The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced the issuance of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the West Valley Demonstration Project in western New York, naming Phased Decisionmaking as the Preferred Alternative. Issuance of this Draft EIS is a significant step forward in cleaning up the site.
The document, entitled Revised Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Decommissioning and/or Long-Term Stewardship at the West Valley Demonstration Project and Western New York Nuclear Service Center(DOE/EIS-0226-D (Revised)), is a revision of the 1996 Cleanup and Closure Draft EIS.
The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 requires federal agencies to integrate environmental values into their decision-making process by considering the environmental impacts of their proposed actions and reasonable alternatives for implementing those actions.
DOE and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) are joint lead agencies on this draft EIS. This Draft EIS identifies and assesses the potential environmental impacts of the range of reasonable alternatives proposed to meet DOE`s responsibilities under the West Valley Demonstration Project Act and NYSERDA`s options for management of the Western New York Nuclear Service Center (WNYNSC). It includes how facilities, materials, and hardware are to be managed or decommissioned in accordance with applicable federal and state requirements and what, if any, institutional controls, engineered barriers, or stewardship provisions would be needed.
The alternatives analyzed include: Sitewide Removal, Sitewide Close-In-Place, and Phased Decisionmaking, along with a required No Action Alternative. DOE and NYSERDA prefer the Phased Decisionmaking Alternative. Other federal and state agencies involved in reviewing the alternatives analyzed in the draft EIS include the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and the New York State Departments of Health and Environmental Conservation.
The Notice of Availability for the document will be published in the Federal Register on December 5, 2008. There is a six-month public comment period that runs from December 5, 2008 to June 8, 2009. All comments received which are postmarked no later than the end of the public comment period will be addressed in preparing the final EIS.
Public hearings will be held during the comment period at three New York locations. The Draft EIS, along with guidance on how to submit oral or written comments, and the dates, times and locations of the public hearings will be announced in the Federal Register, local media, and will be available from theÂ West Valley Demonstration ProjectÂ and theÂ West Valley EIS.
The WVDP is a DOE managed, contractor operated, environmental cleanup project located on the site of the Western New York Nuclear Service Center, owned by the state of New York and administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Located on approximately 200 acres about 40 miles south of Buffalo, the WVDP occupies the site of the only commercial used nuclear fuel reprocessing facility to have operated in the United States.