Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nuclear Waste: Not in MY Drinking Water!

Speakers urge full cleanup of West Valley waste site - 05/31/2009
With only eight days left for public comment and no final repository decided upon for the most dangerous radioactive wastes at the West Valley Demonstration Project, a coalition of environmental groups is trying to steer the decades-old debate over how to clean up the former nuclear fuels processing center.

Federal and state officials wish to defer for up to 30 years the question of whether to leave some radioactive waste forever buried, but according to Brian Smith, western New York program director of Citizens’ Campaign for the Environment, a full cleanup of the waste site is the only “responsible option to protect our Great Lakes, health and economy.”

Smith was one of five speakers at the Erie Basin Marina Saturday, urging people to make their opinions on the issue heard. The speakers urged state residents to tell the Department of Energy (DOE) and the NY State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) to fully excavate and clean the 3,300-acre site 30 miles south of Buffalo.

“Now is our chance to protect our drinking water from intensely radioactive nuclear power and weapons waste buried upstream decades ago but still able to cause large numbers of cancers now and in decades to come,” said Diane D’Arrigo, radioactive waste project director at Nuclear Information and Resource Service. “The [DOE] and [state] won’t commit to dig it all up before it leaks further unless every one of us tells them they must,” she said.

Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, spoke
at the Erie Basin Marina on Saturday and he supports a full cleanup. He, along with Rep. Eric Massa, D-Corning, will ask Energy Secretary Steven Chu for a 90-day extension of the public comment period that began in November.

The public comment period on the issue ends June 8, and environmental officials and the congressmen encourage New York residents to file comments and complaints about the West Valley site [click here].

For the full Buffalo News report by Jake May, click here.

Related Reports and Information:

Study urges removing all waste from West Valley nuclear site - 12/03/2008
Excavating and removing all the radioactive material from the West Valley nuclear waste site is costly in the short term but cheaper and safer for area residents in the long run, a new study of the site cleanup found.Study urges removing all waste from West Valley nuclear site. The study’s authors say permanently burying nuclear waste at the Cattaraugus County facility would lead to higher costs and risks of radiation poisoning. Click the title for the full report by Stephen T. Watson in The Buffalo News.

Senecas endorse plan for radioactive waste cleanup - 03/24/2009
The Seneca Nation of Indians has endorsed a plan calling for the digging up and removal of all radioactive waste from the West Valley nuclear waste site in Cattaraugus County. The nation agrees with a recent cleanup study that found removing toxic material from the site is the best way to ensure the health and safety of the population and ecosystem.
Click the title for the full report by Stephen T. Watson in The Buffalo News.

West Valley: Washington, Albany must remove all nuclear wastes - 03/24/2009
Radioactive waste has leaked into West Valley’s ditches. It sends a plume of radioactive groundwater toward Buttermilk Creek. Buttermilk’s 160-foot bluff, a few hundred yards away, has had a landslide. Plutonium has been found in Cattaraugus Creek behind Scobey Hill dam. There is the potential of polluting the waters of Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River with West Valley’s poisons. Clearly it was a terrible mistake to put such a dangerous facility into such unstable terrain. The only conceivable answer now is complete removal of nuclear materials from West Valley.
Click the title for the
The Buffalo News article by Larry Beahan, conservation chairman of the Sierra Club Niagara Group.

Complete cleanup of West Valley site is the only real solution
- 04/01/2009
The more than 600 metric tons of solidified nuclear waste, plus toxic leaks that have already been detected in surrounding water supplies, is no gift for us to leave future generations. It will be expensive, and it will take time, but the best approach to the West Valley waste site is to remove it, completely, once and for all. Editorial in The Buffalo News.

Push is on for full cleanup of NY nuclear site - 05/29/2009
Environmentalists and others say removing all traces of high- and low-level waste is the only way, given the erosion-prone geology, to ensure that it will not eventually seep into nearby creeks, make its way into Lakes Erie and Ontario and contaminate drinking water supplies.
Among others weighing in to support a full cleanup have been the Presbytery of Western New York, which passed a resolution citing its "Christian commitment to caring for creation," Catholic Charities and the Western New York Council on Occupational Safety & Health. Read the full report by Carolyn Thompson, Associated Press Writer.

The public comment period on the issue ends June 8, and New York residents can file comments and complaints about the West Valley site by clicking here.

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