Why the Depleted UF6 Conversion Facility EISs Are Needed
The two Depleted UF6 Conversion EISs are needed to assess the potential environmental impacts of constructing, operating, maintaining, and decontaminating and decommissioning DUF6 conversion facilities at the Paducah and Portsmouth sites.
National Environmental Policy Act
Federal laws and regulations require the federal government to evaluate the effects of its actions on the environment and to consider alternative courses of action. The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) specifies when an environmental impact statement (EIS) must be prepared. NEPA regulations require, among other things, federal agencies to include discussion of a proposed action and the range of reasonable alternatives in an EIS. Sufficient information must be included in the EIS for reviewers to evaluate the relative merits of each alternative. Council for Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations provide the recommended format and content of Environmental Impact Statements.
Purpose and Need for Agency Action
DOE needs to convert its inventory of DUF6 to a more stable chemical form for storage, use, or disposal. This need follows directly from:
- the decision presented in the August 1999 "Record of Decision for Long-Term Management and Use of Depleted Uranium Hexafluoride," namely to begin conversion of the DUF6 inventory as soon as possible, and
- Public Law 107-206, which directed DOE to award a contract for the construction and operation of conversion facilities at Paducah and Portsmouth.
Purpose of the EISs
The two site-specific EISs will assess the potential environmental impacts of constructing, operating, maintaining, and decontaminating and decommissioning DUF6 conversion facilities at the Portsmouth and Paducah sites, as well as a "no action" alternative. The EISs will aid decision making on DUF6 conversion by evaluating the environmental impacts of the alternatives, as well as providing a means for public input into the decision making process. DOE is committed to ensuring that the public has ample opportunity to participate in this review.