Nuclear groups challenge pit program expansion

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Three environmental and nuclear safety watchdog groups demanded last week the National Nuclear Security Administration temporarily halt its plutonium pit production expansion plans.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Savannah River Site Watch and Tri-Valley CAREs wrote a letter to NNSA Undersecretary and Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty Wednesday, saying the NNSA was in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.

Earlier this year, the NNSA announced plans that the Los Alamos National Laboratory would produce 30 plutonium pits for nuclear weapons each year and the Savannah River Site produce 50 pits a year by 2030.

“NEPA clearly requires that proposed major federal actions be subject to public environmental review,” a statement in the letter from the three organizations said. “Further, NNSA has a legal duty to apply NEPA early in the process.

Moreover, until NNSA issues a formal Record of Decision at the end of a NEPA process, it maynot take actions that will

‘Limit the choice of reasonable alternatives’ or ‘prejudice the ultimate decision on the program’ before it directs ‘irreversible and irretrievable resources’ toward that end.”

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