A bulldozer demolishes an old guardhouse

EM crews demolish the old guardhouse at the West Valley Demonstration Project.

WEST VALLEY, N.Y. – EM’s West Valley Demonstration Project safely demolished a former security guardhouse built in 1965, one of the first facilities constructed at the former commercial nuclear fuel reprocessing facility.

Originally, the facility was only 168 square feet until two additions increased its square footage to 700. A new guardhouse was constructed last year to better serve the continued needs of the site as it progresses towards the next cleanup phase.

“While not the most complex or difficult demolition we have done at West Valley, it is still a significant historic milestone in our cleanup efforts. Our crews did an excellent job in their safe execution of this demolition work,” said Jennifer Dundas, EM’s West Valley assistant director for the Office of Technical Services.

While the old guardhouse served its purpose well over the years, West Valley’s new facility boasts more space for officers, including updated offices, modern equipment, badging for site staff and storage space.

Demolition began in mid-December, and the building structure was demolished and packaged over two days. Workers used a large excavator with a bucket and hydraulic thumb attachment to take down the building and load debris into containers to ship offsite for disposal. Last month, workers also completed the teardown of old locker rooms near the old guardhouse, also replaced due to their age.

“The completion of this demolition changes the landscape of the site,” said Jason Casper, president and general manager for CH2M HILL BWXT West Valley (CHBWV), EM's cleanup contractor at West Valley. “It is a reminder of the hard work that’s being done to clean up the site for future generations.”

Dave Schuman, CHBWV safeguards and security manager, reiterated Casper’s sentiments.

“For me, the demolition of this building signifies an end to an era," he said. "For almost 60 years, this building served our protective force and could be seen from the road by residents and visitors alike.”

-Contributor: Joseph Pillittere