Amended Record of Decision for the Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement, 70598-70601 [2020-24516]

Download as PDF 70598 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 215 / Thursday, November 5, 2020 / Notices Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 4, 2021. ADDRESSES: To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED– 2020–SCC–0166. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. If the regulations.gov site is not available to the public for any reason, ED will temporarily accept comments at ICDocketMgr@ed.gov. Please include the docket ID number and the title of the information collection request when requesting documents or submitting comments. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the PRA Coordinator of the Strategic Collections and Clearance Governance and Strategy Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave. SW, LBJ, Room 6W208D, Washington, DC 20202–8240. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 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 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES DATES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:36 Nov 04, 2020 Jkt 253001 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: Third Party Authorization Form. OMB Control Number: 1845–NEW. Type of Review: A new information collection. Respondents/Affected Public: Individuals and Households. Total Estimated Number of Annual Responses: 100,000. Total Estimated Number of Annual Burden Hours: 25,000. Abstract: This is a request for a new information collection for a third-party authorization form to be used by federal student loan borrowers to designate or revoke a designation of an individual or organization to represent the borrower in matters related to their federally held student loans. This form will standardize the way that borrowers provide privacy act releases and authorization for a third party to take action on borrowers’ federal student loan accounts held by various servicers. This will standardize processes and help borrowers and their third-party representatives when loans transfer between servicers. This information collection stems from the Privacy Act of 1974 and the common law legal principles of agency, which is not reflected in the Department’s statute or regulations, but with which the Department must comply or which the Department supports. Dated: October 30, 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. 2020–24493 Filed 11–4–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY National Nuclear Security Administration Amended Record of Decision for the Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy. ACTION: Amended record of decision. AGENCY: The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semi-autonomous agency within the SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is announcing this amendment to the December 19, 2008, Record of Decision (ROD) for the Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement— Operations Involving Plutonium, Uranium, and the Assembly and Disassembly of Nuclear Weapons (Complex Transformation SPEIS—2008 Programmatic ROD). In this Amended ROD, NNSA announces its programmatic decision to implement elements of a Modified Distributed Centers of Excellence (DCE) Alternative whereby NNSA would produce a minimum of 50 war reserve pits per year at a repurposed Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) at the Savannah River Site (SRS) during 2030 for the national pit production mission and implement surge efforts to exceed 80 pits per year up to the analyzed limit as necessary beginning during 2030 for the nuclear weapons stockpile. This decision is supported at a programmatic level by the analysis in a Supplement Analysis (SA) to the Complex Transformation SPEIS (2019 SPEIS SA) (DOE/EIS–0236–SA–02), which NNSA prepared in 2019. After preparing and considering the 2019 SPEIS SA, NNSA has determined that no further NEPA analysis is needed at a programmatic level prior to issuing this Amended ROD. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this Amended ROD, contact: Mr. James R. Sanderson, Office of NEPA Policy and Compliance, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20585–0119; phone: (202) 586–1402; or email to: Jim.Sanderson@hq.doe.gov. This Amended ROD, the 2019 SPEIS SA, and related NEPA documents are available on the NNSA NEPA Reading Room website at https:// www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepareading-room. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background NNSA has a statutory mission to maintain and enhance the safety, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, including the ability to design, produce, and test, in order to meet national security requirements. In the Complex Transformation SPEIS, NNSA considered how to configure facilities that hold Category I and Category II quantities of Special Nuclear Material (SNM) across the nuclear weapons complex (Complex), including the three functional areas of plutonium, uranium operations, and assembly/disassembly/ E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 215 / Thursday, November 5, 2020 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES high explosives in various ways. These alternatives were broadly categorized into a DCE Alternative, a Consolidated Centers of Excellence (CCE) Alternative, and Capability-Based Alternative. The Complex Transformation SPEIS also analyzed a No Action Alternative. Pit production levels of up to 200 pits per year at a single site were analyzed in the DCE and CCE Alternatives, and nominal pit production levels of up to 50 pits per year were analyzed under the Capability-Based Alternative. With respect to plutonium operations and pit production, the 2008 Programmatic ROD continued NNSA’s prior decision to produce 20 pits per year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) until completion of a future Nuclear Posture Review (NPR). Both Federal law and national security policy now require pit production rates of not less than 80 pits per year nationally beginning during 2030 (50 U.S.C. 2538a, as amended). On September 2, 2020, NNSA published an Amended ROD for its programmatic decision to implement elements of a Modified DCE Alternative from the Complex Transformation SPEIS whereby LANL will produce a minimum of 30 war reserve pits per year for the national pit production mission during 2026 and implement surge efforts to exceed 30 pits per year as needed (85 FR 54550). That decision is unchanged by this Amended ROD. Because operations involving SNM are complex, implementing changes in operations such as pit production takes several years. NNSA is now issuing this Amended ROD on those aspects of the national pit production mission at SRS that have been analyzed at both the programmatic and site-specific level by final environmental impact statements. The scope of this Amended ROD is limited to plutonium operations related to pit production to sustain NNSA’s pit production capability and fulfill NNSA’s requirements under Federal law and national policy. All other activities conducted pursuant to decisions announced in the 2008 Programmatic ROD are outside the scope of this decision. Synopsis of the Programmatic EIS and the Supplemental Programmatic EIS Related to Plutonium Operations and the Associated Records of Decision During the Cold War, the U.S. maintained a pit production capacity of approximately 2,000 pits per year (actual production numbers are classified) but lost this large-scale production capability in the late 1980s. In 1996, the environmental effects of a production rate of up to 80 pits per year VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:36 Nov 04, 2020 Jkt 253001 at SRS and LANL were analyzed in the Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Stockpile Stewardship and Management (DOE/EIS–0236) (SSM PEIS). In December 1996, NNSA issued a ROD announcing a decision setting pit production at LANL at 20 pits per year (61 FR 68014; December 26, 1996). Tiering from the SSM PEIS, the 1999 Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for the Continued Operation of Los Alamos National Laboratory (DOE/EIS–0283) (1999 LANL SWEIS) provided site-specific analysis for pit production levels at LANL of up to 80 pits per year. In the 1999 LANL ROD, NNSA confirmed its decision for pit production at LANL at 20 pits per year. Various supplements to and reevaluations of the SSM PEIS were completed over the next several years. In 2008, NNSA prepared the Complex Transformation SPEIS, which analyzes the potential environmental impacts of alternatives for transforming the Complex in a manner consistent with national policy. Acknowledging the shifting needs of national security policy, the Complex Transformation SPEIS was prepared to provide NNSA with a flexible programmatic EIS that could be tiered from when the United States faced the need to implement changes to operations such as pit production. As it relates to plutonium operations, the Complex Transformation SPEIS evaluates the potential impacts of alternatives for structuring the Complex including the DCE Alternative, CCE Alternative, and Capability-Based Alternative, and each of these alternatives have several subalternatives. The 2008 LANL SWEIS again provided site-specific analysis for pit production levels at LANL of up to 80 pits per year. In the 2008 LANL SWEIS ROD and subsequent RODs, NNSA selected a No Action Alternative (continuation of existing operations) with some elements of an Expanded Operations Alternative, which maintained NNSA’s decision for pit production levels of 20 pits per year at LANL. In September 2020, NNSA finalized its first site-specific analysis for pit production at SRS, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Plutonium Pit Production at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina (DOE/EIS–0541). The Complex Transformation SPEIS considered a wide range of alternatives to provide NNSA with sufficient flexibility in the continued transformation of the Complex. Some of the specific elements of different alternatives and sub-alternatives in the Complex Transformation SPEIS include an analysis of the impacts associated PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 70599 with construction of a new pit production facility to produce 125 pits per year, with surge capacity to produce 200 pits per year. Sites that the Complex Transformation SPEIS evaluates for this level of pit production include LANL, SRS, the Pantex Plant (Pantex) in Texas, the Y–12 National Security Complex (Y–12) in Tennessee, and the Nevada National Security Site in Nevada. At LANL, the Complex Transformation SPEIS also includes an analysis of two distinct upgrades to existing facilities, rather than construction of a new facilities, including one to support production of 125 pits per year (with surge capacity to produce 200 pits per year) and one to support production of 50–80 pits per year. At SRS, the Complex Transformation SPEIS evaluated a pit production facility that would use the planned MFFF and Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility infrastructure. The alternative selected in the 2008 Programmatic ROD was a combination of the DCE Alternative and a Capability-Based Alternative in which, with respect to plutonium operations, NNSA did not make any new decisions related to pit production capacity beyond 20 pits per year at LANL. Changes Since Issuance of the Complex Transformation 2008 Programmatic ROD The United States has emphasized the need to eventually produce 80 pits per year and while the drivers and the requirement for pit production have remained relatively unchanged there have been specific changes in the law and national policy regarding pit production since issuance of the Complex Transformation SPEIS. Since 2014, Federal law has required the nuclear security enterprise to produce not less than 30 war reserve plutonium pits during 2026. Federal law now requires that the nuclear security enterprise produces not less than 80 war reserve plutonium pits during 2030 (50 U.S.C. 2538a, as amended). In addition, on January 27, 2017, the President directed the Department of Defense (DoD) to conduct an NPR which was issued in 2018. The 2018 NPR echoed the need for pit production and articulated a national policy that is consistent with Congressional and Presidential direction, stating that the United States will pursue initiatives to ensure the necessary capability, capacity, and responsiveness of the nuclear weapons infrastructure and the needed skill of the workforce, including providing the enduring capability and capacity to produce plutonium pits at a rate of no fewer than 80 pits per year during 2030. The 2018 NPR also details E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 70600 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 215 / Thursday, November 5, 2020 / Notices the evolving and uncertain nuclear threat environment facing the United States. Concurrent with the 2018 NPR, DOE conducted an Analysis of Alternatives (AoA) to identify and assess alternatives across DOE sites that could deliver the infrastructure to meet the sustained plutonium pit requirements of 80 pits per year. To achieve the required annual pit production rate, the AoA report considered the construction of new facilities and the refurbishment of existing facilities and identifies SRS and LANL as the two preferred alternatives to meet pit production requirements. In 2018, Congress and the President also directed that LANL will produce a minimum of 30 pits per year for the national pit production mission and directed it be capable of surge efforts to exceed 30 pits per year to meet NPR and national policy (Pub. L. 115–232, Section 3120). To these ends, the DoD Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment and the NNSA Administrator issued a Joint Statement on May 10, 2018, describing NNSA’s recommended alternative to pursue a two-site approach—50 pits per year produced at SRS and a minimum of 30 pits per year produced at LANL. In addition to improving the resiliency, flexibility, and redundancy of our nuclear security enterprise by reducing reliance on a single production site, this approach enables the capability to allow for enhanced warhead safety and security to meet DoD and NNSA requirements; deliberate, methodical replacement of older existing plutonium pits with newly manufactured pits as risk mitigation against plutonium aging; and response to changes in deterrent requirements driven by renewed great power competition. Finally, since issuance of the 2008 Programmatic ROD, a significant portion of the MFFF at SRS has been constructed. At the time that the Complex Transformation SPEIS was being completed, construction of the MFFF had just begun. The MFFF was built to produce mixed oxide fuel from surplus plutonium for use in commercial nuclear reactors. For a variety of reasons NNSA issued a Notice of Termination to the MFFF construction contractor on October 10, 2018, cancelling the contract for the facility. The constructed portion of MFFF was built to current safety and security standards and contains three floors and more than 400,000 square feet of available space. The potential availability of this facility is, in part, why NNSA has reevaluated a single pit production site at the programmatic level and has recently completed a site- VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:36 Nov 04, 2020 Jkt 253001 specific NEPA analysis for pit production at SRS. NEPA Process for Amending the ROD NNSA prepared this Amended ROD pursuant to the regulations of the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for implementing NEPA (40 CFR parts 1500–1508) and DOE’s NEPA implementing procedures (10 CFR part 1021). This Amended ROD is based on information and analysis in the Complex Transformation SPEIS (DOE/ EIS–0236–S4) issued on October 24, 2008 (73 FR 63460) and public comments received; the 2019 SPEIS SA (DOE/EIS–0236–SA–02) and public comments received; other NEPA analysis and public comments as noted in the 2019 SPEIS SA; and other factors including Federal law and NNSA’s mission. The Draft Complex Transformation SPEIS included a robust public participation process. NNSA received comments from Federal agencies; state, local, and tribal governments; public and private organizations; and individuals. In addition, during the 20 public meetings that NNSA held on the Draft Complex Transformation SPEIS, more than 600 speakers made oral comments. NNSA reviewed and considered all comments received on the Draft Complex Transformation SPEIS before issuing the 2008 Programmatic ROD. NNSA prepared the 2019 SPEIS SA to determine whether, prior to proceeding with the effort to produce plutonium pits at a rate of not less than 80 pits per year beginning during 2030, the existing Complex Transformation SPEIS should be supplemented, a new environmental impact statement be prepared, or that no further NEPA analysis is required. Although pertinent regulations do not require public comment on an SA, NNSA decided, in its discretion, that public comment in this instance would be helpful. NNSA issued the Draft 2019 SPEIS SA for public review on June 28, 2019 (84 FR 31055). NNSA considered all comments received during the public comment period. NNSA also reviewed all comment documents received during the public scoping process for the sitespecific SRS Pit Production EIS for relevance to the 2019 SPEIS SA. NNSA included a comment response document as Appendix A to the Final 2019 SPEIS SA. The Final 2019 SPEIS SA was announced on January 8, 2020 (85 FR 887). Since announcing the availability of the Final 2019 SPEIS SA, NNSA has received additional comments related to the need for a programmatic EIS. NNSA considered those comments during the preparation of this Amended ROD. PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Summary of Impacts In Section 2.3 of the 2019 SPEIS SA, NNSA discusses environmental changes at SRS and LANL that have occurred since publication of the Complex Transformation SPEIS and that are relevant to the analysis in the 2019 SPEIS SA. The 2019 SPEIS SA analyzes the potential impacts of the Proposed Action on land resources, visual resources, noise, air quality, water resources, geology and soils, ecological resources, cultural resources, socioeconomics, environmental justice, infrastructure, health and safety for normal operations, accidents and intentional destructive acts, waste management, and transportation and traffic. Section 3.2 of the 2019 SPEIS SA provides (1) a summary of the potential environmental impacts from the Complex Transformation SPEIS, (2) the estimate of potential impacts specific to the Proposed Action, and (3) a more detailed analysis of potential impacts for those NEPA resource areas where NNSA determined that there might be potentially significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns. Tables 3–1 and 3–2 of the 2019 SPEIS SA present information in a comparative fashion for each resource area. Table 3–3 addresses the combined impacts, to the extent that they are known at this time, from pit production at both SRS and LANL. Table 3–4 addresses Complex-wide transportation impacts. Section 4.0 of the 2019 SPEIS SA analyzes cumulative impacts at both a programmatic level and site-specific level. NNSA’s conclusion based on the Final 2019 SPEIS SA is that complex-wide impacts of adopting a Modified DCE Alternative for plutonium operations for all resource areas would not be different, or would not be significantly different, than impacts in existing NEPA analyses. NNSA has determined that that the proposed action does not constitute a substantial change from actions analyzed previously and there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns. Thus, consistent with 10 CFR 1021.315(e), the existing 2008 Programmatic ROD for the Complex Transformation SPEIS can be amended at this time to document NNSA’s decision to implement the two-site approach for pit production at SRS and LANL. In addition, NNSA is separately issuing a ROD for the site-specific SRS Pit Production EIS. Environmentally Preferable Alternative The analyses in the Complex Transformation SPEIS of the E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 215 / Thursday, November 5, 2020 / Notices environmental impacts associated with the programmatic alternatives indicated that the No Net Production/Capability Based Alternative is environmentally preferable. Under this alternative NNSA would maintain capabilities to continue surveillance of the weapons stockpile, produce limited life components, and dismantle weapons, but would not add new types or increased numbers of weapons to the stockpile. This alternative would result in the minimum infrastructure demands, produce the least amount of wastes, reduce worker radiation doses, and require the fewest employees. Almost all of these reductions in potential impacts result from the reduced production levels assumed for this alternative. The environmentally preferable alternative for programmatic alternatives accounts for actions across the complex at multiple sites. This determination may not apply to sitespecific determinations where other factors are considered in the analysis. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Amended Decision NNSA has decided at a programmatic level to implement aspects of a Modified DCE Alternative from the Complex Transformation SPEIS to produce a minimum of 50 pits per year at a repurposed MFFF at SRS, with additional surge capacity, if needed, to meet the requirements of producing not less than 80 pits per year beginning during 2030 for the nuclear weapons stockpile. This decision continues the transformation of the Complex following the end of the Cold War and the cessation of nuclear weapons testing, particularly decisions announced in the 1996 ROD for the SSM PEIS (DOE/EIS–0236) (61 FR 68014; Dec. 26, 1996) and the 2008 Programmatic Alternatives ROD for the Complex Transformation SPEIS. This Amended ROD modifies only the plutonium operations aspects of the 2008 Programmatic ROD. NNSA has made no proposals to, and there are no changes to, NNSA’s decisions on other aspects of the 2008 Programmatic ROD or to the September 2020 Amended ROD to produce a minimum of 30 war reserve pits per year at LANL for the national pit production mission during 2026 and implement surge efforts to exceed 30 pits per year as needed. Basis for Decision In making this decision, NNSA considered the 2019 SPEIS SA, the Complex Transformation SPEIS, other referenced NEPA analyses, and its statutory responsibilities to support the nuclear weapons stockpile. Federal law and national security policies continue VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:36 Nov 04, 2020 Jkt 253001 to require NNSA to maintain a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile and create a responsive nuclear weapons infrastructure that are cost-effective and have adequate capacity to meet reasonably foreseeable national security requirements. This Amended ROD will enable NNSA to continue meeting Federal law and national security requirements. As described in the Complex Transformation SPEIS and the 2008 Programmatic ROD, NNSA operates in compliance with environmental laws, regulations, and policies within a framework of contractual requirements; many of these requirements mandate actions to control and mitigate potential adverse environmental effects. Examples of mitigation measures include site security and threat protection plans, emergency plans, Integrated Safety Management Systems, pollution prevention and waste minimization programs, cultural resource and protected species programs, and energy and water conservation programs. Any additional site-specific mitigation actions would be identified in site-specific NEPA documents. Signing Authority This document of the Department of Energy was signed on October 30, 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 October 30, 2020. Treena V. Garrett, Federal Register Liaison Officer, U.S. Department of Energy. [FR Doc. 2020–24516 Filed 11–4–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY National Nuclear Security Administration Record of Decision for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Plutonium Pit Production at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina (DOE/EIS–0541) National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy. ACTION: Record of decision. AGENCY: Mitigation Measures PO 00000 70601 Sfmt 4703 The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semi-autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is announcing this Record of Decision (ROD) for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Plutonium Pit Production at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina (SRS Pit Production EIS) (DOE/EIS–0541). In this ROD, NNSA announces its decision to implement the Proposed Action to repurpose the Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) to produce a minimum of 50 war reserve pits per year at SRS and to develop the ability to implement a short-term surge capacity to enable NNSA to meet the requirements of producing pits at a rate of not less than 80 war reserve pits per year up to the analyzed limit as necessary beginning during 2030 for the nuclear weapons stockpile. NNSA has previously evaluated this action at the programmatic level in the 2008 Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic EIS (Complex Transformation SPEIS), and recently in a separate Complex Transformation SPEIS Supplement Analysis (2019 SPEIS SA). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this ROD or the SRS Pit Production EIS, contact: Jennifer Nelson, NEPA Document Manager, National Nuclear Security Administration, Savannah River Field Office, P.O. Box A, Aiken, SC 29802; phone: (803) 557–6372 or (803) 557– NEPA; or via email at NEPA-SRS@ srs.gov. This ROD, the SRS Pit Production EIS, and related NEPA documents are available at https:// www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepareading-room. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background NNSA has a statutory mission to maintain and enhance the safety, reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile including the ability to design, produce, and test, in order to meet national security E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 215 (Thursday, November 5, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70598-70601]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-24516]


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DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY

National Nuclear Security Administration


Amended Record of Decision for the Complex Transformation 
Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

AGENCY: National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Amended record of decision.

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SUMMARY: The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA), a semi-
autonomous agency within the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), is 
announcing this amendment to the December 19, 2008, Record of Decision 
(ROD) for the Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement--Operations Involving Plutonium, 
Uranium, and the Assembly and Disassembly of Nuclear Weapons (Complex 
Transformation SPEIS--2008 Programmatic ROD). In this Amended ROD, NNSA 
announces its programmatic decision to implement elements of a Modified 
Distributed Centers of Excellence (DCE) Alternative whereby NNSA would 
produce a minimum of 50 war reserve pits per year at a repurposed 
Mixed-Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility (MFFF) at the Savannah River Site 
(SRS) during 2030 for the national pit production mission and implement 
surge efforts to exceed 80 pits per year up to the analyzed limit as 
necessary beginning during 2030 for the nuclear weapons stockpile. This 
decision is supported at a programmatic level by the analysis in a 
Supplement Analysis (SA) to the Complex Transformation SPEIS (2019 
SPEIS SA) (DOE/EIS-0236-SA-02), which NNSA prepared in 2019. After 
preparing and considering the 2019 SPEIS SA, NNSA has determined that 
no further NEPA analysis is needed at a programmatic level prior to 
issuing this Amended ROD.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information on this 
Amended ROD, contact: Mr. James R. Sanderson, Office of NEPA Policy and 
Compliance, U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 Independence Avenue SW, 
Washington, DC 20585-0119; phone: (202) 586-1402; or email to: 
[email protected]. This Amended ROD, the 2019 SPEIS SA, and 
related NEPA documents are available on the NNSA NEPA Reading Room 
website at https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    NNSA has a statutory mission to maintain and enhance the safety, 
reliability, and performance of the U.S. nuclear weapons stockpile, 
including the ability to design, produce, and test, in order to meet 
national security requirements. In the Complex Transformation SPEIS, 
NNSA considered how to configure facilities that hold Category I and 
Category II quantities of Special Nuclear Material (SNM) across the 
nuclear weapons complex (Complex), including the three functional areas 
of plutonium, uranium operations, and assembly/disassembly/

[[Page 70599]]

high explosives in various ways. These alternatives were broadly 
categorized into a DCE Alternative, a Consolidated Centers of 
Excellence (CCE) Alternative, and Capability-Based Alternative. The 
Complex Transformation SPEIS also analyzed a No Action Alternative. Pit 
production levels of up to 200 pits per year at a single site were 
analyzed in the DCE and CCE Alternatives, and nominal pit production 
levels of up to 50 pits per year were analyzed under the Capability-
Based Alternative. With respect to plutonium operations and pit 
production, the 2008 Programmatic ROD continued NNSA's prior decision 
to produce 20 pits per year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory 
(LANL) until completion of a future Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).
    Both Federal law and national security policy now require pit 
production rates of not less than 80 pits per year nationally beginning 
during 2030 (50 U.S.C. 2538a, as amended). On September 2, 2020, NNSA 
published an Amended ROD for its programmatic decision to implement 
elements of a Modified DCE Alternative from the Complex Transformation 
SPEIS whereby LANL will produce a minimum of 30 war reserve pits per 
year for the national pit production mission during 2026 and implement 
surge efforts to exceed 30 pits per year as needed (85 FR 54550). That 
decision is unchanged by this Amended ROD. Because operations involving 
SNM are complex, implementing changes in operations such as pit 
production takes several years. NNSA is now issuing this Amended ROD on 
those aspects of the national pit production mission at SRS that have 
been analyzed at both the programmatic and site-specific level by final 
environmental impact statements. The scope of this Amended ROD is 
limited to plutonium operations related to pit production to sustain 
NNSA's pit production capability and fulfill NNSA's requirements under 
Federal law and national policy. All other activities conducted 
pursuant to decisions announced in the 2008 Programmatic ROD are 
outside the scope of this decision.

Synopsis of the Programmatic EIS and the Supplemental Programmatic EIS 
Related to Plutonium Operations and the Associated Records of Decision

    During the Cold War, the U.S. maintained a pit production capacity 
of approximately 2,000 pits per year (actual production numbers are 
classified) but lost this large-scale production capability in the late 
1980s. In 1996, the environmental effects of a production rate of up to 
80 pits per year at SRS and LANL were analyzed in the Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement for Stockpile Stewardship and Management 
(DOE/EIS-0236) (SSM PEIS). In December 1996, NNSA issued a ROD 
announcing a decision setting pit production at LANL at 20 pits per 
year (61 FR 68014; December 26, 1996). Tiering from the SSM PEIS, the 
1999 Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for the Continued 
Operation of Los Alamos National Laboratory (DOE/EIS-0283) (1999 LANL 
SWEIS) provided site-specific analysis for pit production levels at 
LANL of up to 80 pits per year. In the 1999 LANL ROD, NNSA confirmed 
its decision for pit production at LANL at 20 pits per year. Various 
supplements to and re-evaluations of the SSM PEIS were completed over 
the next several years.
    In 2008, NNSA prepared the Complex Transformation SPEIS, which 
analyzes the potential environmental impacts of alternatives for 
transforming the Complex in a manner consistent with national policy. 
Acknowledging the shifting needs of national security policy, the 
Complex Transformation SPEIS was prepared to provide NNSA with a 
flexible programmatic EIS that could be tiered from when the United 
States faced the need to implement changes to operations such as pit 
production. As it relates to plutonium operations, the Complex 
Transformation SPEIS evaluates the potential impacts of alternatives 
for structuring the Complex including the DCE Alternative, CCE 
Alternative, and Capability-Based Alternative, and each of these 
alternatives have several sub-alternatives. The 2008 LANL SWEIS again 
provided site-specific analysis for pit production levels at LANL of up 
to 80 pits per year. In the 2008 LANL SWEIS ROD and subsequent RODs, 
NNSA selected a No Action Alternative (continuation of existing 
operations) with some elements of an Expanded Operations Alternative, 
which maintained NNSA's decision for pit production levels of 20 pits 
per year at LANL. In September 2020, NNSA finalized its first site-
specific analysis for pit production at SRS, the Final Environmental 
Impact Statement (EIS) for Plutonium Pit Production at the Savannah 
River Site (SRS) in South Carolina (DOE/EIS-0541).
    The Complex Transformation SPEIS considered a wide range of 
alternatives to provide NNSA with sufficient flexibility in the 
continued transformation of the Complex. Some of the specific elements 
of different alternatives and sub-alternatives in the Complex 
Transformation SPEIS include an analysis of the impacts associated with 
construction of a new pit production facility to produce 125 pits per 
year, with surge capacity to produce 200 pits per year. Sites that the 
Complex Transformation SPEIS evaluates for this level of pit production 
include LANL, SRS, the Pantex Plant (Pantex) in Texas, the Y-12 
National Security Complex (Y-12) in Tennessee, and the Nevada National 
Security Site in Nevada. At LANL, the Complex Transformation SPEIS also 
includes an analysis of two distinct upgrades to existing facilities, 
rather than construction of a new facilities, including one to support 
production of 125 pits per year (with surge capacity to produce 200 
pits per year) and one to support production of 50-80 pits per year. At 
SRS, the Complex Transformation SPEIS evaluated a pit production 
facility that would use the planned MFFF and Pit Disassembly and 
Conversion Facility infrastructure. The alternative selected in the 
2008 Programmatic ROD was a combination of the DCE Alternative and a 
Capability-Based Alternative in which, with respect to plutonium 
operations, NNSA did not make any new decisions related to pit 
production capacity beyond 20 pits per year at LANL.

Changes Since Issuance of the Complex Transformation 2008 Programmatic 
ROD

    The United States has emphasized the need to eventually produce 80 
pits per year and while the drivers and the requirement for pit 
production have remained relatively unchanged there have been specific 
changes in the law and national policy regarding pit production since 
issuance of the Complex Transformation SPEIS. Since 2014, Federal law 
has required the nuclear security enterprise to produce not less than 
30 war reserve plutonium pits during 2026. Federal law now requires 
that the nuclear security enterprise produces not less than 80 war 
reserve plutonium pits during 2030 (50 U.S.C. 2538a, as amended).
    In addition, on January 27, 2017, the President directed the 
Department of Defense (DoD) to conduct an NPR which was issued in 2018. 
The 2018 NPR echoed the need for pit production and articulated a 
national policy that is consistent with Congressional and Presidential 
direction, stating that the United States will pursue initiatives to 
ensure the necessary capability, capacity, and responsiveness of the 
nuclear weapons infrastructure and the needed skill of the workforce, 
including providing the enduring capability and capacity to produce 
plutonium pits at a rate of no fewer than 80 pits per year during 2030. 
The 2018 NPR also details

[[Page 70600]]

the evolving and uncertain nuclear threat environment facing the United 
States. Concurrent with the 2018 NPR, DOE conducted an Analysis of 
Alternatives (AoA) to identify and assess alternatives across DOE sites 
that could deliver the infrastructure to meet the sustained plutonium 
pit requirements of 80 pits per year. To achieve the required annual 
pit production rate, the AoA report considered the construction of new 
facilities and the refurbishment of existing facilities and identifies 
SRS and LANL as the two preferred alternatives to meet pit production 
requirements.
    In 2018, Congress and the President also directed that LANL will 
produce a minimum of 30 pits per year for the national pit production 
mission and directed it be capable of surge efforts to exceed 30 pits 
per year to meet NPR and national policy (Pub. L. 115-232, Section 
3120). To these ends, the DoD Under Secretary of Defense for 
Acquisition and Sustainment and the NNSA Administrator issued a Joint 
Statement on May 10, 2018, describing NNSA's recommended alternative to 
pursue a two-site approach--50 pits per year produced at SRS and a 
minimum of 30 pits per year produced at LANL. In addition to improving 
the resiliency, flexibility, and redundancy of our nuclear security 
enterprise by reducing reliance on a single production site, this 
approach enables the capability to allow for enhanced warhead safety 
and security to meet DoD and NNSA requirements; deliberate, methodical 
replacement of older existing plutonium pits with newly manufactured 
pits as risk mitigation against plutonium aging; and response to 
changes in deterrent requirements driven by renewed great power 
competition.
    Finally, since issuance of the 2008 Programmatic ROD, a significant 
portion of the MFFF at SRS has been constructed. At the time that the 
Complex Transformation SPEIS was being completed, construction of the 
MFFF had just begun. The MFFF was built to produce mixed oxide fuel 
from surplus plutonium for use in commercial nuclear reactors. For a 
variety of reasons NNSA issued a Notice of Termination to the MFFF 
construction contractor on October 10, 2018, cancelling the contract 
for the facility. The constructed portion of MFFF was built to current 
safety and security standards and contains three floors and more than 
400,000 square feet of available space. The potential availability of 
this facility is, in part, why NNSA has reevaluated a single pit 
production site at the programmatic level and has recently completed a 
site-specific NEPA analysis for pit production at SRS.

NEPA Process for Amending the ROD

    NNSA prepared this Amended ROD pursuant to the regulations of the 
Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) for implementing NEPA (40 CFR 
parts 1500-1508) and DOE's NEPA implementing procedures (10 CFR part 
1021). This Amended ROD is based on information and analysis in the 
Complex Transformation SPEIS (DOE/EIS-0236-S4) issued on October 24, 
2008 (73 FR 63460) and public comments received; the 2019 SPEIS SA 
(DOE/EIS-0236-SA-02) and public comments received; other NEPA analysis 
and public comments as noted in the 2019 SPEIS SA; and other factors 
including Federal law and NNSA's mission.
    The Draft Complex Transformation SPEIS included a robust public 
participation process. NNSA received comments from Federal agencies; 
state, local, and tribal governments; public and private organizations; 
and individuals. In addition, during the 20 public meetings that NNSA 
held on the Draft Complex Transformation SPEIS, more than 600 speakers 
made oral comments. NNSA reviewed and considered all comments received 
on the Draft Complex Transformation SPEIS before issuing the 2008 
Programmatic ROD.
    NNSA prepared the 2019 SPEIS SA to determine whether, prior to 
proceeding with the effort to produce plutonium pits at a rate of not 
less than 80 pits per year beginning during 2030, the existing Complex 
Transformation SPEIS should be supplemented, a new environmental impact 
statement be prepared, or that no further NEPA analysis is required. 
Although pertinent regulations do not require public comment on an SA, 
NNSA decided, in its discretion, that public comment in this instance 
would be helpful. NNSA issued the Draft 2019 SPEIS SA for public review 
on June 28, 2019 (84 FR 31055). NNSA considered all comments received 
during the public comment period. NNSA also reviewed all comment 
documents received during the public scoping process for the site-
specific SRS Pit Production EIS for relevance to the 2019 SPEIS SA. 
NNSA included a comment response document as Appendix A to the Final 
2019 SPEIS SA. The Final 2019 SPEIS SA was announced on January 8, 2020 
(85 FR 887). Since announcing the availability of the Final 2019 SPEIS 
SA, NNSA has received additional comments related to the need for a 
programmatic EIS. NNSA considered those comments during the preparation 
of this Amended ROD.

Summary of Impacts

    In Section 2.3 of the 2019 SPEIS SA, NNSA discusses environmental 
changes at SRS and LANL that have occurred since publication of the 
Complex Transformation SPEIS and that are relevant to the analysis in 
the 2019 SPEIS SA. The 2019 SPEIS SA analyzes the potential impacts of 
the Proposed Action on land resources, visual resources, noise, air 
quality, water resources, geology and soils, ecological resources, 
cultural resources, socioeconomics, environmental justice, 
infrastructure, health and safety for normal operations, accidents and 
intentional destructive acts, waste management, and transportation and 
traffic. Section 3.2 of the 2019 SPEIS SA provides (1) a summary of the 
potential environmental impacts from the Complex Transformation SPEIS, 
(2) the estimate of potential impacts specific to the Proposed Action, 
and (3) a more detailed analysis of potential impacts for those NEPA 
resource areas where NNSA determined that there might be potentially 
significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental 
concerns. Tables 3-1 and 3-2 of the 2019 SPEIS SA present information 
in a comparative fashion for each resource area. Table 3-3 addresses 
the combined impacts, to the extent that they are known at this time, 
from pit production at both SRS and LANL. Table 3-4 addresses Complex-
wide transportation impacts. Section 4.0 of the 2019 SPEIS SA analyzes 
cumulative impacts at both a programmatic level and site-specific 
level. NNSA's conclusion based on the Final 2019 SPEIS SA is that 
complex-wide impacts of adopting a Modified DCE Alternative for 
plutonium operations for all resource areas would not be different, or 
would not be significantly different, than impacts in existing NEPA 
analyses. NNSA has determined that that the proposed action does not 
constitute a substantial change from actions analyzed previously and 
there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to 
environmental concerns. Thus, consistent with 10 CFR 1021.315(e), the 
existing 2008 Programmatic ROD for the Complex Transformation SPEIS can 
be amended at this time to document NNSA's decision to implement the 
two-site approach for pit production at SRS and LANL. In addition, NNSA 
is separately issuing a ROD for the site-specific SRS Pit Production 
EIS.

Environmentally Preferable Alternative

    The analyses in the Complex Transformation SPEIS of the

[[Page 70601]]

environmental impacts associated with the programmatic alternatives 
indicated that the No Net Production/Capability Based Alternative is 
environmentally preferable. Under this alternative NNSA would maintain 
capabilities to continue surveillance of the weapons stockpile, produce 
limited life components, and dismantle weapons, but would not add new 
types or increased numbers of weapons to the stockpile. This 
alternative would result in the minimum infrastructure demands, produce 
the least amount of wastes, reduce worker radiation doses, and require 
the fewest employees. Almost all of these reductions in potential 
impacts result from the reduced production levels assumed for this 
alternative. The environmentally preferable alternative for 
programmatic alternatives accounts for actions across the complex at 
multiple sites. This determination may not apply to site-specific 
determinations where other factors are considered in the analysis.

Amended Decision

    NNSA has decided at a programmatic level to implement aspects of a 
Modified DCE Alternative from the Complex Transformation SPEIS to 
produce a minimum of 50 pits per year at a repurposed MFFF at SRS, with 
additional surge capacity, if needed, to meet the requirements of 
producing not less than 80 pits per year beginning during 2030 for the 
nuclear weapons stockpile. This decision continues the transformation 
of the Complex following the end of the Cold War and the cessation of 
nuclear weapons testing, particularly decisions announced in the 1996 
ROD for the SSM PEIS (DOE/EIS-0236) (61 FR 68014; Dec. 26, 1996) and 
the 2008 Programmatic Alternatives ROD for the Complex Transformation 
SPEIS. This Amended ROD modifies only the plutonium operations aspects 
of the 2008 Programmatic ROD. NNSA has made no proposals to, and there 
are no changes to, NNSA's decisions on other aspects of the 2008 
Programmatic ROD or to the September 2020 Amended ROD to produce a 
minimum of 30 war reserve pits per year at LANL for the national pit 
production mission during 2026 and implement surge efforts to exceed 30 
pits per year as needed.

Basis for Decision

    In making this decision, NNSA considered the 2019 SPEIS SA, the 
Complex Transformation SPEIS, other referenced NEPA analyses, and its 
statutory responsibilities to support the nuclear weapons stockpile. 
Federal law and national security policies continue to require NNSA to 
maintain a safe, secure, and reliable nuclear weapons stockpile and 
create a responsive nuclear weapons infrastructure that are cost-
effective and have adequate capacity to meet reasonably foreseeable 
national security requirements. This Amended ROD will enable NNSA to 
continue meeting Federal law and national security requirements.

Mitigation Measures

    As described in the Complex Transformation SPEIS and the 2008 
Programmatic ROD, NNSA operates in compliance with environmental laws, 
regulations, and policies within a framework of contractual 
requirements; many of these requirements mandate actions to control and 
mitigate potential adverse environmental effects. Examples of 
mitigation measures include site security and threat protection plans, 
emergency plans, Integrated Safety Management Systems, pollution 
prevention and waste minimization programs, cultural resource and 
protected species programs, and energy and water conservation programs. 
Any additional site-specific mitigation actions would be identified in 
site-specific NEPA documents.

Signing Authority

    This document of the Department of Energy was signed on October 30, 
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 October 30, 2020.
Treena V. Garrett,
Federal Register Liaison Officer, U.S. Department of Energy.
[FR Doc. 2020-24516 Filed 11-4-20; 8:45 am]
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