Groups Request DOE Publish “Notice” of Release of Plutonium Bomb Document in Federal Register

“Request to Publish Notice of Draft Supplement Analysis in the Federal Register, DOE/EIS-0380-SA-06: Draft Supplement Analysis”

Public interest groups working for US DOE to fully comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in its unjustified plans to produce more plutonium “pits” for new and refurbished nuclear weapons have written to DOE concerning plans for expanded pit production at the Los Alamos National Lab in New Mexico. The lawyer for SRS Watch, Nuclear Watch New Mexico (Santa Fee, NM) and Tri-Valley CARES (Livermore, CA) wrote to DOE’s National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) on March 20, 2020, requesting that NNSA  publish in the Federal Register a notice that a document on pit production was released on March 10, 2020 and, further, that it be opened for a 45-day comment period from the date of publication in the Federal Register.

The group letter is posted here:  Request for Publication of Notice of Draft SA in Federal Register March 20 2020

NNSA posted a news release on its website on March 10 about release of a draft document on production of new plutonium “pits”: “Public invited to comment on expanded plutonium pit production at Los Alamos National Laboratory.”  A 45-day comment period was specified, but contrary to expected procedures, the release of the document was not “noticed” in the Federal Register, so the wider public has less opportunity to learn about the document and comment.

The NNSA news release further states: “The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has posted for public comment a draft Supplement Analysis to the 2008 Site-wide Environmental Impact Statement (SWEIS) for Continued Operations of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). The document examines whether the environmental impacts associated with expanded plutonium pit production at LANL require preparation of a new or supplemental EIS for LANL.”

The letter to NNSA from the three public interest groups states:

“On behalf of our clients Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Savannah River Site Watch, and  Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, we are writing to request that the Department of Energy (“DOE”) and National Nuclear Security Administration (“NNSA”)
publish a notice in the Federal Register to inform the public of the availability of NNSA’s new draft Supplement Analysis (SA; DOE/EIS-0380-SA-06) of the 2008 Site-wide Environmental Impact Statement (“SWEIS”) for Continued Operations of Los Alamos National Laboratory (“LANL”). While our clients appreciate that DOE and NNSA have made this draft SA available for public comment, we strongly believe that publication in the Federal Register is the best and most appropriate method for the agencies to effectively solicit public comment.”

“Accordingly, we respectfully request that DOE and NNSA issue a notice in the Federal Register to inform the public of the availability of the current draft SA and the opportunity for public comment. To ensure that the public has a full opportunity for comment, we further request that the agency set the deadline for comments 45 days from the publication of such notice in the Federal Register.”

The groups have long demanded that NNSA comply with NEPA and first prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) before site-specific documents are prepared and finalized.  The draft Supplement Analysis reveals that NNSA will not prepare a PEIS.  Thus, a lawsuit may be necessary to force compliance with NEPA.  See more on efforts  by the groups to get NNSA to comply with NEPA:  https://nukewatch.org/newsite/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/PR-Pits-NNSA-final-Supplement-Analysis.pdf

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