Note This story was last updated at 9:38 a.m. Sept. 25.
A federal judge in Knoxville on Tuesday said a critical decision made in 2016 for enriched uranium operations at the Y-12 National Security Complex, including for the $6.5 billion Uranium Processing Facility, violated a national environmental law, and she ordered the decision vacated, or set aside.
The UPF is already under construction, and Wedenesday morning, the National Nuclear Security Administration, which oversees work at Y-12, said construction will continue.
The 104-page opinion and order was filed in U.S. District Court on Tuesday by Chief U.S. District Judge Pamela L. Reeves.
One of the plaintiffs said the decision to vacate the amended record of decision published in the Federal Register in 2016 means the NNSA no longer has the legal authority to continue construction work at UPF.
But the NNSA said it was pleased that the court’s memorandum opinion rejected almost all of the plaintiff’s claims regarding National Environmental Policy Act violations related to UPF construction.
“However, with the court agreeing that there was inadequate consideration of new information concerning seismic hazards at Y-12, NNSA will review the seismic analysis while conferring with the Department of Justice on the possibility of appeal,” the NNSA said. “In the meantime, construction of UPF will proceed.”
Besides the amended record of decision, Reeves said supplement analyses prepared in 2016 and 2018 also violated the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA, and she said they were to be set aside as well.[Read more…]