The Coalition believes that the hazardous radioactive waste in West Valley, New York should be held in above ground, retrievable, monitored storage until it can be shipped to a long-term stable location. The DOE stated publicly that they want to bury the waste in concrete. Under their plan, the waste is easy to forget about and hard to remove is there is ever a problem.
Our position is that West Valley is not suitable for long-term storage of nuclear wastes. In other words: DIG IT UP!
Given the long history of leaks and accidents at West Valley, we believe the waste should be kept:
ABOVE GROUND so our grandchildren can't forget about it.
RETRIEVABLE so we can do something if it starts to leak again.
MONITORED so we'll know when the packaging deteriorates and needs attention.
Our plan is reversible. If the DOE is allowed to bury everything in concrete it will be impossible to ever do anything about it.
Another major flaw with the DOE's plan is the problem of erosion. The DOE's 1996 DEIS projected major erosion of the burial grounds within 500 years. Keeping the waste on-site means constantly managing the many streams that run through the site for hundreds of thousands of years. Protection of people in the future should not depend on long-term stewardship by a governmental organization. How many governments lasted thousands of years?
The DOE will soon make a final decision on closure of the site. It's important to take a stand now.
Many people have asked about NIMBY and where the waste should go. Currently there is no safe, permanent location to store radioactive waste. We should stop making it. There is no reliable method of isolating waste from the environment for hundreds of thousands of years.
Waste should be stored at West Valley until a safe, permanent repository is found. No one wants radioactive waste in his or her backyard. People often confuse the Coalition's position with NIMBY or "Not In My Back Yard." We don't want this waste in anyone's back yard. West Valley is not suitable as a long-term storage site because of the rapid erosion problems. Waste should be stored on-site to minimize transportation risks. When it is moved, it should be to a permanent facility.