Reading Room

Tri-Valley CAREs Submits "Scoping" Comments on Plan to Use Savannah River Site for Expanded Plutonium Bomb Core Production

Thursday, July 25, 2019
Posted by Scott Yundt, Nick Bastovan and Marylia Kelley


Today, Tri-Valley CAREs submitted technical comments on the government's plan to expand plutonium bomb core production from the current limit of 20 plutonium pits per year at the Los Alamos Lab in New Mexico to a new production level of 80 or more pits per year, with 50 or more of them to be manufactured annually at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina and 30 or more to be manufactured annually at Los Alamos

The comment period that closed today involves the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration's "Notice of Intent" to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement solely on the Savannah River Site portion of the overall pit production plan. This 30-day comment period enabled what are called "scoping" comments. Essentially, this was the public's opportunity to speak to the scope of issues that should be included in the upcoming review.

Tri-Valley CAREs' scoping comments restate our demand for an overarching Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement on expanded plutonium pit production rather than the current situation wherein NNSA is planning to review only piecemeal fragments of pit production, which may understate its full impacts on the environment in multiple states where the bomb core production, waste treatment, transportation, etc. would occur.

Our scoping comments also challenge the government's overall "purpose and need" in expanding plutonium pit production. We highlight the driving force for new pits, which is a new warhead under development at Livermore Lab.

Also, below, please find the scoping comments submitted by the national Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, of which Tri-Valley CAREs is a longstanding member (and has its executive director currently serving on the ANA board of directors).

Note: There will be further public comment periods on the various pieces of this plan to quadruple the authorized number of plutonium pits produced each year. Please see Tri-Valley CAREs' Summer 2019 newsletter Citizen's Watch for info on your next opportunity to speak out on this dangerous proposal to expand plutonium bomb core production.

CLICK HERE to read Tri-Valley CAREs' scoping comment.

CLICK HERE to read the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability's scoping comment.