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West Valley's nuclear waste

An editorial in today's News strongly objects to the federal government's "record of decision" on the West Valley Demonstration Project, which encompasses a former nuclear reprocessing plant, other facilities, and lagoon and storage areas.

The Department of Energy favors a phased-in approach that emphasizes containment and one that will undoubtedly prove costly over time.

Meanwhile, Lake Erie, which has tributary streams near West Valley feeding into it in a region with people heavily dependent upon water from the lake and Niagara River, requires protection.  The absence of a full cleanup means that the large collection of highly toxic nuclear wastes buried in or leaking from the plant site south of Buffalo could present a real danger.

The feds, who appear to have followed closely a flawed environmental impact statement, should have properly responded to the urgency of the matter.

The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority is expected to release its own separate State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQR) decision by the end of the month.  It should be noted that NYSERDA had real problems with the environmental impact statement and it may follow up with its own, perhaps more palatable version of a phased-in approach.  However, state lawmakers and the governor should support a full and immediate cleanup of the site.

This is a complex issue with far-reaching consequences that will affect the public today and their grandchildren, tomorrow. 

Dawn Marie Bracely/Editorial Writer

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