Surplus Plutonium Disposition, 53350-53352 [2020-19023]

Download as PDF 53350 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 168 / Friday, August 28, 2020 / Notices Sunshine Act Meetings TIME AND DATE: 1:00 p.m., August 26, 2020. This meeting was held via teleconference. STATUS: Closed. The Board invoked the exemption described in 5 U.S.C. 552b(c)(6) and 10 CFR 1704.4(f). The Board has determined that it was necessary to close this meeting to the public since an open meeting would have likely disclosed information of a personal nature where disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. MATTERS TO BE CONSIDERED: At this meeting, members of the Board evaluated applicants for the position of Executive Director of Operations. CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION: Tara Tadlock, Director of Board Operations, Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, 625 Indiana Avenue NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20004–2901, (800) 788–4016. This is a toll-free number. PLACE: Dated: August 26, 2020. Bruce Hamilton, Chairman. [FR Doc. 2020–19119 Filed 8–26–20; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 3670–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED–2020–SCC–0043] Agency Information Collection Activities; Submission to the Office of Management and Budget for Review and Approval; Comment Request; Borrower Defense to Loan Repayment Universal Form Federal Student Aid (FSA), Department of Education (ED). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, ED is proposing a new information collection. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before September 28, 2020. ADDRESSES: Written comments and recommendations for proposed information collection requests should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to www.reginfo.gov/public/ do/PRAMain. Find this particular information collection request by selecting ‘‘Department of Education’’ under ‘‘Currently Under Review,’’ then check ‘‘Only Show ICR for Public Comment’’ checkbox. SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Aug 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 For specific questions related to collection activities, please contact Beth Grebeldinger, 202–377–4018. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Department of Education (ED), in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3506(c)(2)(A)), provides the general public and Federal agencies with an opportunity to comment on proposed, revised, and continuing collections of information. This helps the Department assess the impact of its information collection requirements and minimize the public’s reporting burden. It also helps the public understand the Department’s information collection requirements and provide the requested data in the desired format. ED is soliciting comments on the proposed information collection request (ICR) that is described below. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. Please note that written comments received in response to this notice will be considered public records. Title of Collection: Borrower Defense to Loan Repayment Universal Form. OMB Control Number: 1845–NEW. Type of Review: A new information collection. Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals or Households. Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 96,000. Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 48,000. Abstract: The Department of Education (the Department) amends the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan (Direct Loan) Program regulations issued under the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA), to implement changes made to the regulations in § 685.206(e)—Borrower responsibilities and defenses. These final regulations are a result of negotiated rulemaking and will add a new requirement to the current regulations. These final regulations require the collection of this information from borrowers who believe they qualify for a borrower defense to repayment discharge, as permitted FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: DEFENSE NUCLEAR FACILITIES SAFETY BOARD PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 under Section 455(h) of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended. The regulations provide, among other things, for the Secretary to discharge a borrower’s Direct Loan based on the loan in question being disbursed after July 1, 2020. The Department is attaching a list of elements that we are proposing be included on a revised Application for Borrower Defense to Loan Repayment form (Universal Borrower Defense Application). This revised form will be based on the current Universal Borrower Defense Application, OMB control number 1845–0146, and will facilitate processing claims from all borrowers who believe that they have a valid borrower defense claim. Dated: August 25, 2020. Kate Mullan, PRA Coordinator, Strategic Collections and Clearance Governance and Strategy Division Office of Chief Data Officer Office of Planning, Evaluation and Policy Development. [FR Doc. 2020–19029 Filed 8–27–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY National Nuclear Security Administration Surplus Plutonium Disposition National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy. ACTION: Amended record of decision. AGENCY: The Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) is announcing this amendment to the April 2003 Amended Record of Decision (AROD) for the Final Surplus Plutonium Disposition Environmental Impact Statement (Final SPD EIS) (DOE/EIS– 0283). In this AROD, DOE/NNSA is announcing its decision to use the dilute and dispose method to disposition up to 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium as contact handled transuranic (CH–TRU) waste at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). This AROD changes the disposition pathway for a portion of the 34 MT of surplus plutonium DOE/NNSA previously announced and decided in 2003 to fabricate into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel. DOE/NNSA prepared a Supplement Analysis (SA) for Disposition of Additional Non-Pit Surplus Plutonium (DOE/EIS–0283–SA–4, August 2020) to inform this decision. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on NEPA for the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program, please contact Mrs. Paloma E. Richard, Office SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 168 / Friday, August 28, 2020 / Notices of Material Disposition NEPA Document Manager, National Nuclear Security Administration, telephone (202) 586– 2777, or by email to Paloma.Richard@ nnsa.doe.gov. For information on DOE/NNSA’s NEPA process, please contact Ms. Amy Miller, NEPA Compliance Officer, National Nuclear Security Administration, Office of General Counsel, Telephone (505) 845–5090, or by email to amy.miller@nnsa.doe.gov. This Amended ROD, the SA for Disposition of Additional Non-Pit Plutonium, and related documents are available on the internet at http:// energy.gov/nepa. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background On April 19, 2002, DOE/NNSA issued a Federal Register notice that announced an AROD (67 FR 19432) for the SPD EIS (DOE/EIS–0283, November 1999). DOE/NNSA decided, among other things, to cancel the immobilization portion of the plutonium disposition strategy. A subsequent AROD (68 FR 20134) issued in April 2003 concluded that DOE/ NNSA would dispose of 34 MT using only the MOX Fuel Alternative. In April 2015, DOE/NNSA issued the Surplus Plutonium Disposition Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SPD SEIS, DOE/EIS–0283– S2). In the SPD SEIS, DOE/NNSA evaluated the environmental impacts of alternatives to disposition 13.1 metric tons (MT) of surplus plutonium, comprised of 7.1 MT of pit plutonium and 6 MT of non-pit plutonium. None of this material had a designated disposition pathway. DOE/NNSA analyzed the potential environmental impacts for the No Action Alternative and four action alternatives: (1) Immobilization at Savannah River Site (SRS) (Immobilization to Defense Waste Processing Facility [DWPF] Alternative); (2) fabrication into MOX fuel at SRS with subsequent irradiation in one or more domestic commercial nuclear power reactors (MOX Fuel Alternative); (3) vitrification with high-level radioactive waste (HLW) at SRS (HCanyon/HB-Line and DWPF Alternative); and, (4) disposal as CH– TRU waste at WIPP, a geologic repository for disposal of TRU waste generated by atomic energy defense activities (WIPP Disposal Alternative). These alternatives are composed of a combination of pit disassembly and conversion options and plutonium disposition alternatives. On December 24, 2015 (80 FR 80348), DOE/NNSA announced that its preferred alternative for disposition of VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Aug 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 the 6 MT of non-pit plutonium was preparation at SRS near Aiken, South Carolina, for disposal at WIPP near Carlsbad, New Mexico, using the WIPP Disposal Alternative (also known as the dilute and dispose method or plutonium downblending). DOE/NNSA did not state a preferred alternative for dispositioning the 7.1 MT of pit plutonium or the options for pit disassembly and conversion. In its April 5, 2016, ROD (81 FR 19588), DOE/ NNSA announced its decision to implement the preferred alternative: to use existing SRS facilities to prepare 6 MT of non-pit plutonium as CH–TRU waste for disposal at WIPP. In the 2016 ROD, DOE/NNSA stated that it would install and operate new gloveboxes in KArea or HB-Line to prepare surplus plutonium for disposition. DOE/NNSA resumed the process of preparing this plutonium for disposition on September 30, 2016 in K-Area. At that time, DOE/ NNSA did not change its previous decisions to disposition 34 MT of surplus plutonium. Supplement Analysis In accordance with DOE Regulations implementing the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at 10 CFR 1021.314, DOE/NNSA prepared an SA to consider if the proposal to prepare and dispose of additional non-pit plutonium 1 (rather than the pit plutonium described in the 2015 SPD SEIS) using the WIPP Disposal Alternative represented new information relevant to environmental concerns. In the SA, DOE/NNSA reviewed the analysis found in the 2015 SPD SEIS for preparing 13.1 MT of surplus plutonium for disposition using the WIPP alternative. Included in the SPD SEIS analysis were 6 MT of non-pit plutonium and 7.1 MT of pit plutonium. For both sets of material, plutonium must be in an oxide form so it can be downblended with adulterant to inhibit plutonium recovery and meet the WIPP waste acceptance criteria for CH–TRU waste. After characterization and certification activities of the downblended plutonium, waste containers would be staged, loaded into approved shipping containers, and transported for disposal at the WIPP facility. Aside from the initial step of disassembling pits, the remaining steps leading to disposal of this material at the WIPP facility are the 1 The 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium that is the subject of this decision is currently in non-pit form and does not require pit disassembly. However, some of this material may have been in the form of pits prior to this decision being announced, and disassembly for those pits was covered under prior NEPA analysis (see 63 FR 44851; 73 FR 55833). PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 53351 same for both pit and non-pit plutonium. The analysis in the SPD SEIS was based on using either Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (PF–4 facility) or SRS (K-Area facilities) for pit disassembly and oxide conversion activities, and K-Area facilities at SRS for downblending and characterization, to achieve the analyzed production rate. Given that the process steps and facilities would be the same as (or fewer than) those assessed for processing 7.1 MT of pit plutonium, DOE/NNSA concluded that the impacts of the proposed preparation of an additional 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium for disposal as CH–TRU waste at WIPP had been addressed in the 2015 SPD SEIS, and that no additional NEPA review was required. Amended Decision DOE/NNSA is amending its previous decision (68 FR 20134). DOE/NNSA has decided to dispose of an additional 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium CH–TRU waste at WIPP using the WIPP Disposal Alternative, rather than using this nonpit plutonium to manufacture MOX fuel. The process will be the same as described for the 6 MT of non-pit plutonium DOE/NNSA previously decided (81 FR 19588) to dispose of at WIPP using the WIPP Disposal Alternative. Conversion to oxide may be performed at either LANL or at SRS. Using facilities in K-Area at SRS, DOE/ NNSA will prepare up to an additional 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium, totaling up to 13.1 MT of non-pit plutonium, for disposal at WIPP. The plutonium oxide containers will be opened in K-Area gloveboxes. Plutonium oxide will be repackaged into suitable containers, mixed/blended with adulterant, and loaded into a criticality control overpack (CCO).2 The adulterant will inhibit plutonium recovery. To increase processing capacity for downblending, DOE/NNSA will rely on the existing single glovebox and the installation and operation of additional gloveboxes, which DOE/ NNSA analyzed for processing 6 MT in the SPD SEIS. This will allow DOE/ NNSA to prepare more plutonium in a shorter time for disposition, thereby accelerating removal of plutonium from the state of South Carolina. Loaded CCOs will be characterized and staged for WIPP disposal in E-Area or K-Area at SRS using non-destructive assay, digital radiography, and headspace gas 2 DOE/NNSA plans to move towards the use of the CCO containers in lieu of the POC to maximize the amount of plutonium that can be packaged in each container, thereby reducing the number of shipments and the number of disposal containers emplaced at WIPP. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1 53352 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 168 / Friday, August 28, 2020 / Notices sampling. Waste packages containing surplus plutonium CH–TRU waste that have been characterized and confirmed to meet the WIPP waste acceptance criteria will be placed in the queue of waste to be shipped to WIPP. The packages will be shipped to WIPP in approved shipping containers. Basis for Decision Implementing this decision will allow DOE/NNSA to continue dispositioning surplus weapons-usable plutonium in furtherance of the policies of the United States to ensure that such surplus plutonium is no longer in a form suitable for use in a nuclear weapon, and to accelerate removal of defense plutonium from the State of South Carolina. In making this decision, DOE/NNSA considered potential environmental impacts of construction and operations, current and future mission needs, availability of capabilities and resources, technical and security considerations, and the need to comply with legislation regarding removal of defense plutonium from South Carolina. Using the WIPP Disposal Alternative to disposition up to 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium allows DOE/NNSA to take advantage of existing facilities, infrastructure, and expertise at LANL, SRS, and WIPP. The decision builds on the existing capabilities, infrastructure, and skilled workforce trained in safe operation of nuclear facilities. Downblending for disposal at WIPP is a proven process that is ongoing for the 6 MT of surplus non-pit plutonium DOE/ NNSA decided to process through SRS and dispose of using this method (81 FR 19588). In addition, final disposition of this 7.1 MT of surplus plutonium will avoid long-term impacts, risks, and costs associated with continued secure storage. Signing Authority This document of the Department of Energy was signed on August 21, 2020, by Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Under Secretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator, NNSA, pursuant to delegated authority from the Secretary of Energy. That document with the original signature and date is maintained by DOE. For administrative purposes only, and in compliance with requirements of the Office of the Federal Register, the undersigned DOE Federal Register Liaison Officer has been authorized to sign and submit the document in electronic format for publication, as an official document of the Department of Energy. This administrative process in no way alters VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:16 Aug 27, 2020 Jkt 250001 the legal effect of this document upon publication in the Federal Register. Signed in Washington, DC, on August 25, 2020. Treena V. Garrett, Federal Register Liaison Officer, U.S. Department of Energy. [FR Doc. 2020–19023 Filed 8–27–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Dated: August 21, 2020. Kimberly D. Bose, Secretary. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [FR Doc. 2020–18919 Filed 8–27–20; 8:45 am] Combined Notice of Filings BILLING CODE 6717–01–P Take notice that the Commission has received the following Natural Gas Pipeline Rate and Refund Report filings: Docket Numbers: RP20–1108–000. Applicants: Southern Natural Gas Company, L.L.C. Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: Fuel Retention Rates—Winter 2020 to be effective 10/1/2020. Filed Date: 8/20/20. Accession Number: 20200820–5016. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 9/1/20. Docket Numbers: RP20–1109–000. Applicants: Colorado Interstate Gas Company, L.L.C. Description: Compliance filing Penalties Assessed Compliance Filing to be effective N/A. Filed Date: 8/20/20. Accession Number: 20200820–5023. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 9/1/20. Docket Numbers: RP20–1110–000. Applicants: Kern River Gas Transmission Company. Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: 2020 Mesquite Meter and UT/NV Pool to be effective 9/22/2020. Filed Date: 8/20/20. Accession Number: 20200820–5043. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 9/1/20. Docket Numbers: RP20–1111–000. Applicants: Transcontinental Gas Pipe Line Company, LLC. Description: § 4(d) Rate Filing: GT&C Section 49—Bid Evaluation to be effective 9/20/2020. Filed Date: 8/20/20. Accession Number: 20200820–5046. Comments Due: 5 p.m. ET 9/1/20. The filings are accessible in the Commission’s eLibrary system (https:// elibrary.ferc.gov/idmws/search/ fercgensearch.asp) by querying the docket number. Any person desiring to intervene or protest in any of the above proceedings must file in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Regulations (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214) on or before 5:00 p.m. Eastern PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 time on the specified date(s). Protests may be considered, but intervention is necessary to become a party to the proceeding. eFiling is encouraged. More detailed information relating to filing requirements, interventions, protests, service, and qualifying facilities filings can be found at: http://www.ferc.gov/ docs-filing/efiling/filing-req.pdf. For other information, call (866) 208–3676 (toll free). For TTY, call (202) 502–8659. DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. ER20–2694–000] Icon Energy LLC; Supplemental Notice That Initial Market-Based Rate Filing Includes Request for Blanket Section 204 Authorization This is a supplemental notice in the above-referenced proceeding of Icon Energy LLC’s application for marketbased rate authority, with an accompanying rate tariff, noting that such application includes a request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability. Any person desiring to intervene or to protest should file with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426, in accordance with Rules 211 and 214 of the Commission’s Rules of Practice and Procedure (18 CFR 385.211 and 385.214). Anyone filing a motion to intervene or protest must serve a copy of that document on the Applicant. Notice is hereby given that the deadline for filing protests with regard to the applicant’s request for blanket authorization, under 18 CFR part 34, of future issuances of securities and assumptions of liability, is September 10, 2020. The Commission encourages electronic submission of protests and interventions in lieu of paper, using the FERC Online links at http:// www.ferc.gov. To facilitate electronic service, persons with internet access who will eFile a document and/or be listed as a contact for an intervenor must create and validate an eRegistration account using the eRegistration link. Select the eFiling link to log on and submit the intervention or protests. E:\FR\FM\28AUN1.SGM 28AUN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 168 (Friday, August 28, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 53350-53352]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-19023]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

National Nuclear Security Administration


Surplus Plutonium Disposition

AGENCY: National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Amended record of decision.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security 
Administration (DOE/NNSA) is announcing this amendment to the April 
2003 Amended Record of Decision (AROD) for the Final Surplus Plutonium 
Disposition Environmental Impact Statement (Final SPD EIS) (DOE/EIS-
0283). In this AROD, DOE/NNSA is announcing its decision to use the 
dilute and dispose method to disposition up to 7.1 MT of non-pit 
plutonium as contact handled transuranic (CH-TRU) waste at the Waste 
Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP). This AROD changes the disposition pathway 
for a portion of the 34 MT of surplus plutonium DOE/NNSA previously 
announced and decided in 2003 to fabricate into mixed oxide (MOX) fuel. 
DOE/NNSA prepared a Supplement Analysis (SA) for Disposition of 
Additional Non-Pit Surplus Plutonium (DOE/EIS-0283-SA-4, August 2020) 
to inform this decision.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For information on NEPA for the 
Surplus Plutonium Disposition Program, please contact Mrs. Paloma E. 
Richard, Office

[[Page 53351]]

of Material Disposition NEPA Document Manager, National Nuclear 
Security Administration, telephone (202) 586-2777, or by email to 
[email protected].
    For information on DOE/NNSA's NEPA process, please contact Ms. Amy 
Miller, NEPA Compliance Officer, National Nuclear Security 
Administration, Office of General Counsel, Telephone (505) 845-5090, or 
by email to [email protected]. This Amended ROD, the SA for 
Disposition of Additional Non-Pit Plutonium, and related documents are 
available on the internet at http://energy.gov/nepa.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    On April 19, 2002, DOE/NNSA issued a Federal Register notice that 
announced an AROD (67 FR 19432) for the SPD EIS (DOE/EIS-0283, November 
1999). DOE/NNSA decided, among other things, to cancel the 
immobilization portion of the plutonium disposition strategy. A 
subsequent AROD (68 FR 20134) issued in April 2003 concluded that DOE/
NNSA would dispose of 34 MT using only the MOX Fuel Alternative.
    In April 2015, DOE/NNSA issued the Surplus Plutonium Disposition 
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SPD SEIS, DOE/EIS-0283-
S2). In the SPD SEIS, DOE/NNSA evaluated the environmental impacts of 
alternatives to disposition 13.1 metric tons (MT) of surplus plutonium, 
comprised of 7.1 MT of pit plutonium and 6 MT of non-pit plutonium. 
None of this material had a designated disposition pathway. DOE/NNSA 
analyzed the potential environmental impacts for the No Action 
Alternative and four action alternatives: (1) Immobilization at 
Savannah River Site (SRS) (Immobilization to Defense Waste Processing 
Facility [DWPF] Alternative); (2) fabrication into MOX fuel at SRS with 
subsequent irradiation in one or more domestic commercial nuclear power 
reactors (MOX Fuel Alternative); (3) vitrification with high-level 
radioactive waste (HLW) at SRS (H-Canyon/HB-Line and DWPF Alternative); 
and, (4) disposal as CH-TRU waste at WIPP, a geologic repository for 
disposal of TRU waste generated by atomic energy defense activities 
(WIPP Disposal Alternative). These alternatives are composed of a 
combination of pit disassembly and conversion options and plutonium 
disposition alternatives.
    On December 24, 2015 (80 FR 80348), DOE/NNSA announced that its 
preferred alternative for disposition of the 6 MT of non-pit plutonium 
was preparation at SRS near Aiken, South Carolina, for disposal at WIPP 
near Carlsbad, New Mexico, using the WIPP Disposal Alternative (also 
known as the dilute and dispose method or plutonium downblending). DOE/
NNSA did not state a preferred alternative for dispositioning the 7.1 
MT of pit plutonium or the options for pit disassembly and conversion. 
In its April 5, 2016, ROD (81 FR 19588), DOE/NNSA announced its 
decision to implement the preferred alternative: to use existing SRS 
facilities to prepare 6 MT of non-pit plutonium as CH-TRU waste for 
disposal at WIPP. In the 2016 ROD, DOE/NNSA stated that it would 
install and operate new gloveboxes in K-Area or HB-Line to prepare 
surplus plutonium for disposition. DOE/NNSA resumed the process of 
preparing this plutonium for disposition on September 30, 2016 in K-
Area. At that time, DOE/NNSA did not change its previous decisions to 
disposition 34 MT of surplus plutonium.

Supplement Analysis

    In accordance with DOE Regulations implementing the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) at 10 CFR 1021.314, DOE/NNSA prepared 
an SA to consider if the proposal to prepare and dispose of additional 
non-pit plutonium \1\ (rather than the pit plutonium described in the 
2015 SPD SEIS) using the WIPP Disposal Alternative represented new 
information relevant to environmental concerns. In the SA, DOE/NNSA 
reviewed the analysis found in the 2015 SPD SEIS for preparing 13.1 MT 
of surplus plutonium for disposition using the WIPP alternative.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ The 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium that is the subject of this 
decision is currently in non-pit form and does not require pit 
disassembly. However, some of this material may have been in the 
form of pits prior to this decision being announced, and disassembly 
for those pits was covered under prior NEPA analysis (see 63 FR 
44851; 73 FR 55833).
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Included in the SPD SEIS analysis were 6 MT of non-pit plutonium 
and 7.1 MT of pit plutonium. For both sets of material, plutonium must 
be in an oxide form so it can be downblended with adulterant to inhibit 
plutonium recovery and meet the WIPP waste acceptance criteria for CH-
TRU waste. After characterization and certification activities of the 
downblended plutonium, waste containers would be staged, loaded into 
approved shipping containers, and transported for disposal at the WIPP 
facility. Aside from the initial step of disassembling pits, the 
remaining steps leading to disposal of this material at the WIPP 
facility are the same for both pit and non-pit plutonium. The analysis 
in the SPD SEIS was based on using either Los Alamos National 
Laboratory (LANL) (PF-4 facility) or SRS (K-Area facilities) for pit 
disassembly and oxide conversion activities, and K-Area facilities at 
SRS for downblending and characterization, to achieve the analyzed 
production rate. Given that the process steps and facilities would be 
the same as (or fewer than) those assessed for processing 7.1 MT of pit 
plutonium, DOE/NNSA concluded that the impacts of the proposed 
preparation of an additional 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium for disposal 
as CH-TRU waste at WIPP had been addressed in the 2015 SPD SEIS, and 
that no additional NEPA review was required.

Amended Decision

    DOE/NNSA is amending its previous decision (68 FR 20134). DOE/NNSA 
has decided to dispose of an additional 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium CH-
TRU waste at WIPP using the WIPP Disposal Alternative, rather than 
using this non-pit plutonium to manufacture MOX fuel. The process will 
be the same as described for the 6 MT of non-pit plutonium DOE/NNSA 
previously decided (81 FR 19588) to dispose of at WIPP using the WIPP 
Disposal Alternative. Conversion to oxide may be performed at either 
LANL or at SRS. Using facilities in K-Area at SRS, DOE/NNSA will 
prepare up to an additional 7.1 MT of non-pit plutonium, totaling up to 
13.1 MT of non-pit plutonium, for disposal at WIPP.
    The plutonium oxide containers will be opened in K-Area gloveboxes. 
Plutonium oxide will be repackaged into suitable containers, mixed/
blended with adulterant, and loaded into a criticality control overpack 
(CCO).\2\ The adulterant will inhibit plutonium recovery. To increase 
processing capacity for downblending, DOE/NNSA will rely on the 
existing single glovebox and the installation and operation of 
additional gloveboxes, which DOE/NNSA analyzed for processing 6 MT in 
the SPD SEIS. This will allow DOE/NNSA to prepare more plutonium in a 
shorter time for disposition, thereby accelerating removal of plutonium 
from the state of South Carolina. Loaded CCOs will be characterized and 
staged for WIPP disposal in E-Area or K-Area at SRS using non-
destructive assay, digital radiography, and headspace gas

[[Page 53352]]

sampling. Waste packages containing surplus plutonium CH-TRU waste that 
have been characterized and confirmed to meet the WIPP waste acceptance 
criteria will be placed in the queue of waste to be shipped to WIPP. 
The packages will be shipped to WIPP in approved shipping containers.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ DOE/NNSA plans to move towards the use of the CCO containers 
in lieu of the POC to maximize the amount of plutonium that can be 
packaged in each container, thereby reducing the number of shipments 
and the number of disposal containers emplaced at WIPP.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Basis for Decision

    Implementing this decision will allow DOE/NNSA to continue 
dispositioning surplus weapons-usable plutonium in furtherance of the 
policies of the United States to ensure that such surplus plutonium is 
no longer in a form suitable for use in a nuclear weapon, and to 
accelerate removal of defense plutonium from the State of South 
Carolina.
    In making this decision, DOE/NNSA considered potential 
environmental impacts of construction and operations, current and 
future mission needs, availability of capabilities and resources, 
technical and security considerations, and the need to comply with 
legislation regarding removal of defense plutonium from South Carolina. 
Using the WIPP Disposal Alternative to disposition up to 7.1 MT of non-
pit plutonium allows DOE/NNSA to take advantage of existing facilities, 
infrastructure, and expertise at LANL, SRS, and WIPP. The decision 
builds on the existing capabilities, infrastructure, and skilled 
workforce trained in safe operation of nuclear facilities. Downblending 
for disposal at WIPP is a proven process that is ongoing for the 6 MT 
of surplus non-pit plutonium DOE/NNSA decided to process through SRS 
and dispose of using this method (81 FR 19588).
    In addition, final disposition of this 7.1 MT of surplus plutonium 
will avoid long-term impacts, risks, and costs associated with 
continued secure storage.

Signing Authority

    This document of the Department of Energy was signed on August 21, 
2020, by Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Under Secretary for Nuclear Security 
and Administrator, NNSA, pursuant to delegated authority from the 
Secretary of Energy. That document with the original signature and date 
is maintained by DOE. For administrative purposes only, and in 
compliance with requirements of the Office of the Federal Register, the 
undersigned DOE Federal Register Liaison Officer has been authorized to 
sign and submit the document in electronic format for publication, as 
an official document of the Department of Energy. This administrative 
process in no way alters the legal effect of this document upon 
publication in the Federal Register.

    Signed in Washington, DC, on August 25, 2020.
Treena V. Garrett,
Federal Register Liaison Officer, U.S. Department of Energy.
[FR Doc. 2020-19023 Filed 8-27-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P