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), 70601-70604 [2020-24517]

Download as PDF 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 khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES 70602 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 215 / Thursday, November 5, 2020 / Notices requirements. Under Federal law and to meet national security requirements, NNSA must implement a strategy to provide the enduring capability and capacity to produce not less than 80 war reserve pits per year beginning during 2030 (50 U.S.C. 2538a, as amended). NNSA’s current pit production capacity cannot meet this requirement. To meet this requirement, NNSA has decided to implement the Proposed Action in the SRS Pit Production EIS. Pit production, at a level of at least 80 pits per year at SRS, has been analyzed in two programmatic EISs and the sitespecific SRS Pit Production EIS. The first programmatic EIS in the post-Cold War era was the 1996 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Stockpile Stewardship and Management (SSM PEIS) (DOE/EIS–0236). The SSM PEIS evaluated reasonable alternatives for reestablishing interim pit production capability on a small scale. It analyzed a production level of 80 pits per year at SRS and LANL at a programmatic level and associated impacts across the Complex. 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). In 2008, NNSA prepared the Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Complex Transformation SPEIS) (DOE/EIS–0236–S4). The Complex Transformation SPEIS evaluates, among other things, alternatives for producing 10–200 pits per year at different site alternatives, including SRS. At SRS, the Complex Transformation SPEIS evaluated a pit production facility that would use the planned MFFF and Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility infrastructure. In the 2008 Programmatic ROD, NNSA did not make any new decisions related to pit production capacity beyond 20 pits per year at LANL (73 FR 77644; December 19, 2008). 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 produce not less than 80 war reserve plutonium pits during 2030 (50 U.S.C. 2538a, as amended). The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review reinforces this pit production requirement by stating that NNSA must produce at least 80 plutonium pits per year beginning during 2030 and must sustain the capacity for future life extension programs and follow-on programs. As a result, the United States is pursuing an initiative to provide the enduring capability and capacity to produce VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:36 Nov 04, 2020 Jkt 253001 plutonium pits at a rate of no fewer than 80 pits per year beginning during 2030. 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-prong (two-site) approach—a minimum of 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. In 2019, NNSA prepared the 2019 SPEIS SA, which analyzed NNSA’s twosite pit production approach at a programmatic level. Based on the 2019 SPEIS SA, NNSA determined that the proposed approach for pit production does not constitute a substantial change from actions analyzed previously and there are no significant new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns. The 2019 SPEIS SA affirmed NNSA’s decision to prepare site-specific documentation for the proposal to repurpose the 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 beginning during 2030 for the nuclear weapons stockpile. In the SRS Pit Production EIS and this ROD, the repurposed MFFF is referred to as the Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility (SRPPF) to reflect the reconfiguration of the existing MFFF to perform plutonium-related processing to support NNSA missions. Consistent with the SSM PEIS and the Complex Transformation SPEIS, the SRS Pit Production EIS identified that the term, pit production, was used to describe a complex process that involves three main areas: (1) Material receipt, unpacking, and storage; (2) feed preparation; and (3) manufacturing. The production of pits at SRS includes the activities needed to fabricate new pits, to modify the internal features of existing pits, and to certify new pits or requalify existing pits. PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 NEPA Process for This ROD NNSA prepared this ROD for the SRS Pit Production EIS 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 ROD is based on Federal law and NNSA’s mission and information and analysis in the SRS Pit Production EIS, including public comments received. The SRS Pit Production EIS was distributed electronically for review as part of the public participation process. DOE announced the availability of the Draft SRS Pit Production EIS on April 3, 2020 (85 FR 18947). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of the Final SRS Pit Production EIS on September 25, 2020 (85 FR 60458). DOE also published an announcement of the Final SRS Pit Production EIS on September 30, 2020 (85 FR 61741). Approximately 400 comment documents (including approximately 190 comment documents submitted as one of seven email campaign letters) were received from individuals, interested groups, and Federal, State, and local agencies during the public comment period on the Draft SRS Pit Production EIS. In addition, 44 commenters spoke at an online, virtual public hearing (with telephone access), and their comments were recorded in formal transcripts. The majority of the comments received on the Draft EIS focused on policy issues related to the appropriateness or the need for nuclear weapons or the need for additional pits. The primary topics identified in the public comments included: (1) Requests for a programmatic EIS for pit production; (2) requests to consider pit reuse as a reasonable alternative; (3) requests for an extension to the comment period due to the COVID–19 pandemic; (4) disagreement with the two-prong (two-site) approach to pit production; (5) general opposition to, or support for, the proposal; (6) comments about nuclear weapon policies or new weapon design; (7) comments about the need for pits and the lifetime of current pits; (8) comments about waste management; (9) comments about transuranic waste storage at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant; (10) comments about impacts to human health and potential environmental justice impacts; and (11) comments about budget priorities and the need to clean up SRS. After considering all comments and modifying the Draft EIS, NNSA completed the Final SRS Pit Production EIS. E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 215 / Thursday, November 5, 2020 / Notices khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES Summary of Impacts Both Federal law and national security policy require pit production rates of not less than 80 pits per year nationally during 2030. The SRS Pit Production EIS analyzed the potential impacts of producing 50, 80, and 125 pits per year at SRS. This approach provides a conservative analysis and affords NNSA the flexibility to adapt to shifting requirements or changed circumstances in the future if SRS must produce more than 50 pits per year. Table 2–5 of the SRS Pit Production EIS presents a summary of the potential environmental impacts of the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative. Table 2–6 summarizes the potential cumulative environmental impacts presented in Chapter 5 of the EIS. Construction activities associated with the Proposed Action would re-disturb approximately 48 acres of previously disturbed land. This land requirement represents less than one percent of the total 198,344-acre SRS. Although construction activities would change the existing land use, the proposed SRPPF would be compatible and consistent with the land use plans at SRS and would be compatible with the current land use designations. The site for the proposed SRPPF complex is located in a highly developed and previously disturbed industrial area; therefore, there would be no loss of habitat or impacts to biological, cultural, or archaeological resources. Construction impacts would be minor, and appropriate soil and erosion mitigation measures would minimize any adverse impacts. No Federal- or State-threatened or endangered species or other species of special interest are expected to be impacted by the Proposed Action. During construction and operations, groundwater use would be approximately 2.2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, of the total current water use at SRS. The maximum amount of electrical consumption would represent less than four percent of the SRS sitewide electrical capacity. Although there would be overall positive socioeconomic impacts associated with construction and operational workforces, an increase in vehicle traffic could affect the roads and transportation network surrounding SRS. Employment increases would represent less than one percent of the total employment in the socioeconomic area. During normal operations, a minimal amount of radioactive material and activation products could be released to the environment. However, any VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:36 Nov 04, 2020 Jkt 253001 70603 radiation dose received by a member of the public from emissions would be small and well below regulatory limits. Operation of the proposed SRPPF would generate a variety of wastes (including radioactive, hazardous, mixed, and sanitary) as an unavoidable result of normal operations. For production of 50 pits per year, there would be approximately 145 annual shipments of radiological materials and wastes, which could impact the public along transportation routes. Potential doses to the public and workers would be well below regulatory limits. Basis for Decision Environmentally Preferable Alternative Mitigation Measures Considering the many environmental facets of the alternatives analyzed in the SRS Pit Production EIS, and looking out over the long term, the No-Action Alternative would be the environmentally preferred alternative because no adverse impacts would result compared to the Proposed Action. However, the No-Action Alternative would not meet the purpose and need for agency action. SRS 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, land use plans, Integrated Safety Management Systems, an Environmental Management System, pollution prevention and waste minimization programs, cultural resource and protected species management plans, and energy and water conservation programs. If mitigation measures above and beyond those required by regulations are needed to reduce impacts, NNSA is required to describe mitigation commitments in the ROD and prepare a mitigation action plan (10 CFR 1021.331). The mitigation action plan would explain how, before implementing the Proposed Action, certain measures would be planned and implemented to mitigate adverse environmental impacts. Because no potential adverse impacts were identified that would require additional mitigation measures beyond those required by regulation or achieved through design features or best management practices, NNSA does not expect to prepare a mitigation action plan. Comments on the Final SRS Pit Production EIS NNSA posted the Final SRS Pit Production EIS on the NNSA NEPA Reading Room website (https:// www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepareading-room) and EPA published a Notice of Availability in the Federal Register (85 FR 60458, September 25, 2020). DOE also published a Notice of Availability of the Final SRS Pit Production EIS in the Federal Register on September 30, 2020 (85 FR 61741). In response to these Notices, NNSA received three comment documents related to the Final SRS Pit Production EIS. NNSA considered each of the comments contained in these documents during the preparation of this ROD. Decision NNSA has decided to implement the Proposed Action to repurpose the 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 beginning during 2030 for the nuclear weapons stockpile. Pit production at SRS would be limited to the analyzed limit in the SRS Pit Production EIS to meet national security requirements. PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 In making these decisions, NNSA considered the Final SRS Pit Production EIS, 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 to create a responsive nuclear weapons infrastructure that are cost-effective and have adequate capacity to meet reasonably foreseeable national security requirements. This ROD will enable NNSA to continue meeting Federal law and national security requirements. 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 E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1 70604 Federal Register / Vol. 85, No. 215 / Thursday, November 5, 2020 / Notices 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. 2020–24517 Filed 11–4–20; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Federal Energy Regulatory Commission [Docket No. IC20–22–000] Commission Information Collection Activities (FERC–588); Comment Request; Extension Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Notice of information collection and request for comments. AGENCY: In compliance with the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Commission or FERC) is soliciting public comment on the currently approved information collection FERC– 588 (Emergency Natural Gas Transportation, Sale, and Exchange Transactions), and is submitting the information collection to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Any interested person may file comments directly with OMB and should address a copy of those comments to the Commission as explained below. khammond on DSKJM1Z7X2PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Comments on the collection of information are due December 7, 2020. ADDRESSES: Send written comments on FERC–588 to OMB through www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAMain, Attention: Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Desk Officer. Please identify the OMB control number (1902–0144) in the subject line. Your comments should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice in the Federal Register. Please submit copies of your comments to the Commission (identified by Docket No. IC20–22–000) by any of the following methods: • eFiling at Commission’s Website: http://www.ferc.gov/docs-filing/ efiling.asp. • U.S. Postal Service Mail: Persons unable to file electronically may mail similar pleadings to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 888 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20426. • Effective 7/1/2020, delivery of filings other than by eFiling or the U.S. Postal Service should be delivered to Health and Human Services, 12225 Wilkins Avenue, Rockville, Maryland 20852. Instructions: OMB submissions must be formatted and filed in accordance with submission guidelines at www.reginfo.gov/public/ do/PRAMain; Using the search function under the Currently Under Review field, select Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; click submit and select comment to the right of the subject collection. FERC submissions must be formatted and filed in accordance with submission guidelines at: http://www.ferc.gov. For user assistance, contact FERC Online Support by email at ferconlinesupport@ ferc.gov, or by phone at: (866) 208–3676 (toll-free). Docket: Users interested in receiving automatic notification of activity in this docket or in viewing/downloading DATES: comments and issuances in this docket may do so at http://www.ferc.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ellen Brown may be reached by email at DataClearance@FERC.gov and telephone at (202) 502–8663. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title: FERC–588 (Emergency Natural Gas Transportation, Sale, and Exchange Transactions). OMB Control No.: 1902–0144. Type of Request: Three-year extension of the FERC–588 information collection requirements with no changes to the current reporting and recordkeeping requirements. Abstract: FERC–588 is an existing information collection consisting of filing requirements and notice procedures at 18 CFR 157.17 and 284.270. These regulations pertain to non-jurisdictional companies’ assistance in natural gas emergency circumstances. The non-jurisdictional companies that assist in such emergency transactions must file information with the Commission under 18 CFR 284.270, so that the Commission may ensure compliance with relevant legal requirements. An interstate pipeline that seeks an emergency certificate for facilities must file an application under 18 CFR 157.17. On July 17, 2020, the Commission published a Notice in the Federal Register (85 FR 43579) in Docket No. IC20–22–000 requesting public comments. The Commission received no public comment in response. Types of Respondents: Providers and recipients of assistance in natural gas emergency circumstances. Estimate of Annual Burden: 1 The Commission estimates the total annual burden and cost 2 for this information collection in the following table: Number of respondents Annual number of responses per respondent Total number of responses Average burden (hr.) and cost ($) per response Total annual burden (hr.) and cost ($) A. B. C. (Col. A × Col. B) D. E. (Col. C × Col D) 10 3 30 10 hrs; $830 ............................................................. 300 hrs.; $24,900 Comments: Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the Commission, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden and cost of the collection of information, including the validity of 1 Burden is the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, or disclose or provide information to or for a Federal agency. For further explanation of what is included in the information collection burden, refer to 5 CFR 1320.3. 2 The Commission staff believes that industry and Commission staff are similarly situated in terms of cost for wages and benefits. Therefore, we are using $83.00 per hour in this calculation. That is the 2020 average hourly cost, for wages plus benefits, for one FERC full-time equivalent. VerDate Sep<11>2014 20:36 Nov 04, 2020 Jkt 253001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\05NON1.SGM 05NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 215 (Thursday, November 5, 2020)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70601-70604]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2020-24517]


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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)

AGENCY: National Nuclear Security Administration, Department of Energy.

ACTION: Record of decision.

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

SUMMARY: 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 [email protected]. This ROD, the SRS Pit 
Production EIS, and related NEPA documents are available 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

[[Page 70602]]

requirements. Under Federal law and to meet national security 
requirements, NNSA must implement a strategy to provide the enduring 
capability and capacity to produce not less than 80 war reserve pits 
per year beginning during 2030 (50 U.S.C. 2538a, as amended). NNSA's 
current pit production capacity cannot meet this requirement. To meet 
this requirement, NNSA has decided to implement the Proposed Action in 
the SRS Pit Production EIS.
    Pit production, at a level of at least 80 pits per year at SRS, has 
been analyzed in two programmatic EISs and the site-specific SRS Pit 
Production EIS. The first programmatic EIS in the post-Cold War era was 
the 1996 Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Stockpile 
Stewardship and Management (SSM PEIS) (DOE/EIS-0236). The SSM PEIS 
evaluated reasonable alternatives for reestablishing interim pit 
production capability on a small scale. It analyzed a production level 
of 80 pits per year at SRS and LANL at a programmatic level and 
associated impacts across the Complex. 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).
    In 2008, NNSA prepared the Complex Transformation Supplemental 
Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (Complex Transformation 
SPEIS) (DOE/EIS-0236-S4). The Complex Transformation SPEIS evaluates, 
among other things, alternatives for producing 10-200 pits per year at 
different site alternatives, including SRS. At SRS, the Complex 
Transformation SPEIS evaluated a pit production facility that would use 
the planned MFFF and Pit Disassembly and Conversion Facility 
infrastructure. In the 2008 Programmatic ROD, NNSA did not make any new 
decisions related to pit production capacity beyond 20 pits per year at 
LANL (73 FR 77644; December 19, 2008).
    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 produce not less than 80 war reserve plutonium pits during 
2030 (50 U.S.C. 2538a, as amended). The 2018 Nuclear Posture Review 
reinforces this pit production requirement by stating that NNSA must 
produce at least 80 plutonium pits per year beginning during 2030 and 
must sustain the capacity for future life extension programs and 
follow-on programs. As a result, the United States is pursuing an 
initiative to provide the enduring capability and capacity to produce 
plutonium pits at a rate of no fewer than 80 pits per year beginning 
during 2030. 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-prong (two-site) approach--a minimum of 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.
    In 2019, NNSA prepared the 2019 SPEIS SA, which analyzed NNSA's 
two-site pit production approach at a programmatic level. Based on the 
2019 SPEIS SA, NNSA determined that the proposed approach for pit 
production does not constitute a substantial change from actions 
analyzed previously and there are no significant new circumstances or 
information relevant to environmental concerns. The 2019 SPEIS SA 
affirmed NNSA's decision to prepare site-specific documentation for the 
proposal to repurpose the 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 
beginning during 2030 for the nuclear weapons stockpile. In the SRS Pit 
Production EIS and this ROD, the repurposed MFFF is referred to as the 
Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility (SRPPF) to reflect the 
reconfiguration of the existing MFFF to perform plutonium-related 
processing to support NNSA missions.
    Consistent with the SSM PEIS and the Complex Transformation SPEIS, 
the SRS Pit Production EIS identified that the term, pit production, 
was used to describe a complex process that involves three main areas: 
(1) Material receipt, unpacking, and storage; (2) feed preparation; and 
(3) manufacturing. The production of pits at SRS includes the 
activities needed to fabricate new pits, to modify the internal 
features of existing pits, and to certify new pits or requalify 
existing pits.

NEPA Process for This ROD

    NNSA prepared this ROD for the SRS Pit Production EIS 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 ROD is based on Federal law and 
NNSA's mission and information and analysis in the SRS Pit Production 
EIS, including public comments received.
    The SRS Pit Production EIS was distributed electronically for 
review as part of the public participation process. DOE announced the 
availability of the Draft SRS Pit Production EIS on April 3, 2020 (85 
FR 18947). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the 
availability of the Final SRS Pit Production EIS on September 25, 2020 
(85 FR 60458). DOE also published an announcement of the Final SRS Pit 
Production EIS on September 30, 2020 (85 FR 61741). Approximately 400 
comment documents (including approximately 190 comment documents 
submitted as one of seven email campaign letters) were received from 
individuals, interested groups, and Federal, State, and local agencies 
during the public comment period on the Draft SRS Pit Production EIS. 
In addition, 44 commenters spoke at an online, virtual public hearing 
(with telephone access), and their comments were recorded in formal 
transcripts. The majority of the comments received on the Draft EIS 
focused on policy issues related to the appropriateness or the need for 
nuclear weapons or the need for additional pits. The primary topics 
identified in the public comments included: (1) Requests for a 
programmatic EIS for pit production; (2) requests to consider pit reuse 
as a reasonable alternative; (3) requests for an extension to the 
comment period due to the COVID-19 pandemic; (4) disagreement with the 
two-prong (two-site) approach to pit production; (5) general opposition 
to, or support for, the proposal; (6) comments about nuclear weapon 
policies or new weapon design; (7) comments about the need for pits and 
the lifetime of current pits; (8) comments about waste management; (9) 
comments about transuranic waste storage at the Waste Isolation Pilot 
Plant; (10) comments about impacts to human health and potential 
environmental justice impacts; and (11) comments about budget 
priorities and the need to clean up SRS. After considering all comments 
and modifying the Draft EIS, NNSA completed the Final SRS Pit 
Production EIS.

[[Page 70603]]

Summary of Impacts

    Both Federal law and national security policy require pit 
production rates of not less than 80 pits per year nationally during 
2030. The SRS Pit Production EIS analyzed the potential impacts of 
producing 50, 80, and 125 pits per year at SRS. This approach provides 
a conservative analysis and affords NNSA the flexibility to adapt to 
shifting requirements or changed circumstances in the future if SRS 
must produce more than 50 pits per year. Table 2-5 of the SRS Pit 
Production EIS presents a summary of the potential environmental 
impacts of the Proposed Action and the No Action Alternative. Table 2-6 
summarizes the potential cumulative environmental impacts presented in 
Chapter 5 of the EIS. Construction activities associated with the 
Proposed Action would re-disturb approximately 48 acres of previously 
disturbed land. This land requirement represents less than one percent 
of the total 198,344-acre SRS. Although construction activities would 
change the existing land use, the proposed SRPPF would be compatible 
and consistent with the land use plans at SRS and would be compatible 
with the current land use designations.
    The site for the proposed SRPPF complex is located in a highly 
developed and previously disturbed industrial area; therefore, there 
would be no loss of habitat or impacts to biological, cultural, or 
archaeological resources. Construction impacts would be minor, and 
appropriate soil and erosion mitigation measures would minimize any 
adverse impacts. No Federal- or State-threatened or endangered species 
or other species of special interest are expected to be impacted by the 
Proposed Action.
    During construction and operations, groundwater use would be 
approximately 2.2 percent and 1.7 percent, respectively, of the total 
current water use at SRS. The maximum amount of electrical consumption 
would represent less than four percent of the SRS sitewide electrical 
capacity.
    Although there would be overall positive socioeconomic impacts 
associated with construction and operational workforces, an increase in 
vehicle traffic could affect the roads and transportation network 
surrounding SRS. Employment increases would represent less than one 
percent of the total employment in the socioeconomic area.
    During normal operations, a minimal amount of radioactive material 
and activation products could be released to the environment. However, 
any radiation dose received by a member of the public from emissions 
would be small and well below regulatory limits.
    Operation of the proposed SRPPF would generate a variety of wastes 
(including radioactive, hazardous, mixed, and sanitary) as an 
unavoidable result of normal operations.
    For production of 50 pits per year, there would be approximately 
145 annual shipments of radiological materials and wastes, which could 
impact the public along transportation routes. Potential doses to the 
public and workers would be well below regulatory limits.

Environmentally Preferable Alternative

    Considering the many environmental facets of the alternatives 
analyzed in the SRS Pit Production EIS, and looking out over the long 
term, the No-Action Alternative would be the environmentally preferred 
alternative because no adverse impacts would result compared to the 
Proposed Action. However, the No-Action Alternative would not meet the 
purpose and need for agency action.

Comments on the Final SRS Pit Production EIS

    NNSA posted the Final SRS Pit Production EIS on the NNSA NEPA 
Reading Room website (https://www.energy.gov/nnsa/nnsa-nepa-reading-room) and EPA published a Notice of Availability in the Federal 
Register (85 FR 60458, September 25, 2020). DOE also published a Notice 
of Availability of the Final SRS Pit Production EIS in the Federal 
Register on September 30, 2020 (85 FR 61741). In response to these 
Notices, NNSA received three comment documents related to the Final SRS 
Pit Production EIS. NNSA considered each of the comments contained in 
these documents during the preparation of this ROD.

Decision

    NNSA has decided to implement the Proposed Action to repurpose the 
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 beginning during 2030 for the nuclear 
weapons stockpile. Pit production at SRS would be limited to the 
analyzed limit in the SRS Pit Production EIS to meet national security 
requirements.

Basis for Decision

    In making these decisions, NNSA considered the Final SRS Pit 
Production EIS, 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 to create a 
responsive nuclear weapons infrastructure that are cost-effective and 
have adequate capacity to meet reasonably foreseeable national security 
requirements. This ROD will enable NNSA to continue meeting Federal law 
and national security requirements.

Mitigation Measures

    SRS 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, land use 
plans, Integrated Safety Management Systems, an Environmental 
Management System, pollution prevention and waste minimization 
programs, cultural resource and protected species management plans, and 
energy and water conservation programs. If mitigation measures above 
and beyond those required by regulations are needed to reduce impacts, 
NNSA is required to describe mitigation commitments in the ROD and 
prepare a mitigation action plan (10 CFR 1021.331). The mitigation 
action plan would explain how, before implementing the Proposed Action, 
certain measures would be planned and implemented to mitigate adverse 
environmental impacts. Because no potential adverse impacts were 
identified that would require additional mitigation measures beyond 
those required by regulation or achieved through design features or 
best management practices, NNSA does not expect to prepare a mitigation 
action plan.

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

[[Page 70604]]

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. 2020-24517 Filed 11-4-20; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 6450-01-P