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Department of Energy Releases the Notice of Intent for the GNEP Environmental Impact Statement

January 4, 2007 - 9:59am

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WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced that a Notice of Intent (NOI) to prepare a Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for President Bush's Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP) Initiative is posted in the Federal Register.  The NOI outlines the programmatic and project-specific proposals of GNEP.

"We continue to mark significant progress with GNEP and we look forward to gaining a broader understanding of the environmental conditions under which we will be operating," DOE Assistant Secretary for Nuclear Energy Dennis Spurgeon said.  "Our need for nuclear power - a safe, emissions-free and affordable source of energy - has never been greater and GNEP puts us on a path to encourage expansion of domestic and international nuclear energy production while reducing nuclear proliferation risks."

The GNEP PEIS will analyze the potential environmental impacts for both programmatic and project-specific proposed actions, as well as reasonable alternatives, and will also evaluate, at a programmatic level, the potential environmental impacts associated with the international initiatives.

GNEP will recycle spent nuclear fuel and destroy its long-lived radioactive components.  To accomplish this, DOE proposes to design, build, and operate three facilities: 

  1. A nuclear fuel recycling center, which would separate spent nuclear fuel into reusable and waste components and then manufacture new nuclear fast reactor fuel using the reusable components.
  2. An advanced recycling reactor, which would destroy long-lived radioactive elements in the new fuel while generating electricity.
  3. An advanced fuel cycle research facility, which would perform research and development into spent nuclear fuel recycling processes and other advanced nuclear fuel cycles.

At this time, DOE contemplates that the PEIS will consider 13 sites as possible locations for one or more of the proposed GNEP facilities.  Eleven of these sites were selected based on responses received regarding the Funding Opportunity Announcement, as well as 2 additional DOE sites that the Department has preliminarily identified as a possible location for a DOE-directed advanced fuel cycle research facility.

GNEP also includes two international initiatives: 1) Ensure reliable fuel services, in which the U.S would cooperate with countries that have advanced nuclear programs to supply nuclear fuel services to other countries that refrain from pursuing enrichment or recycling facilities to make their own nuclear fuel; and, 2) Development of proliferation-resistant nuclear power reactors suitable for use in developing economies.

To further define the GNEP PEIS and identify key issues, DOE invites the public to comment on the proposed scope during the 90-day comment period that begins with the Federal Register notice and continues through April 4, 2007.  All comments received during the public scoping period will be considered in preparing the GNEP PEIS.

To encourage public participation in the GNEP PEIS process, DOE will host scoping meetings, as follows:

February 13 Oak Ridge, TN
February 15 North Augusta, SC
February 22 Joliet, IL
February 26 Hobbs, NM
February 27 Roswell, NM
March 1 Los Alamos, NM
March 6 Paducah, KY
March 8 Piketon, OH
March 13 Pasco, WA
March 15 Idaho Falls, ID
March 19 Washington, DC

As part of President Bush's Advanced Energy Initiative, GNEP encourages expansion of domestic and international nuclear energy production while minimizing proliferation risks, and reductions in the volume, thermal output, and radiotoxicity of spent nuclear fuel before disposal in a geologic repository.

For more information on GNEP or to review the full text of the GNEP PEIS NOI, visit: gnep.gov.

Media contact(s):

Julie Ruggiero, (202) 586-4940

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