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Aerial Survey to be Conducted over Western New York Nuclear Service Center, Cattaraugus Creek to Measure Radiation

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), in cooperation with the New York State Energy and Research Development Authority (NYSERDA), will be conducting an aerial survey to measure radiation at and near the West Valley Demonstration Project in the Town of Ashford in Cattaraugus County beginning Monday, Sept. 22.

The purpose of the survey is to measure the general radiation levels at the Western New York Nuclear Service Center (also known as the West Valley Site). The survey will also include approximately 30 miles of Cattaraugus Creek between the Center and Lake Erie. The information will be used to update and supplement previous aerial radiation surveys and will be useful in the ongoing decommissioning efforts at the Center.

Between Sep. 22 and Oct. 8, a silver and blue Bell-412 helicopter equipped with sensitive radiation detection instruments will make numerous flights over the survey area. A helicopter is used because it allows detailed measurements to be taken quickly and effectively over a large area. The helicopter flights will occur only during daylight hours and as weather conditions permit. The survey team, which has an exemplary safety record, routinely conducts this type of survey for various municipalities and facilities throughout the United States. Local government agencies and village and town officials have been notified of the planned survey. Survey results are expected to be made available to the public next year.

The aerial survey will be conducted by NNSA’s Remote Sensing Laboratory Aerial Measuring System operated by National Security Technologies, LLC. The Western New York Center, which is owned by NYSERDA, is the site of the West Valley Demonstration Project, where DOE is decommissioning a former commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing facility.

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Established by Congress in 2000, NNSA is a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy responsible for enhancing national security through the military application of nuclear science. NNSA maintains and enhances the safety, security, reliability and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile without nuclear testing; works to reduce global danger from weapons of mass destruction; provides the U.S. Navy with safe and effective nuclear propulsion; and responds to nuclear and radiological emergencies in the U.S. and abroad.