Public Comments Needed for the Scope of Sandia National Laboratory Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement
CCNS has prepared sample public comments you can modify about the scope of a new draft site-wide environmental impact statement for Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico. Comments may be submitted electronically to SNL-SWEIS@nnsa.doe.gov through Monday, June 5th, 2023.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) provides the following note:
Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personally indentifiable information in your comment, please be advised that your entire comment – including your personally identifiable information – might be made publicly available. If you wish for NNSA to withhold your name and/or other personally identifiable information, please state this prominently at the beginning of your comment. You may submit comments anonymously.
Federal Register / Vol. 88, No. 77 / Friday, April 21, 2023 / Notices, p. 24607. https://www.energy.gov/sites/default/files/2023-04/noi-eis-0556-snl-site-wide-2023-04.pdf
Representatives of the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), which operates Sandia, said they expect the SWEIS process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) will take approximately 2 ½ years. The draft SWEIS may be released for public comment in 2024, with the final statement available in 2025, and the Record of Decision released in 2026. https://www.energy.gov/nepa/doeeis-0556-site-wide-environmental-impact-statement-continued-operation-sandia-national
Sandia says its analyses will cover the next 15 years of operations. Normally a SWEIS covers 10 years of operations. The most recent Sandia SWEIS was completed in 1999, which figures critically in the scope of the one now being drafted.
While there are Sandia facilities in California, Hawai’i, Nevada and other locations, this SWEIS is limited to operations in New Mexico, mostly located in the Albuquerque metro area. https://www.sandia.gov/
NEPA requires a wide-range of environmental analyses of impacts, from routine to emergency operations. These include impacts of climate change; impacts on cultural resources; and environmental justice and socioeconomic impacts on affected communities, among others.
Under NEPA, federal agencies propose alternatives for analyses, beginning with an alternative for no action in the situation as it stands to the preferred alternative.
Sandia’s proposed No-Action Alternative provides a benchmark for comparison with the other alternatives.
Sandia proposes a Modernized Operations Alternative. It includes construction of new facilities to replace aging facilities; upgrades to existing facilities and infrastructure; and decontamination, decommissioning and demolition projects.
Sandia’s Preferred Alternative includes the Modernized Operations Alternative and expansion of its operations and missions “to respond to further national security challenges and meet increasing requirements.” These include construction and operation of the Combined Radiation Environments for Survivability Testing (CREST) facility. The CREST would replace the Annular Core Research Reactor, an aging test reactor.
Sandia also proposes to construct a Next Generation Pulsed Power Facility for testing nuclear weapons in hostile environments. This facility would produce large X-ray and neutron outputs.
Importantly, Sandia is located within the Kirtland Air Force Base to the southeast of Albuquerque. Sandia is approximately 16,000 acres and contains about 900 buildings of approximately seven million square feet. The southern boundary is the Pueblo of Isleta, the eastern boundary is U.S. Forest Service land, and the northern and western boundaries are the City of Albuquerque.
Please submit your electronic comments to SNL-SWEIS@nnsa.doe.gov through Monday, June 5, 2023. Written comments on the scope of the SNL/NM SWEIS or requests for information related to it may be sent via postal mail to:
SNL/NM SWEIS Comments
National Nuclear Security Administration, Sandia Field Office
PO Box 5400
Albuquerque, NM 87185
- Friday, June 2nd from noon to 1 pm MT – 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, Nonviolent Santa Fe, and others.
- Friday, June 2nd at 1 pm MT – Too Hot to Handle: Managing Radioactive Waste in the U.S. with Dr. Arjun Makhijani, President of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER). To register for the zoom to view live or later: https://www.hanfordchallenge.org/nuclear-waste-scholar-series
- Tuesday, June 6, 2023 – comments due on the scope of an Environmental Assessment for the Chromium Interim Measures and Final Remedy at Los Alamos National Laboratory. CCNS will be requesting a 30-day extension of time to submit comments due to the complexity of the chromium plume.
Submit your comments to: EMLA-NEPA@em.doe.gov (preferred)
Please use the subject line: Chromium EA Scoping Comment
NEPA Compliance Officer
U.S. DOE Environmental Management Los Alamos Field Office
1200 Trinity Drive, Suite 400
Los Alamos, NM 87544
- Thursday, June 8th from 6:30 – 8:30 pm MT – in person and virtual Town Hall on Santa Fe Mountains Landscape Resiliency Project at Santa Fe Community College, Jemez Meeting Rooms. The Town Hall is hosted by Santa Fe County Commissioner Chair Anna Hansen (District 2) and the Santa Fe National Forest (SFNF). The purpose is to provide information about the Santa Fe Mountains Landscape Resiliency Project (SFMLRP) and give the public an opportunity to ask SFNF leadership program managers and resource specialists about upcoming plans and actions.
Note: There is road construction at the intersection of Richards Avenue and Avenida Del Sur. Allow additional time for travel and utilize detours (I-25 to Rabbit Road and through Oshara Village). For directions to SFCC during construction, visit https://www.sfcc.edu/upcoming-road-closure/
- Thursday, June 8th from 6 to 8 pm MT – Atomic Bamboozle: The False Promise of a Nuclear Renaissance. The Oregon Chapter of the Sierra Club is hosting an exclusive showing and panel discussion of the new 46-minute documentary that warns that so-called small modular nuclear reactors, or SMNRs, are simply the same dangerous nuclear technology in a new shiny wrapper. “New” nuclear is considered a climate solution – which it is not. Join filmmaker Jan Haaken to learn why SMNRs are a false solution.
To attend via Zoom:
|When:||Thursday, June 8, 2023 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM|
Daniel E. Fresquez <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Saturday, June 10th from 9:30 to 11:30 am MT – FLOW: remembering our way to a livable future – The unfolding of human/water relations in downtown Santa Fe. For more information: https://wisefoolnewmexico.org/flow2023/
- Wednesday, June 21, 2023 at 9 am MT – virtual and in-person public hearing about draft groundwater discharge renewal permit and modification application (DP-1481) for the URENCO USA uranium enrichment facility and depleted uranium byproduct storage in Eunice (five miles west of the Texas border) in southeast New Mexico. https://urencousa.com/
To view public hearing notice (GWQB 23-3), go to https://www.env.nm.gov/public-notices/ , scroll down to Lea County, click on URENCO USA.
As of Thursday, June 1, 2023, the 8,000 page Administrative Record for the public hearing has yet to be posted on the NMED website, despite assurances that it would be. https://www.env.nm.gov/opf/docketed-matters/ , scroll down to Environment Department Cabinet Secretary, to “Ground Water Quality Bureau 23-03 URENCO USA (UUSA) Discharge Permit Renewal and Modification Application DP-1481, Uranium Enrichment Facility and Depleted Uranium Byproduct Storage.”
To submit public comments: https://nmed.commentinput.com/?id=jMQtf
Tags: alternatives analyses, Annular Core Research Reactor, Combined Radiation Environments for Survivability Testing, CREST, Kirtland Air Force Base, Modernized Operations Alternative, National Environmental Policy Act, National Nuclear Security Administration, NEPA, Next Generation Pulsed Power Facility, NNSA, No Action Alternative, Preferred Alternative, Record of Decision, Sandia National Laboratory, site-wide environmental impact statement, SWEIS