Note: This story was updated at 8:30 a.m.
The plaintiffs in a civil lawsuit filed in federal court in July alleged that there is a risk of a catastrophic collapse of old buildings containing nuclear weapon components at the Y-12 National Security Complex, possibly due to a large earthquake. A catastrophic collapse “would likely” result in the release of nuclear or toxic materials and place the environment and local residents in “extreme peril,” the plaintiffs said.
But federal officials denied that allegation and others in a response filed in late September.
The 44-page civil complaint, which is related to the planned Uranium Processing Facility at Y-12, was filed July 20 in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The seven plaintiffs include three public interest organizations—Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, Nuclear Watch of New Mexico, and Natural Resources Defense Council of Washington, D.C.—and four people who live in Oak Ridge and Knoxville.
The federal lawsuit asked for an environmental review of the new design for the UPF, where design plans have changed from one building to three. The lawsuit alleged that the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration have violated a federal environmental law, the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, as they implement the major design change.
Specifically, the plaintiffs have requested a new supplemental environmental impact statement or a new site-wide environmental impact statement for the revised UPF design. They cited the decision to build several new buildings and the plan to continue using existing buildings that the plaintiffs say have significant structural defects. They want the U.S. District Court to vacate, or void, a supplement analysis and an amended record of decision prepared by the NNSA in 2016. [Read more…]