The NFRC was established in 2002 to promote the construction and operation of nuclear reprocessing facilities. NFRC promotes reprocessing commercial spent nuclear fuel that is generated by commercial nuclear power plants.

Reprocessing dramatically reduces the amount of high-level radioactive waste that would have to be stored in a geologic repository. We also support reprocessing plutonium and highly enriched uranium from nuclear warheads into fuel for use in commercial nuclear power plants.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

History of 1st and Only Commercial Reprocessing Plant


West Valley, New York is the site of the first and, to date, only commercial reprocessing plant in the United States. After beginning operations in 1966 with a theoretical capacity to reprocess 300 metric tons of spent nuclear fuel per year, the facility reprocessed a total of 640 tons of waste in six years before shutting down in 1972. In that time, it transformed West Valley into a radioactive waste site, ultimately accumulating over 600,000 gallons of high-level waste in onsite storage tanks. After years of delay, legal disputes, and waste treatment and billions of dollars in federal expenditures, stabiliza­tion of the high-level waste under the West Valley Demonstration Project (WVDP) was completed in 2002, but all of it remains onsite. Cleanup of reprocessing activities at the site, including "low-level" waste removal and decontamination, is expected to take 40 years and cost over $5 billion.



1966West Valley reprocessing plant opens, operated by Nuclear Fuel Services
1972West Valley closes for renovations, never to reopen
1976Nuclear Fuel Services cedes plant ownership to the state of New York, citing rising costs
1980Congress passes the West Valley Demonstration Project Act
1988High-level waste pretreatment begins at WVDP
1999Vitrification of high-level waste initiated
2001GAO releases report estimating $4.5 billion in total WVDP cleanup costs (GAO-01-314)
2002High-level waste vitrification completed
2003WVDP's focus shifts to low level waste
2005GAO revisions indicate growth in cleanup cost total by $800 million
2006New York sues the DOE, asking the court to determine the level of federal responsibility under the law, including long-term stewardship of the site, and seeking reimbursement of New York's costs and compensation for some aspects of the cleanup effort


(DOE Timeline)


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