Public Comment Opportunity and Upcoming Meetings on NNSA’s Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program (SPDP) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by February 14, 2023!

As NNSA announced in the Federal Register (FR) on December 16, 2022 (87 FR 77096), NNSA is holding a 60-day public comment period on the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program (SPDP) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) (DOE/EIS-0549) from December 16, 2022 through February 14, 2023.  NNSA is making the Draft SPDP EIS available for public review and comment in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). NNSA has also announced three in-person public hearings and one online virtual meeting to receive comments on the Draft SPDP EIS.

It’s Time to Speak Out at DOE’s Surplus Plutonium Hearings in Carlsbad and Los Alamos

“Buckle up.  This is going to be a contentious discussion.”  

On Tuesday, January 24th and Thursday, January 26th, the Department of Energy will hold in-person public hearings in Carlsbad and Los Alamos, respectively, about their plans to handle, treat and dispose of surplus plutonium in New Mexico.  On Monday, January 30th DOE will also hold a virtual public hearing about these plans to ship 34 metric tons of surplus plutonium in the form of plutonium pits, or the triggers, and non-pit plutonium for nuclear weapons to process at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and dispose at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP).

This is DOE’s sixth attempt to address how to handle surplus plutonium so that it could no longer be used in nuclear weapons.  DOE’s plan is found in the draft Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program environmental impact statement (EIS), which is open for public comment until February 14th.

Previous DOE attempts did not include LANL and WIPP.  That has changed.  LANL and WIPP are now DOE’s targets.

Since 1994, DOE has spent billions of dollars and held dozens of public meetings and hearings about how to prevent access to surplus plutonium.  Immobilization is one method.  But in 2002, DOE canceled the immobilization program “due to budgetary constraints,” even though thousands of public comments supported immobilization of all the plutonium.

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