In the 1960's, Nuclear Fuel Services began dumping radioactive waste and reprocessing nuclear fuel in West Valley, New York, a small farming community 50 miles south of Buffalo. Following personal accounts of accidents, mishandling of high-level wastes and bad planning, the Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Waste was formed as a citizen's watchdog group. Thirty years and numerous radioactive leaks later, the Coalition is still demanding the long-term safety of the site.
WEST VALLEY CONTAINS HIGH LEVEL NUCLEAR WASTE
The West Valley Nuclear Site started in the 1960's and was operated by a private company as both a nuclear waste repository and a facility to reprocess spent nuclear fuel. Due to many accidents and leaks, the reprocessing operation was shut down. West Valley still contains high-level radioactive waste and the site is still leaking radioactive material into the watershed. When part of the burial site was exhumed in 1986, they found fifty-gallon drums with ruptured welds and lids sealed with duct tape. Plutonium leaked into nearby streams. Cleanup of the site is now managed by the Department of Energy (DOE). Learn more about the site and the history.
THE DOE WILL SOON MAKE AN IRREVERSIBLE DECISION
The Department of Energy has stated publicly that it favors leaving high-level radioactive waste on-site. Their plan calls for burying the contaminated areas in concrete, closing the site and walking away from the project. The DOE will soon make a final decision on West Valley.
DIG IT UP! -ABOVE GROUND, MONITORED, RETRIEVABLE STORAGE
For 30 years, The Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes has been the citizen's watchdog group working to ensure the safety of future generations. The Coalition believes that the waste at West Valley must be kept in above ground, monitored, retrievable storage until a suitable long-term storage facility is found. If new leaks occur we will know about it and we will be able to fix it. The DOE's plan puts the waste "out of sight, out of mind." Learn more about the Coalition's position by clicking here.
WEST VALLEY IS NOT SUITABLE FOR LONG TERM STORAGE
West Valley is not a suitable place for long-term storage of nuclear waste. It is built on erosion-prone clay and gravel. In 1996, the Department of Energy calculated that within five hundred years radioactive materials will begin washing into the Great Lakes Watershed. The materials at West Valley will remain lethal for hundreds of thousands of years. We can't guarantee there will be funding to deal with this problem five hundred years from now. Will there be a government? Do we want to burden future generations with our waste? To learn more about erosion click here.
WE MUST PRESSURE THE DOE TO DO THE RIGHT THING: DIG IT UP!
The Coalition started a nationwide campaign: Dig It Up! Look for articles, bumper stickers, rallies and resolutions in the near future. Find out how you can help by clicking here.