UPF Lawsuit

Updates

Citizens Rebut Government Attempt To Continue Illegal Construction Of Nuclear Weapons Plant

12 November 2019 for immediate release

Calling the National Nuclear Security Administration’s brazen disregard for a federal court’s September 24, 2019, ruling an “abuse of the judicial process,” the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, along with four individual plaintiffs, returned to federal court in Knoxville, TN, today to file a rebuttal of the NNSA’s argument that the agency should be allowed to continue construction on a new nuclear weapons production plant “in the interim”—even while they are preparing the studies that will tell them whether the facilities can be made safe for workers and the public in the event of an earthquake.
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Calling the National Nuclear Security Administration's latest Record of Decision (Federal Register, October 4, 2019) for the Continued Operation of the Y-12 National Security Complex , "an obvious attempt by the government to deliberately circumvent this Court's ruling," the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, the Natural Resources Defense Council and four individual co-plaintiffs today filed a Motion to Enforce the judgment handed down in federal court in September by Chief United States District Judge Pamela Reeves.

"Within hours of the Judge's September ruling, NNSA told reporters that it would keep right on doing what it was doing, including building the UPF bomb plant. Then they published the new Record of Decision which is a direct challenge to the Court—it says they have decided they will comply with the Court's order at some uncertain date in the future, and in the meantime, it's business as usual. We went to court in the first place, because 'business as usual' was violating the law." — OREPA coordinator Ralph Hutchison

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Judge voids UPF decision, requires more seismic hazard analysis

BY:  oakridgetoday.com

Structural steel installation is under way on the eastern half of the Main Process Building of the Uranium Processing Facility, the Y-12 National Security Complex said Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019. (Photo courtesy CNS Y-12)

A federal judge in Knoxville on Tuesday said a critical decision made in 2016 for enriched uranium operations at the Y-12 National Security Complex, including for the $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility, violated a national environmental law, and she ordered the decision vacated, or set aside.

The UPF is already under construction, and Wedenesday morning, the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees work at Y-12, said construction will continue.

The 104-page opinion and order was filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Pamela L. Reeves.

The lawsuit was initially filed in U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia, but it was later moved to the Eastern District of Tennessee. Besides OREPA, the plaintiffs included two other public interest organizations—Nuclear Watch of New Mexico and Natural Resources Defense Council of Washington, D.C.— and several individual plaintiffs.

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United States To Begin Construction Of New Nuclear Bomb Plant

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced on Friday, March 23, that it was authorizing the start of construction of the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) and two sub-projects at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The UPF is a facility dedicated solely to the manufacture of thermonuclear cores for US nuclear bombs and warheads.

Citizen watchdog groups are responding by filing an expedited Freedom of Information Act request demanding a full fiscal accounting of the UPF bomb plant- something the NNSA has refused to provide for the last five years, including to Congress, despite repeated assurances that the project is “on budget.”
“This project is already a classic boondoggle, and they are just getting started,” said Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) in Knoxville, Tennessee. “Worse, it undermines US efforts to discourage nuclear proliferation around the world. How can we oppose the nuclear ambitions of other countries when we are building a bomb plant here to manufacture 80 thermonuclear cores for warheads every year?”

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Oak Ridge Environmental and Peace Alliance, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, and The Natural Resources Defense Council File Lawsuit Against New Nuclear Bomb Plant

Washington, DC Today, the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA), Nuclear Watch New Mexico, and the Natural Resources Defense Council filed a federal lawsuit to stop construction of the problem-plagued Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) until legally required environmental review is completed. The UPF, located at the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) Y-12 production plant near Oak Ridge, TN, is slated to produce new thermonuclear weapons components until the year 2080. The UPF is the tip of the spear for the U.S.’s planned one trillion dollar-plus make over of its nuclear weapons arsenal, delivery systems, and production plants.

“The story of this new bomb plant is a long tale of outrageous waste and mismanagement, false starts and re-dos, a federal agency that refuses to meet its legal obligation to engage the public, and a Senator that is bent on protecting this piece of prime nuclear pork for his home state,” said Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of OREPA. “But the short version is this: when the NNSA made dramatic changes to the UPF, and admitted that it intends to continue to operate dangerous, already contaminated facilities for another twenty or thirty years, they ran afoul of the National Environmental Policy Act. Our complaint demands that the NNSA complete a supplemental environmental impact statement on the latest iteration of its flawed plans.”

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Watchdog Groups Call For New Environmental Impact Study For Nuclear Bomb Plant

Cite Worker And Public Risks, New Seismic Information

“The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance and Nuclear Watch New Mexico today released a letter to Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz calling for a new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Y-12 is a manufacturing plant that produces the thermonuclear cores (secondaries) for US nuclear warheads and bombs.
“The letter rejects the analysis prepared by the National Nuclear Security Administration and the subsequent Amended Record of Decision released in August 2016 in which the NNSA gave itself the green light to proceed with construction of the Uranium Processing Facility, a bomb plant originally intended to replace aging facilities.”

Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch New Mexico Director, commented:

“The Uranium Processing Facility is the tip-of-the-spear for the trillion dollar “modernization” of U.S. nuclear forces that will fleece the American taxpayer. It will enrich the usual fat cat defense contractors by keeping nuclear weapons forever while rebuilding them to give them new military capabilities. The public has the legal right to review planned changes to the deeply troubled Uranium Processing facility, which we seek to enforce.”

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See Also: Letter To Senator Moniz 

Watchdog Groups Praise NNSA Decision to Obey the Law, Prepare Supplement Analysis on Bomb Plant

“The National Nuclear Security Administration’s disclosure that the agency is “in the process” of preparing a Supplement Analysis for the much-changed Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) at the Y-12 nuclear weapons production plant brought praise from the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) and Nuclear Watch New Mexico. Just two days ago the two grassroots watchdog groups filed an expedited Freedom of Information Act request asking for the Supplement Analysis. At the same time, the two groups noted that NNSA could be legally vulnerable without one.”

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Previous Updates

PLANTIFFS’ FILED MOTION TO ENFORCE COURT JUDGMENT

Plaintiffs file this Motion to Enforce the Court’s Judgment of September 24, 2019, ECF No. 64, because the Department of Energy (“DOE”) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (“NNSA”) have issued a new Amended Record of Decision (“2019 AROD”), see 84 Fed. Reg. 53,133 (Attachment A), that is fundamentally inconsistent with this Court’s Judgment, ECF No. 64, and Memorandum Opinion and Order (“Opinion”), ECF No. 63. Based on a finding that the agencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321–4347, by failing to properly consider new information about seismic hazards in eastern Tennessee, this Court vacated the NNSA’s previous 2016 AROD and associated 2016 Supplement Analysis (“SA”) and 2018 SA, and ordered the agencies to prepare a new analysis of seismic risks on remand.

However, a mere three days after this Court issued its Opinion and Judgment, NNSA issued the 2019 AROD, which effectively adopted the same decision this Court vacated—and did so without preparing any analysis of seismic risks that complies with this Court’s Opinion. Accordingly, Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court enforce its Judgment of September 24, 2019, ECF No. 64, by declaring that the 2019 AROD is inconsistent with this Court’s Opinion, vacating the 2019 AROD, and declaring that any subsequent AROD that allows NNSA to conduct further construction or related activities before NNSA completes the legally required NEPA analysis this Court ordered will likewise be inconsistent with this Court’s Judgment.

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United States To Begin Construction Of New Nuclear Bomb Plant

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced on Friday, March 23, that it was authorizing the start of construction of the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) and two sub-projects at the Y-12 National Security Complex in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The UPF is a facility dedicated solely to the manufacture of thermonuclear cores for US nuclear bombs and warheads.

Citizen watchdog groups are responding by filing an expedited Freedom of Information Act request demanding a full fiscal accounting of the UPF bomb plant- something the NNSA has refused to provide for the last five years, including to Congress, despite repeated assurances that the project is “on budget.”
“This project is already a classic boondoggle, and they are just getting started,” said Ralph Hutchison, coordinator of the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (OREPA) in Knoxville, Tennessee. “Worse, it undermines US efforts to discourage nuclear proliferation around the world. How can we oppose the nuclear ambitions of other countries when we are building a bomb plant here to manufacture 80 thermonuclear cores for warheads every year?”

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Lawsuit aims to halt Uranium Processing Facility construction to review earthquake risks

Lawsuit aims to halt Uranium Processing Facility construction to review earthquake risks
Brittany Crocker, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee Published 11:00 a.m. ET July 28, 2017

Prior to this lawsuit, a federal safety board also raised concerns over seismic risks at the UPF and at two older buildings Y-12 plans to continue using.

A lawsuit filed last week against the Department of Energy and National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) alleges the government agencies ignored new information about seismic risks during a second environmental review on Y-12 National Security Complex’s Uranium Processing Facility.

The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance filed the lawsuit in Washington with Nuclear Watch New Mexico and the Natural Resources Defense Council to stop the building’s construction until another environmental review is completed.

The plaintiff organizations asserted revised plans for the Uranium Processing Facility are significantly different from those the NNSA analyzed in 2011. They said NNSA’s supplementary environmental review of the revised plans only covered earthquake risks at the new facility, and not the two legacy buildings Y-12 plans to continue using.

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Documents and Resources

PLANTIFFS’ FILED MOTION TO ENFORCE COURT JUDGMENT

Plaintiffs file this Motion to Enforce the Court’s Judgment of September 24, 2019, ECF No. 64, because the Department of Energy (“DOE”) and the National Nuclear Security Administration (“NNSA”) have issued a new Amended Record of Decision (“2019 AROD”), see 84 Fed. Reg. 53,133 (Attachment A), that is fundamentally inconsistent with this Court’s Judgment, ECF No. 64, and Memorandum Opinion and Order (“Opinion”), ECF No. 63. Based on a finding that the agencies violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), 42 U.S.C. §§ 4321–4347, by failing to properly consider new information about seismic hazards in eastern Tennessee, this Court vacated the NNSA’s previous 2016 AROD and associated 2016 Supplement Analysis (“SA”) and 2018 SA, and ordered the agencies to prepare a new analysis of seismic risks on remand.

However, a mere three days after this Court issued its Opinion and Judgment, NNSA issued the 2019 AROD, which effectively adopted the same decision this Court vacated—and did so without preparing any analysis of seismic risks that complies with this Court’s Opinion. Accordingly, Plaintiffs respectfully request that the Court enforce its Judgment of September 24, 2019, ECF No. 64, by declaring that the 2019 AROD is inconsistent with this Court’s Opinion, vacating the 2019 AROD, and declaring that any subsequent AROD that allows NNSA to conduct further construction or related activities before NNSA completes the legally required NEPA analysis this Court ordered will likewise be inconsistent with this Court’s Judgment.

FULL DOCUMENT

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