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Thursday, December 01, 2005  
Plutonium, Tritium Levels to Increase, NNSA Decision Faces Lawsuit

By: The Independent
Published In: The Independent, DECEMBER 1, 2005

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) has decided to implement the Proposed

Action Alternative in operating the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The decision may face a lawsuit. According to a press release, NNSA decided to implement the Proposed Action Alternative, because it best supports NNSA?s missions vital to national security. This includes the continued operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, an increase in administrative and

material-at-risk limits for plutonium and tritium, and experiments conducted at the National Ignition Facility using fissile and fissionable materials. The Record of Decision(ROD) for continued operation of the Lab has been signed by NNSA Administrator

Linton F. Brooks. The ROD represents NNSA?s plans for operating the Lab for the next ten years. Tri-Valley CAREs, Natural Resources Defense Council and other organizations are undertaking a detailed legal analysis of

the final SWEIS and the Record of Decision. ?We believe a lawsuit may be necessary to stop these dangerous activities. A lawsuit

would seek to overturn the ROD and compel the DOE to reissue the SWEIS with a more honest and complete analysis of the proposed programs? environmental and proliferation impacts.? Tri-Valley CAREs is also launching a petition campaign, calling upon the Department of Energy not to double the Plutonium storage and use at Livermore

Lab ? and on Congress not to fund DOE?s planned increases. ?Today?s decision puts the entire San Francisco Bay Area at risk,? declared Loulena Miles, staff attorney at the Livermorebased Tri-Valley CAREs. ?The DOE received 9,000 public comments opposing increases in nuclear materials, as well as the new weapons activities these radioactive

materials will support.? The proposed changes in facilities and operations are:

? Conduct experiments at the NIF using plutonium, other fissile materials (such as uranium 235), fissionable materials (such

as thorium 232), and lithium hydride. Construct and operate a neutron spectrometer as part of the NIF core facility diagnostics

capability. Marylia Kelley of Tri-Valley

CAREs stated, ?It appears that DOE is attempting to give NIF a new, enhanced weapons mission since scientists and lawmakers are increasingly convinced that it will never achieve its stated scientific goal of thermonuclear ignition. To make this change without undertaking a new nonproliferation review is reckless.?

? Increase the administrative limit for plutonium to 1,400 kilograms from the existing 700 kilograms. The limit for enriched uranium would remain unchanged

at 500 kilograms.

? Increase the plutonium material-at-risk limit from 20 to 40 kilograms of fuel-grade equivalent plutonium in each of two rooms of the Plutonium Facility.

? Increase the Tritium Facility administrative limit for tritium from 30 to 35 grams and the material-at-risk at a single

workstation from 3.5 to 30 grams.

? Upgrade existing materials fabrication, characterization, and testing facilities supporting NNSA?s national security mission

as part of the Materials Science Modernization Project.

? Perform research and development activities on a variety of biodetector technologies in

the Physics Facility and the Microfabrication Laboratory at the Livermore Site as part of the Chemical and Biological Nonproliferation

Program Expansion.

? Install and operate a petawatt laser prototype in the Inertial Confinement Fusion Laser Facility.

? Upgrade LLNL facilities to meet current seismic and utilities standards, and decontaminate and decommission other facilities at LLNL.

? Increase the highly enriched uranium administrative limit for the Radiography Facility from 25 to 50 kilograms to support

Stockpile Stewardship Program activities.

The Record of Decision is available for review at the following locations: Livermore

Public Library, 1000 South Livermore Ave., Livermore, CA 94550 (925) 373-5500; NNSA/

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory Public Reading Room, Discovery Center, Building

6525, located at the East Gate entrance off Greenville Road, Livermore, CA 94551 (925)

424-4026; and Internet link at

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