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EIS-0310: Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

Under the authority of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, the DOE is responsible for ensuring the availability of isotopes for medical, industrial and research applications, meeting the nuclear material needs of other Federal agencies, and undertaking research and development activities related to development of nuclear power for civilian use. To meet these responsibilities, DOE maintains nuclear infrastructure capabilities that support various missions. Current estimates for the future needs of medical and industrial isotopes, plutonium-238, and research requirements indicate that the current infrastructure may soon be insufficient to meet the projected demands. DOE proposes to enhance these capabilities to provide for:

  1. production of isotopes for medical and industrial uses,
  2. production of plutonium-238 for use in advanced radioisotope power systems for future National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) space exploration missions, and
  3. the Nation’s nuclear research and development needs for civilian application.

 This NI PEIS evaluates the environmental impacts of a No Action Alternative (maintaining status quo), four alternative strategies to accomplish this mission, and an alternative to permanently deactivate the Fast Flux Test Facility (FFTF), with no new missions. Alternatives 2, 3, and 4 also include permanent deactivation of FFTF. The alternatives being:

  1. Restart FFTF at Hanford, Washington
  2. Use only existing operational facilities
  3. Construct one or two new accelerators
  4. Construct a new research reactor
  5. Permanently deactivate FFTF (with no new missions)
  6. No Action