FOR RELEASE on August 26, 2005
Press Contact: Seth Wochensky, Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes
716-592-0151
cell 716-479-4159
info@digitup.org

Citizens´ Group Sues Department of Energy over
Inadequate Clean up of West Valley Nuclear Site

BUFFALO (August 26, 2005) The Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes filed a complaint against the United States Department of Energy over failure to fully clean up the unstable West Valley Nuclear Site located 30 miles south of Buffalo, New York.

The Department of Energy (DOE) is laying the legal groundwork now to abandon the site and leave wastes in the ground that will be dangerous for over 100,000 years. In a Record of Decision (ROD) issued in June, the DOE stated that they will be able to rename dangerous High-Level Radioactive Wastes as “Waste Incidental to Reprocessing’which will allow them to bypass decades of nuclear regulatory safety standards. This declassification is not supported in the accompanying Environmental Impact Statement. It is not in the Demonstration Project Act, which governs the cleanup, and it is not allowable under US law. As part of a campaign by the current administration to promote nuclear power and reprocessing, The Department of Energy is forcing less costly, but indefinite storage of High-Level Reprocessing Wastes on unsafe sites across the country.

The complaint asks the courts to strike the latest (decision) ROD and enforce a 1987 agreement between the two parties in which the DOE agreed to complete an Environmental Impact Study. A draft version of that study, released in 1996, calculated high erosion and exposure rates from the West Valley Site. The public called for exhumation of the wastes as the only safe course. The DOE has since abandoned that study and they have begun an illegal split EIS Process.

The following is a statement from Seth Wochensky, Spokesperson for The Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes:

“For the health and safety of Western New York and Canada, the Coalition is forced to challenge the DOE decision because it sets the stage for abandoning nuclear weapons and power wastes in ground that is destined to erode into the Great Lakes. DOE has done great cleanup work at the site thus far but must not stop.’

“The Department of Energy is cutting jobs at the site, jeopardizing the public´s safety now and threatening the drinking water supply for millions of Canadians and Americans for hundreds of generations.’

The site is in the Great Lakes Watershed and is directly upstream from the Seneca Nation of Indians. The Coalition´s complaint has support from the Natural Resources Defense Council.

PO Box 603 • Springville, New York 14141 • 716-592-0151 • www.digitup.org

WEST VALLEY NUCLEAR SITE BACKGROUND

The West Valley Nuclear Site reprocessed irradiated nuclear weapons and power fuel from 1966-1972 and operated two burial grounds totaling 27 acres. In 1980, the West Valley Demonstration Project Act directed the Department of Energy to solidify 600,000 gallons of liquid waste left over from reprocessing and decontaminate the site. Two high level tanks partially emptied, the burial grounds, an underground plume of radioactivity, the process building and the solidified High-Level waste still remain on site.

The Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes is a grassroots volunteer group dedicated to a safe cleanup of the West Valley Nuclear Site. Officially formed in 1974 they successfully lobbied congress to pass the 1980 West Valley Demonstration Project Act, blocked new shipments of waste to the site in the 80´s and forced the DOE to review environmental impacts in a 1987 lawsuit.

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PO Box 603 • Springville, New York 14141 • 716-592-0151 • www.digitup.org