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SECOND PROJECT PROPOSED FOR WEST VALLEY

The West Valley Citizen Task Force, meeting Wednesday to review a draft study on future redevelopment of the West Valley Demonstration Project site, learned about a $15.2 million proposal for a second demonstration project at the former nuclear fuel-reprocessing center in this rural township.

The first demonstration project was overseen by the U.S. Department of Energy from 1996 to 2002 and cleaned up some of the most liquid radioactive wastes remaining from a six-year campaign of commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing. The resulting 275 glass canisters of solidified waste remain in storage at the facility, awaiting shipment to Yucca Mountain in Nevada.

West Valley Nuclear Services Co. has accelerated dismantling and decommissioning of some of the remaining equipment and buildings on the 3,300-acre site, while also shipping low-level radioactive wastes. The company told the Task Force members about voluntary layoff offers, valid through May 26, which will be followed by involuntary layoffs as part of work force reductions affecting 150 salaried personnel and 50 contract workers.

Final site closure decisions by the federal government have not yet been made, but the task force and the state Energy Research and Development Agency have pressed for new legislation from the office of Rep. Randy Kuhl, R-Hammondsport, to remediate the site, stabilize funding and settle disagreements about waste disposal costs and long-term stewardship responsibilities between the Energy Department and the state agency.

Meanwhile, the group learned that the Wyvern Group, a two-man firm, is proposing to recycle the nation's stockpile of military bombs and bullets in a process that it hopes will earn it contracts for commercial recycling of munitions stockpiles from other countries

According to David Kautz of Wyvern, the proposal depends on legislation that has been drafted by Kuhl's office and is now under review by the House Armed Forces Committee.

Kautz said Wyvern has been selected as a defense recycling contractor in preparation for passage of the $15.2 million appropriations bill in 2006 that accompanies Kuhl's authorization bill.

Several members of the task force seemed satisfied that the draft study mentioned the munitions-recycling proposal but said they would like to know more about Wyvern.

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