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Watchdogs File Legal Petition with Energy Department Over Plutonium Pit Plans

Posted on Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Posted by Marylia Kelley

The noted environmental law firm of Eubanks and Associates has filed a formal petition on behalf of public interest groups Tri-Valley Communities Against a Radioactive Environment, Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Savannah River Site Watch and the Natural Resources Defense Council. Today’s action is a significant step toward mounting a potential legal challenge to the U.S. Department of Energy’s plans for expanded production of plutonium cores, or “pits,” for new-design nuclear weapons.

The petition was filed with the heads of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and its National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), and informs the agencies of their obligation to promptly issue a Record of Decision (ROD) on plans for expanding production of plutonium pits at the Los Alamos National Lab and the Savannah River Site.

Specifically, the petition addresses the agencies’ refusal to conduct programmatic environmental review of the plutonium pit program - all the while continuing to implement it in the absence of a published ROD, which is the usual trigger for litigation.

The watchdogs undertaking this action have a distinguished history of interceding in government decision-making on nuclear weapons that dates back four decades - and includes their analyses of plutonium programs as well as the filing of federal litigation under the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental and public right-to-know laws.

Click here to read the formal petition.

Click here to read the petition attachments.

Click here to read the press release.