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Public presentations planned Wednesday on radioactive site

This 2005 Buffalo News file photo shows an entrance to the Niagara Falls Storage Site in Lewiston. (Charles Lewis / Buffalo News) 

A panel of local experts will hold a public presentation next week exploring options for what to do with Manhattan Project waste buried in Niagara County.

The focus will be the Niagara Falls Storage Site in Lewiston, where high activity radioactive materials are buried in a 10-acre storage cell.

The program, entitled “LOOW Site Radioactive Storage: The Experts Speak,” will include presentations from a Niagara University professor who has studied the issue for more than 30 years, as well as a representative of a citizens' advisory panel to federal regulators at a similar site in Ohio.

Prof. William Boeck, who chairs the radiological committee for the former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works Restoration Advisory Board, and Jim Bierer, former chair of the Department of Energy Citizens' Advisory Board, are each scheduled to make a presentation.

The session will be held from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Lewiston-Porter High School auditorium, 4061 Creek Road.

"The theme of my talk is the longer you wait, the greater the cost, the increased risk," Boeck said this morning.

Listen to Boeck explain the format of the session and why it was organized:

The materials that were buried in Fernauld is the same type buried here. Last year, the Fernauld materials were moved to a storage site in Texas.

Here's Boeck on why local experts are looking to Fernauld, Ohio, as well as a possible option for what can happen with the Cold War material buried here:

Boeck's radiological committee has previously said it believes the storage cell containing the radioactive waste might be leaking, and has asked the Army Corps of Engineers to perform further analysis.

In this audio clip, Boeck describes recommendations made to federal regulators by his committee and the agency's refusal to perform one specific action the committee requested:

The session is organized by the Restoration Advisory Board for the former Lake Ontario Ordnance Works, also known as the LOOW RAB. It is also sponsored by the University at Buffalo Larkin Chair of Chemistry, Niagara University and Lewiston-Porter Central School District.

Here's a map showing the location of Lew-Port High School, as well as the Niagara Falls Storage Site:

View Lewiston-Porter High School in a larger map

--Aaron Besecker

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