LANL SWEIS Scoping Comments due on Tuesday, October 18th

It’s time again to submit comments about what the scope of a new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Los Alamos National Laboratory should be as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).  Comments are due on Tuesday, October 18th, 2022 by 11:59 pm Mountain Time to .

Nuclear Watch New Mexico has prepared sample scoping comments that you can use to create your own.  The comments focus on DOE’s plans to expand the fabrication of plutonium pits, or the triggers, for nuclear weapons and the impacts of such expansion to workers, public health, equity and the environment.  They are available at .

The Department of Energy (DOE) states that the purpose of its latest SWEIS “is to provide the public with an analysis of the potential environmental impacts from ongoing and reasonably foreseeable new and modified operations and facilities, and reasonable alternatives, to provide a basis for site-wide decision making and to improve and coordinate agency plans, functions, programs, and resource utilization.”  See August 19, 2022 Federal Register notice, p. 51084.  Given the broad analyses, it is important for the public to participate in this process.

This will be the fourth SWEIS the DOE has completed since the first in 1979, the second in 1999, and the third in 2008.  But there have been gaps in DOE’s analyses over the decades.  For this SWEIS, DOE has stated the scope would cover the “foreseeable future” over approximately 15-years, or to 2038 or so.  See August 19, 2022 Federal Register Notice, p. 51084.

The 1999 LANL SWEIS considered the “foreseeable future” as a 10-year period of time.  But in the final 2008 SWEIS, DOE’s “foreseeable future” was cut in half.  DOE stated that the 2008 SWEIS would consider “proposals regarding LANL operations over about the next [five] years.”  Final Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Continued Operations of Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, New Mexico, Summary, DOE/EIS-0380, May 2008, p. S-5 (p. 21 of pdf).

That five-year period expired in roughly 2013, or roughly a decade ago.  This is important because over the past decade DOE has been working to expand the number of plutonium pits fabricated annually – without proper NEPA analyses.

Importantly, following the issuance of the final 2008 LANL SWEIS, DOE determined it could fabricate 20 pits per year.  But in 2020 DOE gave itself permission to fabricate 50 percent more pits per year, or 30 pits per year.

What does this mean to you?  In the foreseeable future, LANL will use 50% more water, generate 50% more waste, and due to increased hiring have 50% more impact on communities – meaning more traffic, more apartments and crowded classrooms – all without proper NEPA analyses.

  1. Friday, October 7th from noon to 1 pm – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe. Join us to discuss next steps toward nuclear disarmament – see below for the October 14th Defuse Nuclear War Picket at the Santa Fe Main Post Office.



  1. Friday, October 14th at noon – Join the Defuse Nuclear War peaceful protest outside of the Santa Fe Main Post Office, 120 S. Federal Place. Organized by Veterans for Peace, CCNS and Nuclear Watch NM.  For more information:  You can print out signs from the website.    



  1. POSTPONED to December – Tuesday, October 18th from 3 to 5 pm – virtual public meeting of the Radioactive Waste Consultation Task Force, also known as the Governor’s WIPP Task Force.



  1. Tuesday, October 18th Scoping Comments due to DOE/NNSA/LANL about the Notice of Intent to Prepare a Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Continued Operations of the Los Alamos National Laboratory. and   Sample public comments you can modify will be available at



  1. Thursday, October 20th from 5:30 to 7 pm – 35th Anniversary Celebration of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center at the Albuquerque office, 722 Isleta Blvd. SW. Join the celebration with delicious food and live music by Los Domingueros, New Mexico’s premier menudo-based band.



  1. Saturday, October 22nd at 11 am Mountain – White Mesa Ute Community Spiritual Walk & Protest: Protecting Our Communities, Health, Environment & Indigenous Sacred Landscapes.  The 11 am rally will be followed by the spiritual and protest walk to the White Mesa uranium mill.



  1. Monday, October 24th from 5:30 to 7 pm at Buffalo Thunder Resort & Casino – in person and virtual WIPP Community Forum & Open House. There will be a short presentation and an extended Q&A period with this caveat:  “Please remember that CBFO/NWP can only answer questions within WIPP’s purview.  Questions about surplus plutonium shipments, for example, must be directed to the National Nuclear Security Administration.”


A WIPP truck, with empty TRUPACTs, will be parked outside for viewing.

Register For In-Person Event:

Register For Virtual Event:


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