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West Valley Melter Draft Waste Evaluation Released for Public Comment

March 11, 2011 - 12:00pm

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West Valley, New York – The U.S. Department of Energy today released a Draft Waste Incidental to Reprocessing (WIR) Evaluation of a vitrification melter at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) for review and comment by the public, states and Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). This draft evaluation shows that the melter meets the criteria for “waste incidental to reprocessing” and may be managed and disposed of as low-level radioactive waste (LLW). It is an important step in DOE’s efforts to clean up the WVDP and meet its obligations under the WVDP Act of 1980.

DOE will consider NRC, state and public comments before making a final evaluation and determination, and before selecting the disposal location at either the Nevada National Security Site Area 5 Radioactive Waste Management Site in Nevada or the Waste Control Specialists Federal Facility Waste Disposal Facility in Texas, which are the only facilities which can accept such federal LLW.

The vitrification melter was used from 1996 through 2002 to solidify high-level waste that had been generated by commercial reprocessing of spent nuclear fuel at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center in West Valley, by Nuclear Fuel Services, Inc. DOE undertook the solidification activities pursuant to DOE’s responsibilities under the WVDP Act.

A Federal Register Notice is expected to be published March 14, 2011. A 45-day public comment period runs until April 27, 2011. The document is available on the web at http://www.em.doe.gov/pdfs/WVDP_Melter_Draft_WIR_Eval.pdf. Comments can be sent via email to melter@wv.doe.gov.

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