Get Your Surplus Plutonium Draft EIS Comments Into DOE ASAP!
As if there is not enough going on, it’s time to get your personalized comments into the Department of Energy (DOE). It has published its unsupported draft environmental impact statement about DOE’s proposal for handling more than 48 metric tons of surplus plutonium – and maybe more – for decades to come. CCNS has prepared sample public comments you can modify, personalize, or cut and paste and submit to DOE on or before the Thursday, March 16th deadline. Written comments should be received or postmarked by the March 16th deadline to SPDP-EIS@nnsa.doe.gov. Here is a sample letter for your use: 2303016 sample Surplus-Pu-dEIS-comments
You can also mail your comments or phone them in. Details about how to do that are available at https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeeis-0549-surplus-plutonium-disposition-program Nevertheless, as stated in the public notice, “Comments received or postmarked after the comment period will be considered to the extent practicable.” CCNS recommends getting your comments in before Monday, March 20th.
Why is this draft environmental impact statement important to you? Because the proposed DOE plan will impact People living in the vicinity of the DOE facilities in Texas, New Mexico and South Carolina and along the transportation routes between those sites for decades. https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeeis-0549-surplus-plutonium-disposition-program
Here’s a brief summary of the DOE’s 3,300 mile proposed route for disposing of its surplus plutonium at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP), located 26 miles east of Carlsbad, New Mexico. DOE proposes to ship the triggers, or plutonium pits, for nuclear weapons, currently stored at the Pantex Plant, north of Amarillo, Texas, to Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL), in Northern New Mexico, to be pulverized into powdered plutonium. From LANL, the powdered plutonium would be shipped to the Savannah River Site, in South Carolina, so an adulterant to inhibit recovery of the plutonium would be added. From there, the waste would be shipped for disposal at WIPP.
Should there be an accident and a release of powdered plutonium, the consequences would be deadly. Inhaling plutonium or getting it into an open wound are the most dangerous forms of exposure. Once in the body, plutonium concentrates in the bone, blood and gonads, the primary reproductive organs. Plutonium exposure causes cancer 100 percent of the time.
Sandia National Laboratories has documented that it is nearly impossible to clean up an accident involving plutonium. Site Restoration: Estimation of Attributable Costs From Plutonium-Dispersal Accidents, Sandia National Laboratories, 1996, SAND96-0957; https://www.osti.gov/biblio/249283
DOE has been working on this plan for over three decades and CCNS has provided the history in previous Updates, which are listed here:
http://nuclearactive.org/news/082010.html – More Plutonium Destined to WIPP? Public Meetings in Carlsbad 8/24 and Santa Fe 8/26 (Aug. 20, 2010);
http://www.nuclearactive.org/wippplutoniumfactsheet.pdf – More Plutonium Coming to WIPP and LANL? (Aug. 8, 2012);
http://nuclearactive.org/news/081512.html – DOE Plans to Bring More Plutonium to WIPP and LANL (Aug. 15, 2012);
(Jan. 12, 2021);
(Jan. 19, 2021);
http://nuclearactive.org/newsbytes-about-wipp-and-lanl/ (Feb. 4, 2021);
http://nuclearactive.org/public-comments-needed-about-does-surplus-plutonium-plans/ (March 2, 2023); and
CCNS encourages you and your neighbors to submit comments that state that “We do not consent.”
- Friday, March 17th from noon to 1 pm – Join the weekly peaceful protest for nuclear disarmament on the corners of Alameda and Guadalupe in downtown Santa Fe with Veterans for Peace, CCNS, Nuclear Watch NM, Loretto Community, Pax Christi and others.
- Saturday March 18th at 2 pm at San Mateo & Gibson outside Kirtland Air Force Base – Peace in Ukraine – On the 20th Anniversary of the U.S. Invasion of Iraq, Say No to Endless U.S. Wars. Organized by ANSWER ALBUQUERQUE. For more information, https://www.answercoalition.org/albuquerque or call 505 392-8460.
- Thursday, March 23rd at 5:30 pm – WIPP Community Forum & Open House at the Hobbs Country Club, 5001 W. Carlsbad Hwy. The Carlsbad Field Office (CBFO) and the new contractor at WIPP, the Salado Isolation Mining Contractors (SIMCO), are hosting an in person and virtual meeting to provide a short update with an extended Q&A period. For more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-366-9477.
- Wednesday, March 29th at 5:30 to 7 pm – New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) and DOE Environmental Management Los Alamos (EM-LA) in person and virtual annual meeting about the 2016 Consent Order, Appendix B, cleanup sites at LANL. Connection information at: https://www.env.nm.gov/events-calendar/?trumbaEmbed=view%3Devent%26eventid%3D165903120 To view Appendix B – Milestones and Targets, go to: https://www.env.nm.gov/hazardous-waste/lanl/ and scroll down to 2016 Compliance Order on Consent to access the January and February 2023 updates.
- April 1st to 7th – Join the Sacred Peace Walk, an interfaith journey of approximately 60 miles from Las Vegas to the Nevada National Security Site (NNSS) (formerly the Nevada Test Site), through the Great Basin Desert in Nevada, on the beautiful traditional lands of the Indigenous Western Shoshone and Paiute Peoples, bringing the message of non-violence to the test site and Creech AFB (the center of drone warfare and assassination for the US military and the CIA). For more information, contact the Nevada Desert Experience at email@example.com and http://nevadadesertexperience.org/
- April 15th to 22nd – Shut Down Drone Warfare – Holloman Air Force Base in southern New Mexico – “From Tax Day to Earth Day, Rise Up!” Co-sponsored by CODEPINK, Veterans for Peace and Ban Killer Drones. Join for a week of peaceful resistance against drone warfare and out-of-control U.S. empire. Why Holloman? It is the largest-drone training base in the U.S. – training 600 or more drone pilots and operators annually. For more information: http://www.shutdowndronewarfare.org/
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