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24 June 2011

Sandia Nuclear Megadeath Laboratory Up for Public Review

[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 122 (Friday, June 24, 2011)]
[Pages 37100-37103]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office []
[FR Doc No: 2011-15951]



Intent To Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement; Continued 
Operation of the Department of Energy/National Nuclear Security 
Administration Sandia National Laboratories, NM

AGENCY: U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security 
Administration, DOE.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare an environmental impact statement 
and conduct public scoping meetings.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as 
amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) (NEPA), and the Council on 
Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) 
regulations implementing NEPA (40 CFR Parts 1500-1508 and 10 CFR Part 
1021, respectively), the National Nuclear Security Administration 
(NNSA), a semi-autonomous agency within DOE, announces its intention to 
prepare a site-wide environmental

[[Page 37101]]

impact statement (SWEIS) (DOE/EIS-0466) for the continued operation of 
DOE/NNSA activities at Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico (SNL/
NM) on Kirtland Air Force Base (KAFB) and within the Albuquerque area, 
as well as other DOE activities at both on-site and off-site locations 
(the NNSA Service Center, the NNSA Office of Secure Transportation, 
NNSA Kirtland Operations, the NNSA Aviation Facility, and the DOE 
National Training Center). The purpose of this notice is to invite 
individuals, organizations, and government agencies and entities to 
participate in developing the scope of the SWEIS. The new SWEIS will 
consider a No Action Alternative, which is to continue current 
operations through implementation of the 1999 Record of Decision (ROD) 
(64 FR 69996; 12/15/99) and subsequent NEPA decisions. Three action 
alternatives proposed for consideration in the SWEIS would be compared 
to the No Action Alternative. The three action alternatives would 
differ by either their type or level of operations and may include 
proposals for new operations or the reduction or elimination of certain 

DATES: NNSA invites comments on the scope of this SWEIS. The public 
scoping period starts with the publication of this notice and will 
continue until 45 days after publication in the Federal Register. NNSA 
will consider all comments defining the scope of the SWEIS received or 
postmarked by this date. Comments received or postmarked after this 
date will be considered to the extent practicable. NNSA will conduct 
public scoping meetings in Albuquerque, New Mexico, scheduled as 
     Tuesday, July 12, 2011--1-4 p.m., Hilton Albuquerque 
Hotel, 1901 University Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
     Tuesday, July 12, 2011--6-9 p.m., Hilton Albuquerque 
Hotel, 1901 University Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
     Wednesday, July 13, 2011--1-4 p.m., Hilton Albuquerque 
Hotel, 1901 University Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
     Wednesday, July 13, 2011--6-9 p.m., Hilton Albuquerque 
Hotel, 1901 University Boulevard Northeast, Albuquerque, New Mexico.
    These scoping meetings will provide the public with an opportunity 
to present comments, ask questions, and discuss issues with NNSA 
officials regarding the SWEIS. Preparation of the SWEIS will require 
participation of other Federal agencies. As land managers on and around 
KAFB, the U.S. Department of the Air Force and the U.S. Department of 
Agriculture, Forest Service (USFS) have an inherent interest in 
activities conducted onsite by NNSA; therefore DOE intends to request 
the participation of both the Air Force and the USFS as cooperating 

ADDRESSES: To submit comments on the scope of the SWEIS, questions 
about the document or scoping meetings, or to be included on the 
document distribution list, please contact Jeanette Norte, NNSA Sandia 
Site Office, SWEIS Document Manager, P.O. Box 5400, Albuquerque, New 
Mexico 87185-5400; local telephone (505) 845-4808 or out of area toll 
free telephone number 1-855-766-4651; fax (505) 284-7197; or e-mail 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For general information about the DOE 
NEPA process, please contact Carol M. Borgstrom, Director, Office of 
NEPA Policy and Compliance (GC-54), U.S. Department of Energy, 1000 
Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20585; e-mail:; telephone: 202-586-4600, or leave a message at 1-
800-472-2756; or fax: 202-586-7031. Additional information regarding 
DOE NEPA activities is available on the Internet through the NEPA Web 
site at

    Background: SNL/NM is one of three national laboratories in NNSA's 
nuclear security enterprise. SNL/NM is a multi-disciplinary, multi-
purpose national laboratory primarily engaged in work that supports 
national security, homeland security initiatives, environmental 
stewardship, and defense research and development programs (R&D) for 
DOE/NNSA and other government entities. Responsibilities in support of 
nuclear weapons activities include design, certification, and 
assessment of non-nuclear subsystems of nuclear weapons; system 
integration; safety, security, reliability, and use control of nuclear 
weapons; direction and support to production plants regarding issues 
associated with production and dismantlement of nuclear weapons; 
production and/or acquisition of weapons components; surveillance and 
support of weapons in the stockpile; and work in nuclear intelligence, 
nonproliferation, and treaty verification technologies. Nonweapons 
research and science services are provided in areas including waste 
management, environmental restoration, hazardous and radioactive 
material transportation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, 
nuclear energy, fossil energy, magnetic fusion, basic energy sciences, 
supercomputing, and biological and environmental research. Additional 
activities include research on energy and environmental technologies, 
other engineering research, and work for other government agencies.
    SNL/NM occupies about 8,658 acres on and around KAFB in central New 
Mexico, and is bordered on the north and west by the city of 
Albuquerque. The eastern boundary is USFS land and the southern 
boundary is the Isleta Pueblo. SNL/NM operations are managed and 
operated for DOE/NNSA under contract by the Sandia Corporation, a 
wholly owned subsidiary of the Lockheed Martin Corporation.
    The 1999 SNL/NM SWEIS examined existing and potential impacts to 
the environment from ongoing and anticipated future DOE/NNSA operations 
conducted over approximately a 10-year period of time at SNL/NM and 
other DOE operations on and around KAFB. The three alternatives 
analyzed in the 1999 SNL/NM SWEIS were: (1) The No Action Alternative, 
to continue to operate at the planned levels as reflected in DOE 
Management Plans for 1998 through 2008; (2) The Expanded Operations 
Alternative, DOE's preferred alternative, to operate at the highest 
levels supported by then-current and new facilities, and (3) A Reduced 
Alternative, to operate at the minimum level of activity while still 
maintaining core mission capabilities. DOE's ROD, dated December 15, 
1999, implemented the Expanded Operations Alternative.
    In August 2006, DOE/NNSA completed a 5-year review of the 1999 SNL/
NM SWEIS with the preparation of a Supplement Analysis (SA), Final 
Supplement Analysis for the Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement 
for Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico (DOE/EIS-0281-SA-04). This 
was done in accordance with DOE's regulatory requirement to evaluate 
site-wide NEPA documents at least every 5 years (10 CFR 1021.330) to 
determine the adequacy of an existing EIS. Based on the 2006 SA, DOE/
NNSA determined that there were no substantial changes to the actions 
or impacts evaluated in the SNL/NM SWEIS, and there were no significant 
new circumstances or information relevant to environmental concerns; 
thus, the existing SNL/NM SWEIS was deemed adequate and neither a 
supplemental EIS nor a new EIS was required.
    Purpose and Need: The purpose and need for agency action is to 
continue the operation of SNL/NM to provide support for DOE's core 
missions as

[[Page 37102]]

directed by the Congress and the President. SNL/NM supports NNSA 
national security objectives through the engineering of nuclear weapon 
components and other nuclear and non-nuclear activities. In addition, 
SNL/NM oversees DOE/NNSA national security related research, 
development, and testing programs and conducts extensive work for other 
federal agencies.
    Proposed Action and Alternatives for the SWEIS: In accordance with 
applicable DOE and CEQ NEPA regulations, the No Action Alternative will 
be analyzed in the SWEIS and will form the baseline for the other 
action alternatives analyzed in the document. In this case, the No 
Action Alternative will be the continued implementation of the 1999 
SNL/NM SWEIS ROD at SNL/NM over the next 5-10 years. The No Action 
Alternative will also include the implementation of other decisions 
supported by separate NEPA analyses completed since the issuance of the 
Final 1999 SNL/NM SWEIS. This includes four Supplement Analyses 
resulting in the determination that further NEPA documentation was not 
required, and one Environmental Impact Statement: (1) Supplement 
Analysis for the Final Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for 
Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico to Reestablishing Long-Term 
Pulse Mode Testing Capability at the Annular Core Research Reactor 
(ACRR), Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico (ACRR Pulse Mode SA) 
(DOE/EIS-0281-SA-01); (2) Supplement Analysis for the Final Site-Wide 
Environmental Impact Statement for Sandia National Laboratories, New 
Mexico for Isentropic Compression and Flyer Plate Experiments Involving 
Plutonium at the Z and Saturn Accelerators (Pu-ICE SA) (DOE/EIS-0281-
SA-02); (3) Supplement Analysis for the Final Site-Wide Environmental 
Impact Statement for Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico for the 
Installation of a Petawatt Laser System in TA-IV Petawatt Laser System 
SA) (DOE/EIS-0281-SA-03); (4) Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico 
Final Supplement Analysis for the Site-Wide Environmental Impact 
Statement (2006 SNL/NM SWEIS SA) (DOE/EIS-0281-SA-04); and (5) Final 
Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact 
Statement (DOE/EIS-0235-S4) and its RODs (73 FR 77644 and 73 FR 77656). 
In addition, the following seven environmental assessments and their 
associated Findings of No Significant Impacts will also be included in 
the No Action Alternative, as well as actions categorically excluded 
from the need for preparation of either an EA or an EIS: (1) 
Environmental Assessment for the Microsystems and Engineering Sciences 
Applications Complex, DOE/EA-1335, September 2000; (2) Final 
Environmental Assessment for the Test Capabilities Revitalization at 
Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, DOE/EA-1446, January 2003; 
(3) Final Environmental Assessment for the Center for Integrated 
Nanotechnologies at Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, DOE/EA-
1457, March 2003; (4) Final Environmental Assessment for the Proposed 
Consolidation of Neutron Generator Tritium Target Loading Production, 
DOE/EA-1532, June 2005; (5) Final Environmental Assessment for the 
Expansion of Permitted Land and Operations at the 9940 Complex and 
Thunder Range at Sandia National Laboratories, New Mexico, DOE/EA-1603, 
April 2008; (6) Final Environmental Assessment for the Removal Actions 
at the Technical Area III Classified Waste Landfill, Sandia National 
Laboratories, New Mexico, DOE/EA-1729, August 2010; (7) Final 
Environmental Assessment for Proposed Construction and Lease of New 
Facilities for the Department of Energy, National Nuclear Security 
Administration, Office of Secure Transportation (Albuquerque 
Transportation and Technology Center) Albuquerque, New Mexico, U. S. 
General Services Administration, July 2006. These various documents can 
be reviewed at the DOE/NNSA Public Reading Room at Government 
Information/Zimmerman Library, MSC05 3020, 1 University of New Mexico, 
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, Tel: 505-277-5441, Fax: 505-277-6019; E-
mail:; Reading Room Web site:; and on the Internet at:
    Three action alternatives will be considered in the SWEIS: Expanded 
Operations, Reduced Operations, and Renewable Energy Operations. All 
three of these alternatives will be compared to the No Action 
Alternative level of operations. The Expanded Operations Alternative 
will consider the highest level of operations that can be supported in 
existing facilities and potential new facilities. The Reduced 
Operations Alternative will consider an overall reduction in the level 
of operations while maintaining core mission capabilities. The 
Renewable Energy Operations Alternative will consider renewable energy 
R&D and the potential deployment of those technologies on the SNL/NM; 
this alternative or portions of it may be combined with either the 
Expanded Operations Alternative or the Reduced Operations Alternative. 
Any new renewable facilities/activities will be included in the 
analysis for the Expanded Operations Alternative if they are reasonably 
foreseeable (i.e., proposed within the next 5-10 years).
    This SWEIS will analyze potential impacts resulting from reasonably 
foreseeable operations and compare these impacts to those projected in 
the No-Action Alternative. The SWEIS will analyze projected impacts 
anticipated from operating SNL/NM and from other DOE activities at both 
on-site and off-site locations. Direct and indirect, as well as 
unavoidable and irreversible and irretrievable, impacts to the 
environment of SNL/NM operations and other DOE activities at both on-
site and off-site locations will be identified and analyzed in the 
SWEIS. Where appropriate, mitigation strategies will also be analyzed 
in the SWEIS. Further, an updated evaluation of SNL/NM operational and 
transportation accident analyses and a new assessment of cumulative 
impacts associated with DOE/NNSA operations in Albuquerque will also be 
included. DOE/NNSA intends to re-evaluate the range of reasonable 
alternatives following public scoping.
    Preliminary Identification of Environmental Issues: DOE/NNSA 
proposes to address the issues listed below when considering the 
potential impacts of each alternative. This list is presented to 
facilitate public comment during the scoping period and will be 
revisited as DOE/NNSA considers all scoping comments. It is not 
intended to be comprehensive, or to imply any predetermination of 
     Potential effects on the public;
     Human health impacts resulting from exposure to hazardous 
materials under routine and reasonably foreseeable accident scenarios;
     Impacts on surface and groundwater, and on water use and 
     Impacts on air quality (including greenhouse gas 
emissions) and noise;
     Impacts on plants and animals, and their habitats, 
including species that are Federal- or state-listed as threatened or 
endangered, or of special concern;
     Impacts on geology and soil;
     Impacts on cultural resources such as Native American 
sites and Cold War structures and archaeological resources;
     Potential impacts from transportation and traffic;
     Socioeconomic impacts on potentially affected communities 
including environmental justice issues, such as disproportionately high 

[[Page 37103]]

adverse impacts to minority and low-income populations;
     Potential impacts on land use;
     Pollution prevention and waste management practices and 
     Energy efficiency activities;
     Unavoidable adverse impacts and irreversible and 
irretrievable commitments of resources;
     Potential cumulative environmental effects of past, 
present, and reasonably foreseeable future actions;
     The potential impacts of intentional destructive acts, 
including sabotage and terrorism, which will be addressed in a 
classified appendix to the SWEIS.
    SWEIS Process and Invitation To Comment: The SWEIS scoping process 
provides an opportunity for the public to assist the DOE/NNSA in 
determining issues to be analyzed in the document. Four public scoping 
meetings will be held as noted under DATES in this Notice. The purpose 
of scoping meetings is to provide attendees an opportunity to present 
comments, ask questions, and discuss concerns regarding the SWEIS with 
DOE/NNSA officials. Comments and recommendations can also be submitted 
to Jeanette Norte as noted in this Notice under ADDRESSES. The SWEIS 
scoping meetings will use a format to facilitate dialogue between DOE/
NNSA and the public and will provide individuals the opportunity to 
give written or oral statements. DOE/NNSA welcomes specific comments or 
suggestions on the SWEIS process. Copies of written comments and 
transcripts of oral comments provided to DOE/NNSA during the scoping 
period will be available at the DOE Public Reading Room at Government 
Information/Zimmerman Library MSC05 3020, 1 University of New Mexico, 
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001, Tel: 505-277-5441 Fax: 505-277-6019 E-mail:; Reading Room Web site:; and 
on the Internet at After the close 
of the public scoping period, DOE/NNSA will begin developing the draft 
SWEIS. DOE/NNSA expects to issue the draft SWEIS for public review and 
comment in 2012 for at least 60 days following publication of the 
Environmental Protection Agency's Notice of Availability in the Federal 
Register. The Notice of Availability, along with notices placed in 
local newspapers, will provide dates and locations for public hearings 
on the draft SWEIS and the deadline for comments on the draft document. 
Persons who submit comments with a mailing address during the scoping 
process will receive a copy of the draft SWEIS. Other persons who would 
like to receive a copy of the document for review when it is issued 
should notify Jeanette Norte at one of the addresses provided 
previously. DOE/NNSA will include comments received on the draft SWEIS 
in the final SWEIS.

    Issued in Washington, DC, this 21st day of June 2011.
Thomas P. D'Agostino,
Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration.
[FR Doc. 2011-15951 Filed 6-23-11; 8:45 am]