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Nuclear waste site in Lewiston to be cleaned, but not soon

Posted at 11:34 PM, Mar 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-26 23:34:50-04

LEWISTON, NY (WKBW) — The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers made a major announcement in regards to the Lewiston site storing nuclear waste from the Manhattan Project.

Tuesday, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced a record of decision was signed. That means the federal government has decided to take action on removing nuclear waste at the site called, the Niagara Falls Storage Site.

Community groups who fought for this decision, rejoiced.

“Today is a watershed moment because with this signing of the record of decision, it's no longer a matter of if that site is going to be cleaned up, the question becomes when,” said Amy Witryol.

The when may be a problem.

“We have a funding challenge that we have to overcome before we can clean up the site,” said Bill Kowalewski with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

It's going to cost an around $490 million to clean the site. The federal budget to clean 12 other similar sites around the country is usually around $125 million dollars per year. So, the Lewiston project will take years to clean and physical work on the site won't start soon.

“There won't be funds ready and we won't be ready in fiscal year 2020 to execute anything on the site,” said Kowalewski.

When the waste is finally moved from Lewiston, it will be permanently stored in either Texas or Utah. The actual moving of the waste will take years.