The Department of Energy’s Office of Environmental Management (EM) is set to complete the 69th building demolition at the West Valley Demonstration Project early next year, when crews finish knocking down the last structure standing that supported operations at the former Main Plant Process Building.
Located in western New York, the West Valley Demonstration Project is the site of a former commercial spent nuclear fuel reprocessing plant operated by Nuclear Fuel Services. In 1980, Congress directed the DOE to lead in the solidification and removal of the high-level radioactive waste remaining at the site and to decommission the facilities used in the process.
According to EM, the 4,500-square-foot, two-level building is no longer needed for EM’s cleanup and will join the list of six other Main Plant ancillary structures that have already been torn down, helping shrink the site’s cleanup footprint.
The building: Known as the Load-In Facility, the latest ancillary structure to be demolished was first used to store and inspect empty stainless steel canisters before they were filled with high-level liquid waste that had been solidified into glass through vitrification.
The building was later used to support the relocation of the canisters from the Main Plant to an on-site storage area. The canisters are scheduled to remain there until they can be disposed in an approved facility. The Main Plant Processing Building- is the last remaining major facility at the West Valley site.
The Load-In Facility had also served as a location to stage equipment for the decontamination and demolition of the site’s Vitrification Facility, whose takedown in 2018 represents the largest and most complex demolition of a radioactively contaminated facility at the site to date, according to EM. The Main Plant demolition will overtake that record.
Quotes: “The work of our team of dedicated employees continues to change the landscape and footprint around the Main Plant Process Building,” said Stephen Bousquet, EM’s deputy federal project director for the Main Plant demolition. “I continue to be impressed by the accomplishments of our team as we move forward to the demolition of the Main Plant.”
John Rendall, president of CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley, EM’s cleanup contractor at West Valley, said that employees used their combined knowledge and lessons learned to plan and begin the Load-In Facility demolition. “Our team continues to complete demolition work at the site in a safe and environmentally sound manner,” he said.