The Department of Energy’s controversial proposal to fabricate plutonium components for nuclear weapons at the Savannah River Site is beginning to garner deserved scrutiny.
For over six months, public interest groups have demanded legally required reviews of environmental impacts of plans to expand pit production to SRS and at the Los Alamos National Lab.
It now appears that pressure by SRS Watch, Nuclear Watch New Mexico in Santa Fe and Tri-Valley Communities Opposed to Radioactive Environment in Livermore, Calif., is paying off.
DOE has conceded that it must prepare an Environmental Impact Statement with public input on the proposed plutonium bomb plant at SRS. A review will be made at Los Alamos to determine if a new EIS is needed there as well. The plutonium contamination at the now-closed Rocky Flats site in Colorado serves as a warning to threats posed by production of plutonium triggers for nuclear weapons.
The new proposal to annually make 50 or more pits in the shuttered MOX facility remains unauthorized and unfunded by Congress. Recent studies reveal huge challenges to pit production. Decisions in Congress about the DOE proposal for two costly pit production sites and questionable need for new nuclear weapons will be crucial.
Issues surrounding pit production will be the subject of an upcoming public forum, entitled Plutonium Bomb Plant: Risky Project Targeted for SRS. The event, organized by SRS Watch, is from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, June 14, at the Aiken Municipal Building auditorium and is free and open to the public.