Action Needed: Advocate for Environmental Impact Statements for Proposed Plutonium Pit Expansions
Recently, the Department of Energy (DOE) and its semi-autonomous agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), determined that a new nationwide, or programmatic, environmental impact statement is not needed to increase the number of nuclear weapons triggers manufactured at Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) and the Savannah River Site. The federal agencies have also determined that a new site-wide environmental impact statement is not needed for LANL. DOE and NNSA have determined that they are not required to follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, along with Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, concur. In response, Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures created a petition to the Senators and the Congressman to demand that DOE and NNSA conduct a nationwide, or programmatic, environmental impact statement, followed by a site-wide environmental impact statement for LANL as required by NEPA.
The petition is available for download here: Petition-EIS for LANL Pit Production 2-20-20 Please gather signatures and join us on Tuesday, March 10th when the organizations will present the petition signatures to the offices of the Senators and Congressman in Santa Fe.
Since 1997, DOE limited production of plutonium pits, or the triggers for nuclear weapons, at LANL to 20 per year. Nevertheless, since that time, LANL has not produced anything near 20 pits per year – the most in one year was six. Safety and seismic issues shut down production for years. Even so, LANL is the only location in the U.S. for such work. Critics oppose the DOE’s plans to expand the number of plutonium triggers manufactured each year from 20 to 30 – an increase of 50 percent – and argue for the environmental impact statements.
At the same time, the federal agencies want to convert the failed Savannah River Site Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility to manufacture up to 50 pits per year. The agencies have determined that they would follow NEPA and issue a full environmental impact statement for public review and comment for the proposed operations at the Savannah River Site.
NEPA is required for major federal actions, including those that involve a “group of concerted actions to implement a specific policy or plan.” Expanding pit production at two major DOE sites is a major federal action requiring a programmatic environment impact statement.
To get involved, please download the petition, Petition-EIS for LANL Pit Production 2-20-20 gather signatures, and join us on Tuesday, March 10th to deliver the petition signatures to the offices of the Senators and Congressman. Together we are making a difference!
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Tags: CCNS, Congressman Ben Ray Lujan, Department of Energy, DOE, LANL, Los Alamos National Laboratory, Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility, National Environmental Policy Act, National Nuclear Security Administration, NEPA, NNSA, petition, plutonium pits, Savannah River Site, Senator Martin Heinrich, Senator Tom Udall, Taosenos for Peaceful and Sustainable Futures, triggers