Public Hearings for Proposed CMRR Nuclear Facility Begin May 23

May 13, 2011

In response to the request of 30 non-governmental organizations and four individuals, the National Nuclear Security Administration, a semi-autonomous agency within the Department of Energy (DOE), agreed to hold an additional public hearing in Albuquerque on Monday, May 23 about the draft environmental impact statement for the proposed Nuclear Facility. The proposed facility is a key component of the Chemistry and Metallurgy Research Replacement (CMRR) Project. DOE also agreed to a 15-day extension of time to provide public comments, which are now due on June 28.

Four public hearings will be held the week of May 23 from 5 to 9 pm at each location. The first hearing will be held on Monday, May 23 in Albuquerque at the Albuquerque Marriott, located at 2101 Louisiana North East. The second hearing will be held on Tuesday, May 24 in Los Alamos at the Holiday Inn Express, located at 60 Entrada Drive. The third hearing will be held on Wednesday, May 25 in Espa–ola at the Santa Claran Hotel, located at 464 North Riverside Drive. The fourth hearing will be held on Thursday, May 26 in Santa Fe at the Santa Fe Community College, located at 6401 Richards Avenue.

Taos Mayor Darren Cordova also requested a hearing in Taos. DOE denied that request, but additional efforts are being made to press DOE to hold a hearing in Taos. With gas prices approaching $4 a gallon, the non-governmental organizations argued that DOE has an obligation to hold a hearing in Taos.

In 2003, the CMRR Project was first estimated to cost $350 million. That price tag has ballooned to over $6 billion dollars in eight short years mainly due to new discoveries that the seismic hazard risks were greater than originally thought. As a result, additional design work is required. The proposed Nuclear Facility would include a 22,500 square foot area for working with special nuclear materials, including plutonium, an area that would be encompassed within a larger 400,000 gross square foot facility. The proposed facility would also store six metric tons, or about 13,200 pounds, of plutonium. It is estimated that the Nuclear Facility would have more concrete than in Elephant Butte Dam and more steel than the Eiffel Tower.

To keep informed about all these matters and to soon find talking points about the proposed Nuclear Facility, please visit the websites of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, CCNS, Los Alamos Study Group, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, and the Union of Concerned Scientists

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