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2023 Priorities Update: West Valley Achieves Main Plant Demolition Milestone

Published: November 21, 2023


west valley demolition milestone.jpg
EM team members continue to demolish the Main Plant Process Building at the West Valley Demonstration Project as they begin removing hot cells within the facility’s analytical laboratory. Those cells were used during past fuel reprocessing and vitrification operations. A hot cell is a highly shielded room where activities involving high radiation levels can be safely performed.​

WEST VALLEY, N.Y. – Crews at the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) recently accomplished an EM 2023 priority after safely shipping more than 9,000 tons of debris from the demolition of the Main Plant Process Building this year.

The disposal of 9,000 tons of Main Plant demolition waste by workers with EM cleanup contractor CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV) also met a site goal for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. EM launched the demolition project early last fall.

Over the past nine months, crews have packaged and shipped by rail more than 500 waste containers from the project for safe disposal offsite. Each container was loaded with an average of 38,000 pounds of debris.

And since the demolition project began in September last year, workers have safely packaged and shipped over 10,000 tons of demolition debris in total.

EM officials attributed the successful milestone of disposing of 9,000 tons of Main Plant teardown waste to extensive planning and preparation, an experienced workforce and adherence to safety.

“The WVDP team did an excellent job in their planning and preparation for this achievement,” said Stephen Bousquet, EM West Valley director of technical services and Main Plant federal project director. “The coordination and communication between site crews was outstanding and ensured that the work was performed safely, compliantly and efficiently.”

West Valley is expected to ship by rail about 1,000 more waste containers from the demolition project.

“This mode of transportation represents a better method for waste disposition that’s safer and more efficient,” CHBWV Waste and Site Operations Manager Peggy Loop said. “It will help to accelerate remediation efforts in the future.”

Shipping the demolition waste by rail enhances safety by reducing vehicle traffic associated with completing the shipments via truck. Train shipments increase efficiency by allowing more material to be shipped at once compared to trucking. The train shipments also cost less than truck shipments, saving taxpayer dollars.

A 35,100-square-foot, reinforced-concrete structure, the Main Plant is one of the last remaining major facilities at West Valley. Its successful demolition will further reduce environmental risks and position the site for the next cleanup phase.

The demolition is expected to be completed in summer 2025.

-Contributor: Joseph Pillittere
-Source: EM Newsletter

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