(CN) – The U.S. Department of Energy adequately reviewed the environmental impacts of a nuclear waste center in western New York, the 2nd Circuit ruled.
The Coalition on West Valley Nuclear Wastes and a local resident accused the Department of Energy of failing to chart the future of the facility in its environmental impact statement.
They claimed that the agency lumped together plans for short-term nuclear waste management at a 200-acre site with long-term plans for the center’s closure, when it should have analyzed the issues separately.
But such separation is not necessary, the New York-based appeals court ruled. Two actions that have “cumulatively significant impacts” can be covered in the same environmental review, Judge Debra Ann Livingston wrote.
The court found that the agency did not violate federal law or a 1987 settlement with the coalition, in which the agency promised to make a closure plan for the 200-acre project.
The Western New York Nuclear Service Center began as a nuclear fuel reprocessing plant designed to extract uranium and plutonium from nuclear waste. It was the only one of its kind to ever exist in the United States, converting 600,000 gallons of liquid nuclear waste into glass, according to the ruling.
The 3,345-acre facility is located 30 miles southeast of Buffalo.