task Force with frequent reporting to the ECA and Town of Ashford. Vaughn presented the draft of the outreach portion of the grant to the board. Looking at the history and progress of the decommissioning, Vaughn said they are currently at the end of phase one, where some buildings will remain, along with disposal areas and the vault drying system. 

Read the full article here.

WVDP clears one large component after another from Main Plant 

Salamanca Press, June 4, 2024 —

 WEST VALLEY — Another massive component has been safely removed and packaged for disposal from the Main Plant Process Building as part of the facility’s ongoing demolition at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP). 

The vent washer weighed approximately 15,000 pounds and was approximately 7 feet wide, 20 feet long and more than 7 feet high. Its removal comes after crews successfully cleared the “Green Giant” from the facility. 

Painted green decades ago, the “Green Giant” was a system that held samples from various vessels used in former spent fuel reprocessing operations at West Valley. It weighed 1,100 pounds, with 75,000 pounds of steel and lead shield plates on the outside of it. 

“The West Valley Demonstration Project team continues to make great progress in the demolition of the Main Plant as part of our cleanup efforts,” said Stephen Bousquet, assistant director of Project Management for CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV), the prime contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy. 

The vent washer filtered airborne particulates from ventilated air before they passed through HEPA filters and were exhausted through the Main Stack during spent fuel reprocessing operations. The airborne particles originated from the sawing and shearing of fuel rods and the ventilation flow from other cells and reprocessing equipment, including ventilation hoods in the Main Plant. 

Read the full article here.

Futuristic nuclear energy tech is here, but the risks of bombs and another Chernobyl remain 

Salon, June 2, 2024 —

Microreactors promise climate resilience and military-tech might — but proliferation and pollution concerns linger 

Rae Hodge, Staff Reporter 

James Walker thinks it’s time to change the story we tell ourselves about nuclear energy in the United States. 

“It’s got the worst public relations history of any form of energy really,” Walker tells me in a video call from his office. “If you take all methods of generating energy — whether it’s wind, solar, gas, coal, everything — and if you want to look at deaths per gigawatt hour, nuclear beats out everything. It is the safest form of energy already. So that’s a good way to start.” 

Walker is the CEO and head of reactor development at NANO Nuclear Energy. And he may have gotten his wish on Wednesday when President Joe Biden rolled out his administration’s multi-billion-dollar funding plan for U.S. nuclear energy projects, all aimed at meeting the country’s 2035 goal of a carbon-free power sector. The plan includes large plant development, like Georgia’s $36.8 billion Plant Vogtle expansion, as well as a fleet of cutting edge small-nuclear tech. 

NANO makes small modular reactors (SMRs) and microreactors. Basically, these are advanced nuclear power plants that can produce an astonishing 7.2 million kilowatt hours per day depending on the model, but can still fit inside the trailer of an 18-wheeler. While most microreactors can output up to 20 megawatts in order to reach that number, NANO’s models emphasize the micro — with output capped at about 5 megawatts of thermal energy for conversion to electric. 

Read the full article here.

Ashford Board hears ECA Grant Public Outreach presentation 

Springfield Journal, May 30, 2024

WEST VALLEY – The Ashford Town Board, at its May 8 meeting, heard an outreach presentation from Ray Vaughn of the West Valley Citizen Task Force outlining progress and information on the nuclear waste cleanup at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center. 

In 2023, the town of Ashford was awarded $50,000 through the Energy Communities Alliance Local Government Education and Outreach Funding grant. The funding would retain qualified experts who can analyze and explain the plans, proposals, models, assumptions, data and alternatives involved in the Probabilistic Performance Assessment that is being developed by the DOE as part of the Supplemental EIS for the West Valley Demonstration Project. This effort will be led by the West Valley Citizens Task Force with frequent reporting to the ECA and Town of Ashford. 

Vaughn presented the draft of the outreach portion of the grant to the board. Looking at the history and progress of the decommissioning, Vaughn said they are currently at the end of phase one, where some buildings will remain, along with disposal areas and the vault drying system.

Read the full article here.

West Valley Clears One Large Component After Another From Main Plant 

EM Update, May 28, 2024 —

 U.S. Department of Energy Office of Environmental Management (EM) (https://www.energy.gov/em/office-environmental-management) crews safely removed and packaged for disposal another massive component from the Main Plant Process Building recently as part of the facility’s ongoing demolition at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) (https://www.energy.gov/em/west-valley-demonstration-project-wvdp). 

The vent washer weighed approximately 15,000 pounds and was approximately 7 feet wide, 20 feet long and more than 7 feet high. Its removal comes after EM crews successfully cleared the “Green Giant” (https://www.energy.gov/em/articles/west-valley-workers-pull-green-giant-main-plant) from the facility. Painted green decades ago, it was a system that held samples from various vessels used in former spent fuel reprocessing operations at West Valley. It weighed 1,100 pounds, with 75,000 pounds of steel and lead shield plates on the outside of it. 

“The West Valley Demonstration Project team continues to make great progress in the demolition of the Main Plant as part of our cleanup efforts,” Stephen Bousquet, EM West Valley assistant director of Project Management, said of the vent washer removal. 

Read the full article here.

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