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WVDP vitrification facility to soon be demolished

Deputy General Manager of CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley, LLC Scott Anderson makes a presentation to the Ashford Town Board.

ASHFORD—The Ashford Town Board heard an update about the upcoming demolition of the vitrification facility at the West Valley Demonstration Project site at its meeting Aug. 9.

Deputy General Manager of CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley, LLC Scott Anderson made a presentation to the board explaining the requirements and approach to the demolition of the WVDP vitrification building, safety precautions to both workers and residents and a schedule on the upcoming demolition.

Anderson talked about some of the regulatory requirements set up for workers and residents when it comes to exposure to radiation. The United States Department of Energy requires radiological worker to only be exposed to five rem, or roentgen equivalent man, per year. But at CHBWV, they have established a level of 500 millirem per year for the general workforce. For the public, the United States Environmental Protection Agency established emission standards for radionuclides in the air, which is set at 0.1 millirem per year.

“Our objective in this whole thing is to ensure safe and environmentally safe demolition in keeping with as low as reasonably achievable principles and that is important for people to understand,” Anderson said.

Anderson later talked about the preparations for the demolition and what CHBWV will be doing to make sure the process is safe for all parties. Before the demolition starts, CHBWV will be working on airborne dispersion modeling to figure out the quantity, type and location of contamination that can remain in a structure during demolition. Factors including contamination levels, contamination emission rates and meteorological conditions can all affect this model and CHBWV will be taking all necessary precautions to limit emission rates.

Demolition on the vitrification facility will be done with a hydraulic shear without the use of explosives to help control the spread of dust and other contaminants. Other safety measures including storm and surface water management, air monitoring both on and off site, using fixative daily, limiting the size of debris piles and frequent waste packaging and disposal will all be used during the process.

Demolition is set to start this month, and the entire process of taking down the building and shipment of waste should take around eight months to complete.

“To the site, it is going to be a big deal to see that go away,” Anderson said.

In other board news:

– The Town of Ashford was approved as a clean energy community and was awarded a $50,000 grant.

– Highway Superintendent Tim Engels informed the board that work is being completed on roads throughout the town including Hillview Drive and School Street. Engels thanked Cattaraugus County for sending crews and equipment to help complete some of these road projects, which helped save money and time for the town.

– New York State Energy Research and Development Agency West Valley Program Director Paul Bembia reported that NYSERDA continues to work with the town on entering an agreement to develop a solar facility on the Western New York Nuclear Service Center.

The next Ashford Town Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Ashford Community Center, located at 9377 Route 240, in West Valley.


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