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Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance v. Perry

United States District Court, E.D. Tennessee, Knoxville

September 24, 2019


          POPLIN, J.


          REEVES, J.

         In 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1942, Brigadier General Leslie Groves laid eyes upon the Clinch River valley in Anderson County, Tennessee. As head of the newly formed Manhattan Engineer District (better known as the “Manhattan Project”), he was drawn to this well-barricaded, sparsely populated region as an ideal location to secretively enrich the uranium he would need to build the first ever nuclear bomb. The Clinch River winds its way in a southwesterly direction through Anderson County, which is defined by a series of steep ridges and valleys that run parallel to each other in a southwest to northwest direction. Deep underground, a series of faults run roughly in the same direction; geologists know this area as the East Tennessee Seismic Zone.

         Less than three years later, Groves succeeded, and the town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee-built from scratch to house the uranium-enriching workforce-became forever synonymous with the weapon that ended World War II.

         After the war, the “Oak Ridge Reservation” was transferred from military to civilian control. Today, it is controlled by of the Department of Energy (“DOE”) and is comprised of two main complexes, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 National Security Complex. DOE, acting through its sub-agency, the National Nuclear Security Administration (“NNSA”), continues to store and manufacture the highly-enriched uranium needed to sustain the country’s nuclear weapons arsenal at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12.

         In 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1969, Congress passed the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”)-our “national charter” for protecting the environment. The Act requires federal agencies to prepare environmental impact statements for any “major” federal action. Although it does not police substantive decisions, NEPA does require agencies to follow a rigorous process for disclosing the resulting impacts of their actions on the environment.

         In 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1996, with the Cold War fading, DOE undertook a monumental effort to modernize the entire United States nuclear weapons infrastructure, and considered the resulting environmental impacts in a series of three “programmatic” statements. Under these plans, Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 would continue to be the primary location for manufacturing and storing highly-enriched, weapons-grade uranium. Thus, Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 would need to develop modernization plans of its own and discuss these environmental impacts of its plans in separate impact statements. The first such impact statement was finalized in 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1; in addition to disclosing the “site-wide” environmental impacts at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12, NNSA proposed eliminating the existing facilities where highly-enriched uranium was kept and condensing the storage of those materials into one new facility, dubbed the “Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility, ” or HEUMF. In that same statement, NNSA contemplated the construction of a build-ing-which came to be known as the “Uranium Processing Facility, ” or UPF-adjacent to the HEUMF. Ideally, the UPF would achieve the same goals for uranium manufacturing that the HEUMF would achieve for uranium storage by effectively consolidating all the manufacturing operations currently taking place in outdated buildings into a new, state-of-the-art facility.

         By the mid-2000s, the HEUMF was built and preliminary plans for the UPF were being developed. As part of another site-wide impact statement, NNSA prepared in 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 to evaluate the specific environmental impacts of its plans to upgrade Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12’s uranium manufacturing program. As required by NEPA, NNSA evaluated the environmental impacts of various alternative actions, which included a “no action” alternative, a plan called the “Upgrade in-Place” under which only existing facilities would be upgraded (and no new facilities would be built), and three plans for new manufacturing facilities that would be designed to handle different production capacities. Ultimately, NNSA settled on one of these “capability-sized” UPFs, and issued a record of decision in July 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 that ratified this choice.

         Shortly after NNSA decided on a course of action, it ran into roadblocks and quickly realized that building the UPF to specifications was going to cost much more than initially predicted. A little more than two years after the decision to build the UPF was made, those overseeing the project realized a change was necessary. A group known as the “Red Team” formed to evaluate the remaining feasible options, and issued a report recommending that all construction on the UPF stop immediately. In its place, the Red Team suggested building a much smaller-scale UPF, and refurbishing existing buildings that would have been demolished under the original plan.

         The Red Team Report was released in early 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14. Later that same year, the United States Geological Survey (“USGS”) issued updated “seismic hazard maps” for the entire country. As the name suggests, these maps provide a general overview of earthquake risk across the United States and are updated roughly every five to six years to account for new evidence and improvements in the field of seismology. While the maps themselves are necessarily approximate, the underlying data provides a well-respected baseline for policymakers, government agencies, and private industry decisionmakers to evaluate location-specific earthquake risks and plan accordingly. Significantly for this case, the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 map indicated a much higher earthquake hazard for all of East Tennessee than any previous versions.

         Meanwhile, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board (“DNFSB”), a government agency formed to ensure safety compliance at nuclear weapons production facilities, had been conducting structural reviews of existing buildings at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 since at least 2009. Their reviews had revealed many structural deficiencies in the buildings that were now slated to remain at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12.

         Between 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 and 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16, NNSA and Consolidated Nuclear Security, LLC (“CNS”), the Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 site contractor, began implementing the Red Team’s plan. As part of this process and in compliance with DOE’s NEPA regulations, NNSA prepared a so-called “supplement analysis” in 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 to determine whether the change in plans would require preparation of a new environmental impact statement. Under NEPA, an agency is required to prepare an updated, or “supplemental, ” impact statement whenever there is a change in circumstances or significant new information that would alter the analysis of environmental impacts from a prior statement.

         NNSA concluded that no supplemental statement was necessary because, although there had admittedly been a change in circumstances, the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 site-wide impact statement had already evaluated the environmental impacts that would result from the adoption of an “Upgrade in-Place” alternative in addition to the UPF. Because, in essence, the Red Team had recommended building a smaller UPF in conjunction with the refurbishment of existing buildings, and the updated plan had combined these two alternatives, NNSA concluded that NEPA did not require a new impact statement in these circumstances. In addition, NNSA discussed the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 seismic hazard map, and concluded the information contained therein did not warrant the preparation of a new impact statement to account for the increase in seismic hazard. Shortly thereafter, NNSA issued a formal notice of decision confirming its changed plans and reiterating its conclusion that no further environmental analysis was required under NEPA.

         The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance is an organization that monitors and informs the public about nuclear weapons production at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12. Its members keep close track of activity at the facility, and they had taken every available opportunity to comment on the progress of the UPF. In July 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17, a year after NNSA published its formal decision declining to prepare a new impact statement, the Alliance, along with four of its members and two other organizations, brought this suit, arguing that DOE and NNSA had violated NEPA by failing to prepare a supplemental impact statement. In April, 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18, while the suit was pending, NNSA prepared a new draft supplement analysis (a less comprehensive form of environmental review than an environmental impact statement) to reassess the progress of its ongoing modernization plans since the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 site-wide statement had been prepared. After accepting comments to the draft, NNSA released its final analysis, again concluding that no further analysis of environmental impacts was necessary.

         The April 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18 analysis disclosed new information regarding the scope of the modernization project. In response, Plaintiffs filed an amended complaint, bringing additional claims under NEPA. As it stands, they have alleged violations of NEPA under four separate theories.

         First, that Defendants have improperly “segmented” the overall analysis of the Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 Modernization Plan to avoid disclosing potentially significant environmental impacts. Second, that they should prepare a new (or supplemental) impact statement because of the change in circumstances resulting from NNSA’s 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 decision to downsize the UPF and refurbish existing buildings through the so-called “Extended Life Program, ” or ELP. Third, that NNSA masked the overall significance of the ELP through improper use of “categorical exclusions” (which agencies may legally use for certain actions that are presumptively considered not to have a significant environmental effect). And finally, that NNSA must prepare a supplemental impact statement in light of the new information contained in the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 USGS seismic hazard map in light of its conclusion that the overall seismic risk in East Tennessee has increased.

         The parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment, which are the subject of this Opinion. Although styled as motions for summary judgment, there are no factual disputes here. Instead, the parties argue over whether Defendants’ conduct was legal based upon the administrative record. As authorized by the Administrative Procedure Act, this Court has authority to review the legality of an agency’s decisions under NEPA, and if it finds the basis for the decision is arbitrary and capricious, it may remand to the agency for further proceedings.

         For the reasons explained in this Opinion, the Court has reached the following conclusions. In Defendants’ favor, the Court finds they have not improperly segmented the Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 Modernization Plan, and that a new environmental impact statement is not required in light of the changed circumstances that resulted from NNSA’s decision to downsize the UPF and implement the Extended Life Program. But in favor of the Plaintiffs, the Court finds that Defendants have acted arbitrarily and capriciously in applying all sixty-nine categorical exclusions at issue and in their failure to properly evaluate the environmental impacts resulting from USGS’s increased seismic hazard forecast for East Tennessee.

         Consequently, both motions for summary judgment will be denied in part and granted in part. The 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 Supplement Analysis, the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 Record of Decision, and the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18 Supplement Analysis will accordingly be set aside and remanded to the agency for further NEPA analysis.

         I. PARTIES

         a. Plaintiffs

         Seven plaintiffs-four individuals and three nonprofit organizations-have brought suit in this case. The first organizational plaintiff is the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance (“OREPA”), headquartered in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, the location of the Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 National Security Complex (“Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12”). OREPA monitors and informs the public about nuclear weapon production at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12, with the goal of achieving a world free from the threat of nuclear weapons.

         Nuclear Watch of New Mexico (“Nuclear Watch”) is a project of the Southwest Research and Information Center, a nonprofit based in Albuquerque, New Mexico; it uses research, education, and citizen action to advocate for cleanup of nuclear facilities, including Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12, and achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. Before filing suit, both OREPA and Nuclear Watch submitted petitions to Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 regarding the production of the requested environmental impact statements.

         Natural Resources Defense Council (“NRDC”) is a national nonprofit that engages in research, advocacy, media, and litigation to protect public health and the environment.

         All four individual plaintiffs live within fifty miles of Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12, and are members of OREPA; two are also members of NRDC.

         b. Defendants

         Defendant Lisa Gordon-Hagerty is the Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration (“NNSA”), which is responsible for maintaining the safety, reliability, and security of the United States nuclear weapons programs and facilities, including Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12.

         Defendant James Richard Perry is the Secretary of the Department of Energy (“DOE”), NNSA’s parent agency.


         Plaintiffs filed their Complaint on July 20, 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia [D. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1]. The court granted Defendants’ motion to transfer venue, and this case was transferred to the Eastern District of Tennessee on April 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13, 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18 [D. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18].

         After filing an unopposed motion for leave, Plaintiffs filed an Amended Complaint on October 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15, 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18, which is now the operative pleading [D. 47]. The Amended Complaint requests an Order granting the following relief:

. A declaration that Defendants have violated the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) and the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”);
. An order vacating three NNSA decisions-the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 Supplement Analysis, the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 Amended Record of Decision, and the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18 Supplement Analysis and the remand of those decisions to the agency with orders to prepare either a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement or a new Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12;
. Directions for the NNSA to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the “Extended Life Program”;
. An award to Plaintiffs of reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs for this action; and
. Any further relief the Court may deem just and proper.

         The parties agreed to an Amended Scheduling Order [D. 51');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1] and filed cross-motions for summary judgment [D. 53, 54]. Response and reply briefs [D. 58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58, 61');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1] have been filed in compliance with the Amended Order, and this matter is now ripe for decision.


         a. National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”)

         NEPA[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1" id="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1] is the “basic national charter for protection of the environment.” It declares a “national policy which will encourage productive and enjoyable harmony” between people and the environment, and “promote[s] efforts which will prevent or eliminate damage to the environment and biosphere and stimulate the health and welfare of man.” 42 U.S.C. § 4321');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1; 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1500.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1(a). The law has “twin aims.” Baltimore Gas & Elec. Co. v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, 462 U.S. 87, 97 (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1983). First, it “places upon an agency the obligation to consider every significant aspect of the environmental impact of a proposed action.” Id. (quoting Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Corp. v. Nat. Res. Def. Council, 435 U.S. 51');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">19, 55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">553 (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1978)). Second, it ensures that the agency will inform the public that it has indeed considered environmental concerns in its decision making process. Id. (citing Weinberger v. Catholic Action of Hawaii, 454 U.S. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">139, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">143 (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1981');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1)); Cf. 40 C.F.R. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1500.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1(b) (“[P]ublic scrutiny [is] essential to implementing NEPA.”).

         NEPA’s regulations contain “action-forcing” provisions to ensure federal agencies act in accordance with the law’s spirit and letter, 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1500.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1(a), but its mandate is “essentially procedural.” Tenn. Envtl. Council v. Tenn. Valley Auth., 32 F.Supp.3d 876, 882-83 (E.D. Tenn. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14) (citing Robertson v. Methow Valley Citizens Council, 490 U.S. 332, 350 (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1989)). So while agencies must follow a certain process to evaluate the environmental impact of a project, NEPA does not require any substantive results. Methow Valley, 490 U.S. at 350; see also Strycker's Bay Neighborhood Council, Inc. v. Karlen, 444 U.S. 223, 227-28 (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1980). Thus, “even agency action with adverse environmental effects can be NEPA-compliant so long as the agency has considered those effects and determined that competing policy values outweigh those costs.” Kentuckians for the Commonwealth v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng’rs, 746 F.3d 698, 706 (6th Cir. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14).

         b. Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”)

         The “heart” of NEPA is the environmental impact statement, or “EIS.” Daniel R. Mandelker et al., NEPA Law and Litigation § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1:1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 (2d. ed., Westlaw 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18 update); 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2)(C). An EIS is the most detailed and comprehensive level of review under NEPA regulations, and it must be prepared for any “major Federal action[] significantly affecting the quality of the human environment.” 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2)(C); Tenn. Envtl. Council, 32 F.Supp.3d at 883.

         Prior to preparing an EIS, the agency may prepare an Environmental Assessment (“EA”) to see if an EIS is necessary. 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1508.9; Southwest Williamson Cty. Cmty. Ass’n, Inc. v. Slater, 243 F.3d 270, 274 n. 3 (6th Cir. 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1). If the EA demonstrates a project will have no significant adverse environmental consequences, the agency may issue a finding of no significant environmental impact (“FONSI”); otherwise, an EIS is required. Slater, 243 F.3d at 274 n. 3; see Anglers of the Au Sable v. U.S. Forest Serv., 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12');">565 F.Supp.2d 81');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12, 824 (E.D. Mich. 2008) (EA is a “rough cut, low-budget [EIS] designed to show whether a full-fledged [EIS]...which is very costly and time-consuming to necessary”) (quoting La. Crawfish Prod. Ass’n-West v. Rowan, 463 F.3d 352, 356 (5th Cir. 2006)).

         To determine if an impact is “significant, ” NEPA requires agencies to consider both context and intensity. 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1508.27. “Context” accounts for the fact that the significance of an action will vary with its setting. Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1508.27(a); see Nat’l Parks & Conserv. Ass’n v. Babbitt, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 F.3d 722');">241');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 F.3d 722, 731');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 (9th Cir. 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1) (“Context simply delimits the scope of the agency’s action, including the interests affected.”). To account for context, the agency must analyze any environmental impacts with respect to “society as a whole, ” the affected region, the affected interests, and the locality. Id.

         “Intensity” refers to the “severity of the impact, ” and the agency may consider ten specifically enumerated factors when evaluating intensity. Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1508.27(b); see Nat’l Parks & Conserv. Ass’n, 241');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 F.3d 722 (“Intensity relates to the degree to which the agency action affects the locale and interests identified in the context part of the inquiry.”). Intensity is not evaluated according to a rote formula: The presence of one factor alone may require an EIS, while an agency may decline to prepare an EIS even when all ten factors are present. Compare Klein v. U.S. Dep’t of Energy, 753 F.3d 576, 58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">584 (6th Cir. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14) (“[w]hile the ten factors show that the Department could have prepared an environmental impact statement, they do not show the Department acted arbitrarily and capriciously in not completing one”) (emphasis in original) with Ocean Advocates v. U.S. Army Corps of Eng’rs, 402 F.3d 846, 865 (9th Cir. 2005) (“One of these factors may be sufficient to require preparation of an EIS in appropriate circumstances.”).

         In some cases, neither an EA nor an EIS is required. Sierra Club v. U.S. Forest Serv., 828 F.3d 402, 408 (6th Cir. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16). Instead, an agency may adopt a “categorical exclusion” for actions that “do not individually or cumulatively have a significant effect on the human environment.” Id.; 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1508.4. To use a categorical exclusion, the finding of no significant impact must be made according to procedures adopted by the agency, and these procedures must provide for “extraordinary circumstances” where a normally excluded action is found to have a significant environmental effect that requires further NEPA review. Id.; see 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1021');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1.41');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10 (DOE’s categorical exclusion procedures).

         i. Scope

         If the agency decides to prepare an EIS, it must next determine the scope of the EIS-that is, whether the action should be considered individually or along with other related actions. Man-delker, supra § 9:1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1. At minimum, the agency must discuss closely related or “connected” actions in the same impact statement. 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1508.25. Actions are “connected” if they: i) automatically trigger other actions which may require an EIS; ii) cannot or will not proceed unless other actions are taken previously or simultaneously; or iii) are interdependent parts of a larger action and depend on the larger action for their justification. Id. The unlawful failure to discuss connected actions together in the same impact statement is known as “segmentation.” Mandelker, supra § 9:1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14. The rule against segmentation prevents agencies from evading their responsibilities under NEPA by artificially dividing a federal action into smaller components so the action would no longer be considered “major, ” or so that no significant environmental impacts would be detected (thus avoiding the need to prepare an EIS). See id.; Jackson Cty., N.C. v. FERC, 58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">589 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1284');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">589 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1284, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1290 (D.C. Cir. 2009).

         To avoid segmentation, an agency may group related actions together in what is known as a “programmatic” environmental impact statement (“PEIS”). See Mandelker, supra § 9:2. Such an impact statement may even be required when several proposals could have a “cumulative or syn-ergistic” impact within a region or when projects are not geographically connected but are related in time or subject matter. Kleppe v. Sierra Club, 427 U.S. 390, 409 (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1976); see Envt’l Def. Fund v. Adams, p. 403');">434 F.Supp. 403 (D.D.C. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1977) (requiring preparation of PEIS to accompany agency’s plan for development of public airports across the United States).

         The preparation of a PEIS will not relieve an agency from its duty to prepare a later “site-specific” EIS covered in the prior statement. Mandelker, supra § 9:1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12. But the later site-specific statement will not need to be fashioned from whole cloth. Rather, through a process known as “tiering, ” the agency may incorporate by reference the general discussions contained in the programmatic EIS and concentrate solely on the issues specific to the later EIS. 40 C.F.R. §§ 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1508.28, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.20; Guidance Regarding NEPA Regulations, 48 Fed. Reg. 34263, 34267-68 (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1983) (By allowing the agency to incorporate earlier documents, tiering is “intended to streamline the existing process.”).

         ii. Format

         Federal regulations provide a standard format for agencies to use in preparing an EIS, which should be followed unless the agency determines that there is a compelling reason to arrange the EIS differently. 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10. After briefly specifying the underlying purpose and need for the action, the EIS must describe the affected environment, along with the environmental consequences of a proposed action. Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13 (purpose and need); § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15 (affected environment); § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16 (environmental consequences); 42 U.S.C. § 4332(2)(C)(i)-(v). Just as the “heart” of NEPA is the EIS, the “heart” of the EIS is the analysis of alternatives, wherein the agency must “rigorously explore and objectively evaluate” all reasonable alternatives-including a “no action” alternative-in light of the information and analyses presented in the sections describing the affected environment and environmental consequences. 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14(a), (d). The range of alternatives discussed should encompass the same range of options being considered by the ultimate agency decision-maker. Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.2(e).

         An EIS is prepared in two stages. Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.9. First, the lead agency prepares a draft statement, which should make “every effort” to disclose and discuss all major points of view on the environmental impacts of the alternatives presented, including the proposed action. Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.9(a). The agency must invite comments on the draft from any involved federal, state, or local agency, along with the public, from which the agency must affirmatively solicit comments from persons or organizations who may be interested or affected. Id.; § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1503.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1(a). Next, the final EIS is prepared. Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.9(b). The final statement shall respond to the comments provided, and discuss at “appropriate points” any responsible opposing view not adequately discussed in the draft statement, including a response to the issues raised by those commenters. Id.

         The presentation of data must be “sufficient to enable those who did not have a part” in the compilation of the EIS “to understand and consider meaningfully the factors involved.” Izaak Walton League of Am. v. Marsh, 55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55 F.2d 346');">655');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55 F.2d 346, 368-69 (D.C. Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1981');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1) (quoting Envtl. Def. Fund v. Corps of Eng’rs of U.S. Army, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">123');">492 F.2d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">123, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">136 (5th Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1974)). As such, the agency is obligated to “insure the professional integrity...of the discussions and analyses in [an EIS], ” and identify any methodologies used with explicit reference to the scientific and other sources relied upon for any conclusions reached. 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.24. But a full analysis of alternatives “may be presented without a complete, thorough documentation of every piece of data in the statement itself.” Crosby v. Young, 51');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 F.Supp. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1363, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1369 (E.D. Mich. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1982). And when the agency relies on technical material as part of its analysis, it “shall” incorporate that material by reference when the effect will be to cut down on bulk, so long as the incorporation of the material does not impede agency and public review of the action. 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.21');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1. The “express purpose” of this regulatory requirement is to “decrease the bulk of the EIS without influencing the caliber of review.” Crosby, 51');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 F.Supp. at 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1369.

         iii. Environmental Consequences

         As mentioned, the EIS must consider any “reasonably foreseeable” effects or adverse impacts of the proposed action which will have environmental consequences. 40 C.F.R. §§ 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.22. A “reasonably foreseeable” impact or effect may include those where the probability of occurrence is low, but the environmental consequences could be “catastrophic.” Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.22. The DOE calls this review, where potential accident[2] scenarios are evaluated to ascertain the environmental consequences that would result, the “accident analysis” [AR 7766[3]. U.S. Dep’t of Energy, Recommendations for Analyzing Accidents Under the National Environmental Policy Act (July 2002); see Charles H. Eccleston, The EIS Book: Managing and Preparing Environmental Impact Statements § 5.1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10 (201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14). The analysis is “necessary” for the agency to make a “reasoned choice among the proposed action and alternatives” and to allow for “appropriate consideration of mitigation measures” [AR 7766].

         For the sake of efficiency, DOE authorizes the occasional use of a “bounding” analysis as part of the overall accident analysis. Under this type of analysis, multiple unlikely events are “bounded” together with simplifying assumptions and methods which overestimate the actual environmental impacts that would result if any one of these events occurred [AR 31');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1735]. But even where overall impacts are small, DOE’s own internal guidance suggests that a bounding analysis would be inappropriate if it obscures differences among alternatives or fails to address concerns the public has expressed [Id.].

         c. Supplemental EIS

         If, at any time, the agency makes a “substantial change” in the proposed action that is relevant to environmental concerns, or if “significant new circumstances or information” arise that bear on the proposed action (again, relevant to environmental concerns), the agency must prepare a supplemental EIS (“SEIS”). Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1502.9(c). The same criteria used to determine if an EIS should be prepared in the first place is applied to determine if a SEIS is necessary-whether the change in the action or the new information constitutes a major federal action that will significantly affect the quality of the human environment. Marsh v. Or. Nat’l Res. Def. Council, 490 U.S. 360, 374 (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1989); see also U.S. v. City of Detroit, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15');">329 F.3d 51');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15, 529 (6th Cir. 2003) (Moore, J., concurring) (“NEPA makes no distinction between initial actions and subsequent changes to initial actions.”).

         When it is unclear whether a SEIS is required, DOE’s own regulations require the preparation of a Supplement Analysis (“SA”). 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1021');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1.31');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14(c); see Hodges v. Abraham, 253 F.Supp.2d 846, 854 (D.S.C. 2002), aff’d 300 F.3d 432 (4th Cir. 2002). The SA must contain sufficient information for DOE to determine whether an existing EIS should be supplemented, whether an entirely new EIS should be prepared, or whether no further NEPA documentation is required. Id.

         d. Timing

         “NEPA’s effectiveness depends entirely on involving environmental considerations in the initial decisionmaking process.” Metcalf v. Daley, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">135');">21');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">135, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">145 (9th Cir. 2000) (citing Methow Valley, 490 U.S. at 349). Accordingly, agencies should integrate the NEPA process with other planning at the “earliest possible time.” 40 C.F.R. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1501');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1.2. By complying with this requirement, the agency will be able to “[i]dentify environmental effects and values in adequate detail so they can be compared to economic and technical analyses.” Id. § 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1501');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1.2(b). When new information or changed circumstances may require a new EIS, supplemental action will be required when there “remains major federal action to occur.” Ctr. for Biological Diversity v. Salazar, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1085');">706 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1085, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1094 (9th Cir. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13) (quoting Norton v. S. Utah Wilderness All., 55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">542 U.S. 55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55, 73 (2004)); see Marsh, 490 U.S. at 374 (the need for supplementation depends on “the value of the new information to the still pending decision-making process”) (emphasis added).


         a. Administrative Procedure Act

         NEPA itself does not authorize a private right of action. Instead, judicial review is granted under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”). See 5 U.S.C. § 701');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-06; Friends of Tims Ford v. Tenn. Valley Auth., 58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">585 F.3d 955');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55, 964 (6th Cir. 2009). The APA directs courts to hold unlawful and set aside agency action, findings, and conclusions found to be “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” Sierra Club v. U.S. Forest Serv., 828 F.3d 402, 407 (6th Cir. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16) (cleaned up). A decision is arbitrary or capricious under the APA if the agency has: i) relied on factors Congress had not intended it to consider; ii) entirely failed to consider an important aspect of the problem; iii) offered an explanation for its decision that runs counter to the evidence before it; or iv) is so implausible that the decision could not be ascribed to a difference in view or the product of agency expertise. Id. (cleaned up).

         When reviewing claims under NEPA, which are often highly technical, courts should not act as “omnipotent scientists.” Tri-Valley CAREs v. U.S. Dep’t of Energy, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13');">671');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">126 (9th Cir. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12). And when analysis of the relevant documents requires a “high level of technical expertise, ” courts are at their “most deferential.” Marsh, 490 U.S. at 377 (quoting Kleppe, 427 U.S. at 41');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 and Baltimore Gas & Elec., 462 U.S. at 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">103). But “the deference accorded an agency’s scientific or technical expertise is not unlimited, ” and “deference is not owed if ‘the agency has completely failed to address some factor consideration of which was essential to making an informed decision[.]’” Earth Island Inst. v. Elliott, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18 F.Supp.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">155');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">31');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18 F.Supp.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">155');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">167 (E.D. Cal. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18) (quoting Brower v. Evans, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1058');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">257 F.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1058');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1067 (9th Cir. 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1)).

         b. Summary Judgment

         The parties have both moved for summary judgment, which is proper only if the record shows there is “no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). But since this case involves the review of an administrative proceeding, the “usual rules governing summary judgment do not apply.” Integrity Gymnastics & Pure Power Cheerleading, LLC v. U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Servs., 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">131');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 F.Supp.3d 721');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">131');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 F.Supp.3d 721');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, 725 (S.D. Ohio 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15); see Oregon Wild v. Cummins, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1247');">239 F.Supp.3d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1247, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1258');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58 (D. Or. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17) (in the NEPA and APA context, “summary judgment” is “simply a convenient label” for triggering judicial review) (citations omitted). Instead, under the APA, the agency resolves factual issues to arrive at a decision that should be supported by the administrative record. Stuttering Found. of Am. v. Springer, 498 F.Supp.2d 203, 207 (D.D.C. 2007). The district court’s only task is to determine whether or not the evidence in the record permitted the agency to make the decision it did, as a matter of law. Id. (citing Occidental Eng’g Co. v. INS, 753 F.2d 766, 769-70 (9th Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1985). Thus, summary judgment serves as the “mechanism for deciding. . . .whether the agency action is supported by the administrative record and otherwise consistent with the APA standard of review.” Id. (citing Richards v. INS, 55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">554 F.2d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">173');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">55');">554 F.2d 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">173, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">177 n. 28 (D.C. Cir. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1977)).


         Having reviewed the law, the Court now moves to the facts of this case. But to properly understand the issues in dispute under this long and complex record, the reader needs basic familiarity with two scientific fields: nuclear physics and seismology.

         a. Enriched Uranium

          “Atomic energy requires an atom.”[4] Every atom is composed of three parts: positively-charged protons, neutrally-charged neutrons, and negatively-charged electrons. Protons and neutrons are found together in the nucleus (and thus are collectively called “nucleons”), while electrons orbit the atom. An element will always have the same amount of protons-noted by the atomic number-but the amount of neutrons and electrons may vary. For example, uranium’s atomic number is 92; no matter how many electrons or neutrons are present, every atom of uranium has 92 protons. But the same element can have different amounts of neutrons. So an element may have different isotopes, identified by the total number of nucleons.

         Most uranium found in nature comes in the isotope uranium-238 (“U-238”), which has 92 protons and 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">146 neutrons (238 nucleons). The second most frequently occurring isotope is ura-nium-235 (“U-235”), which has 92 protons and 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">143 neutrons (235 nucleons). Over time, uranium will shed protons through “fission, ” and release energy in the process. In the early 20th century, scientists figured out a way to make that fission process happen much more quickly. By sending neutrons at a highly unstable isotope of uranium, a nuclear fission reaction will quickly be triggered. If other uranium atoms are nearby, the neutrons freed from the first reaction will hit the surrounding nuclei, triggering a nuclear chain reaction. The smallest amount of fissile material needed to sustain a chain reaction is the “critical mass.” So in scientific lingo, an uninterrupted nuclear fission chain reaction is a “critical” reaction, otherwise known (and often referred to in this Opinion) simply as a “criticality” event.

         For (very) complicated reasons, isotopes having an even number will be less “fissile” (that is, more stable) than isotopes with odd numbers. So to produce energy through a fission reaction, whether for a nuclear reactor or a nuclear bomb, U-238 will not do.

         It is impossible to mine only U-235 in such a concentrated form that one could effectively make a weapon from the mined uranium. So to build a weapon, scientists need to “enrich” the small amount of U-235 out of raw uranium that contains a mixture of mostly U-238 and a little bit of U-235. And to actually enrich the amount of U-235 needed for building a weapon requires a nearly superhuman feat of engineering.[5] Yet, the U.S. Army managed to do it at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 in less than three years.

         b. Seismology

         One of the central documents in this case is “seismic hazard map” prepared by the United States Geological Survey (“USGS”) in 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14, which is a document prepared by seismologists for other professional seismologists and engineers. Moreover, the dispute in this case largely centers on various structural engineering decisions made at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12, and many of the critical documents the Court has relied on in the administrative record are prepared by engineers for engineers. Which is to say that to understand this case, the reader needs to know some basic seismology.

         i. Magnitude

         Most people with a casual understanding of earthquakes likely know that earthquakes may vary by their magnitude, on something known as the Richter scale. In the most basic sense, an “earthquake” is what occurs when there is a crack in the earth’s crust (a “fault”) and the earth on either side of that fault moves.

         An earthquake’s “magnitude” is simply an estimate of the size of its crustal movement, and it is designed to be manageable and conceptually intuitive. Susan E. Hough, Earthshaking Science: What We Know (and Don’t Know) About Earthquakes 33 (2002). Seismologist Charles Richter created the first magnitude scale in the 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1930s by assigning a number that corresponded to the magnitude of the deflection on a specially designed seismometer-the larger the deflection, the greater the magnitude. Id. Today, Richter’s scale (otherwise known as local magnitude, or “ML”) is one of four methods used to measure an earthquake’s magnitude. The preferred scale is called the “moment magnitude” (or “Mw”) scale.[6] See Hough, supra at 35. Although more difficult to compute, the Mw scale provides the most accurate measurements of large earthquakes. Id.

         ii. Ground Motion

         But, practically speaking, the size of an earthquake is not its most important attribute. When an earthquake occurs (when the earth’s crust moves) a vibration results. Seismologists measure this “ground motion” through applying the physics of wave propagation. Hough, supra at 81');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1; Peter M. Shearer, Introduction to Seismology 39 (6th ed. 2009).

         Returning briefly to high school physics, the height of a wave is its amplitude-the greater the amplitude, the greater the energy. The horizontal distance of a wave is its wavelength, which measures the distance between two points of equal amplitude. The frequency of the wave is calculated by the equation: f = 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1/T, where “f” is the frequency, and “T’ is the period, or the amount of time it takes a wavelength to complete one cycle. “Hertz” (Hz) is the standard unit for measuring frequency, where “T” is set to a period of one second. As the equation shows, period and frequency are inversely related: A wave with a frequency of 2 Hz will have a period of .5 seconds, while a wave with a frequency of .5 Hz will have a period of 2 seconds.[7]

         As the wave leaves its source, the amplitude of the wave will decrease with distance, just as the waves nearest a pebble thrown in a pond are larger than those farther out. So in general, the farther a given location is from an earthquake, the less severe its effects will be. Seismologists call this phenomenon “geometrical spreading.” Hough, supra at 88.

         However, the Earth’s crust affects how exactly these waves propagate in the real world. Attenuation will describe how an earthquake with a given location, depth, and magnitude will impact the surrounding area. For example, waves move much more efficiently through the crust in the eastern United States than in the western United States. Therefore, earthquakes of a similar magnitude will be felt over a greater distance (that is, they will attenuate more slowly) in the east than the west.

         Another important factor is site response. In practice, describing site response at a specific location is extremely complicated, but the concept is simple: The impact of an earthquake at a specific location is governed by geological factors specific to that location. The importance of site response can be illustrated by looking at one of the most infamous earthquakes in recent American history, the 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

         “Loma Prieta” is a peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and it lies near the San Andreas fault about fifty miles from downtown San Francisco. On October 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1989, the fault slipped near Loma Prieta Peak, and the waves propagated in all directions. Yet the earthquake is remembered not because of what happened at Loma Prieta, but because of its devastating impact in San Francisco and the Bay Area.

         The impact was so great, in part, because the earthquake started at a point deep in the ground, and the resulting waves caromed off the “Moho”[8]-the boundary between the Earth’s crust and the mantle-into the center of San Francisco. Thus, the shaking in San Francisco was about twice the intensity of what would “normally” be expected in the city fifty miles from the epicenter of an earthquake at that magnitude (Mw 6.9).[9] See John McPhee, Assembling California (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1993).

         Even within the Bay Area, the effects varied depending on the location. Most notably, and tragically, the top deck of the double-decker Nimitz freeway in Oakland collapsed. This was not happenstance: The freeway was built over a layer of bay mud that had been filled in so it could be developed. Hough, supra at 80. When the waves hit the mud, they slowed and the waves ampli-fied-i.e., the energy of the waves increased-greatly increasing the severity of shaking compared to nearby sites built on harder rock. Id. The susceptibility of structures built in mud is well-known; seismologists think the same phenomenon increased shaking in Mexico City (which is built on a filled-in lake) during a 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1985 earthquake that originated on the Pacific coast, about 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">180 miles away. Accordingly, when preparing a site-specific earthquake hazard assessment, one can learn a great deal about the particular earthquake risk by knowing the rock composition at the site.

         iii. Intensity

         So while knowing the magnitude of an earthquake is important, it does not fully describe the environmental and human impact of the earthquake. Because the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 USGS map changed the hazard assessment for ground motions at the Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 site, some technical discussion of techniques used to measure the ground motions of earthquakes-and how these measurements are used to forecast the intensity of future earthquakes-is needed to understand the contents of the map.

         1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1. Peak Ground Acceleration

         The first commonly used method for measuring ground motion is to calculate the “peak ground acceleration” (pga). Compared to spectral acceleration, pga is a little easier to understand- it simply represents the largest increase in velocity (that is, the greatest acceleration) recorded by a particular station during an earthquake. The acceleration is measured in units of gravity, or “g.” Thus, a peak ground acceleration of 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1g will exactly counter the force of gravity. If the pga is 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1g, or higher, the acceleration will be great enough to lift an object off the ground.[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10" id= "FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10]

         2. Spectral Acceleration

         A more complicated method for calculating ground motion is to measure the so-called “spectral” acceleration. But knowing the likely spectral acceleration of a possible earthquake is critical for builders and engineers, making the extra calculation worth the effort.

         a. Resonance Period

         Every building has what is called a “natural” or “resonant” period, [1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1" id="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1] and if the frequency of a wave produced by an earthquake approaches the building’s natural period, the building will oscillate with a much larger amplitude than when a force is applied at other periods. In other words, it will shake much more violently, and is much more likely to be damaged in such an event. Hough, supra at 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">148-49. Consequently, a builder who knows the resonant period of the structure could construct a much safer building if she knew the acceleration of the ground motion associated with that building’s resonant period.

         b. Calculating Spectral Acceleration

         Spectral acceleration is best understood in two steps.[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12" id="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12] First, as discussed above, a single (and ideally symmetrical) wave has a given (and easily measured) frequency. In practice, an earthquake produces many waves at many frequencies. A “spectral frequency” graph will show the “frequency of the frequencies”; in other words, how many waves of a given frequency are produced by a given earthquake. Second, one can take a particular frequency, and mathematically derive the acceleration from each particular frequency, in theory producing a graph with the “frequency of the accelerations.”[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13" id="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13]

         Ideally, the “spectral acceleration” would measure the acceleration across every frequency, based on the frequency spectrum for that particular earthquake (which would be more representative of that earthquake as a whole than the peak acceleration). Hough, supra at 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">148. But doing so is extremely cumbersome.

         For this reason, USGS records the peak spectral acceleration in large earthquakes at only a few periods. These periods are not selected randomly, but are calculated because they bracket the range of resonant periods that a typical building might have. Id. And, somewhat importantly for this case, USGS had previously modeled spectral acceleration at three periods-0.3 seconds, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1.0 second, and 3.0 seconds. Id. But when the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 seismic hazard map was released, spectral acceleration was calculated instead at periods of 0.2 seconds and 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1.0 second.

         3. Modified Mercalli Intensity (“MMI”)

         To measure the intensity at a particular location, seismologists in the United States may refer to the Modified Mercalli intensity (MMI) scale. Unlike the previously discussed intensity measurements, which incorporate objective data, the MMI scale does not have a mathematical basis. Rather, according to the USGS, it is “an arbitrary ranking based on observed effects, ” and is based on subjective human perceptions about the intensity of the earthquake.[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14" id= "FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14]

         MMI values are used, in part, because it is a more accessible way to measure an earthquake’s severity for the nonscientist than ground acceleration. Id. The MMI scale uses human observations to rate the “intensity” of the earthquake on a Roman numeral scale from I to X. At an intensity of I, the earthquake is “[n]ot felt except by a very few under especially favorable conditions.” At an intensity of X, “extreme” shaking occurs; some well-built wooden structures, as well as most masonry and frame structures, are destroyed, and rails are bent. Id. (MMI can also be used to approximate the size and intensity of historical earthquakes that occurred before modern measuring equipment was available, by looking to contemporaneous accounts.)

         USGS will solicit public input to calculate the MMI value. For example, on March 5, 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">19, employees on the fourth floor of the Howard Baker, Jr. United States Courthouse, in Knoxville (ZIP code: 37902), felt a shaking around 4 PM EST.[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15" id= "FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15] Twenty people in the ZIP code reported their qualitative experience of the earthquake to USGS; from those intensity reports, the MMI intensity in the 37902 ZIP code was measured at III, corresponding to “weak” shaking.[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16" id= "FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16]

         c. Forecasting Earthquakes

         Of course, in this case, Plaintiffs are not arguing Defendants failed to accurately measure a past earthquake, but contend that Defendants have not adequately taken into account the hazards presented by future earthquakes.

         i. USGS Seismic Hazard Maps

         As already mentioned, a key document in this case is the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14 USGS Seismic Hazard Map. First developed in the 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1970s, these maps are updated by USGS on a regular basis to incorporate the most recent innovations in measuring and forecasting earthquakes, in order to provide up-to-date and useful guidance for public and private decision makers who need to account for earthquake hazards in their work [AR 28673]. The maps have a host of practical applications, and are used, among other things, to draft building codes, structure insurance rates, and conduct site-specific engineering analyses [Id.].

         The maps only provide probabilistic results; they do not offer predictions of when or where an earthquake might occur (which simply cannot be done with any accuracy, given the scientific complexities). Instead, they evaluate the long-term earthquake hazard within a given region. Hough, supra at 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">131');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1. Specifically, the probability is expressed as the probability of exceedance, which calculates the likelihood that a given earthquake intensity (measured in terms of either peak ground acceleration or spectral acceleration) will be exceeded in a given timeframe. Conveniently, the USGS makes an online search tool-the “Unified Hazard Tool”-available to the public. Anyone can look up the seismic hazard for a particular location within the United States and see an earthquake forecast for that location.[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17" name= "FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17" id="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">17]

         To produce this forecast, USGS initially splits the United States into the “Central and Eastern United States” (CEUS) and the Western United States (which is further broken down into California, Cascadia, and the Intra-mountain West). Within the CEUS-the relevant region in this case- a probabilistic seismic hazard is derived from three types of source material: i) an earthquake catalog, recording rates and patterns of past earthquakes; ii) geologic studies identifying source faults, and iii) ground motion models applicable to CEUS (considered a “stable continental region, ” or SCR) [AR 28960].

         The analysis then proceeds in two steps. First, the earthquake catalog and source fault information[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18" name="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18" id="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">18] are combined to calculate the “a-grid, ”[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">19" name= "FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">19" id="FN1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">19">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">19] which maps the seismicity rate (that is, how many earthquakes of a given magnitude can be expected to occur) within different subregions of the CEUS [AR 28697-700]. These a-grids are then fed into multiple ground motion models that express the ground motion intensity in terms of peak ground acceleration and spectral acceleration at various frequencies [see AR 28782-802]. The data from these models provide ground motion forecasts for each region at different probabilities of exceedance (and, as discussed, the data is incorporated into the Unified Hazard Tool).


         With this basic grounding in the science, the Court will summarize the history of this case.

         a. Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 Background

          i. History

         Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 sits on the banks of the Clinch River, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee-about 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15 miles from Knoxville, the largest city in East Tennessee. It is part of the larger “Oak Ridge Reservation, ” which is comprised of more than 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, 200 DOE-owned buildings between Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 and the nearby Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL).[20]

         A century ago, the town of Oak Ridge did not exist. White settlers first entered the area between Walden Ridge (which marks the eastern boundary of the Cumberland Plateau) and the Clinch River in 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1798. Throughout most of the nineteenth century, residents were subsistence farmers. In the late 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1800’s, many residents found work in newly developing coalfields to the west. This state of affairs lasted until the Great Depression.

         The 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1930’s were a pivotal time throughout America, but perhaps nowhere did the Depression, and the ensuing government response, have a greater lasting impact than in Appalachia and East Tennessee. To address poverty in the Tennessee River watershed, which covers seven states across Appalachia, Congress created the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) in 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1933. TVA was charged with using the abundant water and natural resources in the Tennessee Valley to provide work and cheap electricity to its residents. TVA went to work quickly, completing the construction of its first dam-Norris Dam, on the Clinch River to the northeast of present-day Oak Ridge-by 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1936.

         Far away from the verdant ridges and valleys of East Tennessee, German chemists had discovered the process of “nuclear fission” by late 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1938. Two Hungarian immigrants, the nuclear physicists Eugene Wigner and Leo Szilard, realized this discovery could be used to produce fear- some weapons of mass destruction, as well as electricity for human consumption. Along with Albert Einstein, the physicists approached President Franklin Roosevelt in July 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1939, to inform him of the discovery and its consequences. Later that year, a committee assembled by President Roosevelt agreed to provide $6, 000 for uranium fission experimentation.

         After Japanese planes bombed Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1941');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, the United States entered World War II, and the need to develop a nuclear weapon suddenly felt more urgent. Scientists quickly formed the secretively-named “Metallurgical Laboratory” at the University of Chicago to research techniques for enriching uranium and plutonium (the other highly fissile element that can be used in atomic weapons, and which is created as a byproduct of uranium decay), along with designing the bomb itself.

         President Roosevelt assigned the task of producing nuclear weapons (along with the construction and management of uranium and plutonium plants) to the Army, and engineers were sent to scout locations where uranium and plutonium could be produced on a large scale. Three engineers visited a site in East Tennessee bordering the Clinch River. The site was adjacent to two railroads and had abundant electricity, thanks to TVA, but was safely hidden in a valley midway between the two largest (yet relatively small) towns in the area-Kingston and Clinton.

         The Army Corps of Engineers formed a new district-the Manhattan Engineer District-on August 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1942. The district was indeed initially headquartered in Manhattan, New York, near Columbia University, where much of the groundbreaking nuclear physics research was taking place. But unlike any other Corps district, the Manhattan District was not bounded geographically. Instead, any facility devoted to producing an atomic bomb fell within its grasp. The activities that took place at all these sites became known as the “Manhattan Project, ” and the goal of the project was to build an atomic bomb by 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1945-a task later described as the “equivalent of building a Panama Canal each year” [AR 5009].

         General Leslie Groves led the project, and he swiftly ordered the immediate purchase of land in the area now known as the Oak Ridge Reservation, which became the headquarters and the focal point of all uranium production for the project. By March 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1943, the Corps had purchased 866 tracts of land encompassing 58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58');">58, 575 acres in Roane and Anderson counties. The land was code-named “Site X” (a plutonium manufacturing plant in Hanford, Washington became “Site W, ” and the weapons research center in Los Alamos, New Mexico was “Site Y”).

         Scientists had not yet perfected a technique for enriching uranium, so three buildings were constructed at Oak Ridge-code-named X-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10, K-25, and Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12-to implement three different methods for enriching uranium. Another location called “Townsite” (now the city of Oak Ridge, Tennessee), was built to house the workers who would enrich the uranium that was then sent to New Mexico, where it would be assembled into a bomb.

         On August 6, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1945, a U.S. B-29 bomber took off from Tinian Naval Base in the Mariana Islands, weighed down with a 9, 700 pound bomb named “Little Boy, ” containing 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">141');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 pounds of uranium enriched at K-25 and Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12. The plane flew over Hiroshima, Japan and released the projectile. When it was 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, 900 feet above Hiroshima, a mass of uranium inside the bomb fired into another, setting off a nuclear chain reaction.

         Three days later, a second bomb (containing plutonium produced at “Site W” in Hanford, Washington), dropped over Nagasaki, Japan. Within a month, Japan formally surrendered, and World War II was over. Back in Oak Ridge, many of the workers at Townsite learned for the first time that they had helped build the bomb that ended the war.

         ii. The Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 Modernization Plan

         The Oak Ridge Reservation was not initially designed to last beyond the duration of the war, but plans were announced a mere three weeks after surrender to develop the Reservation into a permanent nuclear and scientific research facility. Congress passed the Atomic Energy Act[1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1" name= "FN21');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1" id="FN21');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1">21');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1] in August 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1946, creating the Atomic Energy Commission and transferring atomic research into civilian hands; on New Year’s Day, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1947, the Manhattan Engineer District ceased to exist. Two of the code-named sites, which had been built to enrich uranium for weapons, evolved beyond the original narrow mission. “X-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">10” became the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Originally, it focused its research on developing nuclear reactors, but has since evolved well beyond its original mission into a multipurpose national laboratory. “K-25” began to produce low-enriched uranium for nuclear energy reactors; eventually it was renamed the “East Tennessee Technology Park, ” and it has since been torn down.

         On the other hand, Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 has continued to manufacture and store the highly enriched uranium needed for nuclear weapons. Immediately after World War II, this meant producing more enriched uranium to build more nuclear weapons. But the mission of Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 changed substantially in the early 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1990s, when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Cold War ended [AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1274]. As a result, the “emphasis of the U.S. nuclear weapons program has shifted dramatically over the past few years from developing and producing new weapons to dismantlement and maintenance of a smaller, enduring stockpile” [Id.; AR 6366]. Since 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1992, the United States has declared a moratorium on nuclear testing, and in 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1996, President Bill Clinton became the first head of state to sign the U.N. Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (which has not been ratified by the Senate). David S. Jonas, The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty: Current Legal Status in the United States and the Implications of a Nuclear Test Explosion, 39 N.Y.U. J. INT’L L. & POL. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1007, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">101');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">19 (2007).

         In 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1994, Congress established the “Stockpile Stewardship Program, ” directing the Secretary of Energy to ensure the “preservation of the core intellectual and technical competencies of the United States in nuclear weapons.” FY 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1994 National Defense Authorization Act, P.L. 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">103-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">160, § 31');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">138 (1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1994). The Program is subdivided into five components: i) the “Life Extension Program” (i.e., refurbishing weapons and reusing or replacing components); ii) evaluation and surveillance; iii) weapons dismantlement and disposition; iv) materials management, storage, and disposition; and v) material recycle and recovery [AR 20407-09]. Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 plays a role in all of these missions, and also supplies reactor fuel for nuclear submarines, which run on highly enriched uranium [Id.]. Essentially, although Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 is not preoccupied with manufacturing enriched uranium at this point, any highly enriched uranium still used by the United States for its thousands of nuclear weapons has likely passed, or will pass, through the gates of Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12.

         Recognizing that no significant upgrades had been made at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 (or other important nuclear sites) since World War II, and in light of its shifting mission, DOE published three “programmatic” environmental impact statements in 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1996 that holistically analyzed the environmental impacts of its new approach to the use and storage of nuclear weapons at all existing facilities [see AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">157; AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1274; AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1279]. Based on those documents, DOE issued a Record of Decision indicating its intent to maintain the existing national security mission of Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12, while modernizing and downsizing the facilities [see AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16888]. 61');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 Fed. Reg. 6801');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">14.

         The “initial major step” taken to implement this effort was the 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 “Site-Wide” Environmental Impact Statement for the Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 Complex (the “2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS”) [AR 631');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">13; AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16888]. DOE had envisioned a wholesale “modernization initiative, ” known as the “Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 Modernization Plan, ” that would consolidate Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 operations into fewer, more efficient facilities, and the 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS set a “baseline” for evaluating reasonable alternatives to implement the programmatic decision to modernize the storage of highly enriched uranium and special materials at Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 [AR 6344; AR 6366]. After review, DOE settled on a plan for Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 that included the continued maintenance of existing DOE and Defense programs, as well as the construction of new, safer, and more secure buildings. In turn, the 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS specifically analyzed the environmental impacts of alternative designs for the first two proposed buildings under the Modernization Plan: the Highly Enriched Uranium Materials Facility (HEUMF)[22], and the Special Materials Complex (SMC)[23] [AR 7520].

         DOE published the 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS in September 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1. That same month, the September 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 terrorist attacks changed the geopolitical landscape, and the United States found itself exposed to a “new, broader threat environment” [AR 8965]. A classified “Nuclear Posture Review” was conducted in December 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1, which articulated goals for a “responsive nuclear weapons complex” that could meet a range of “plausible contingencies” [AR 8968]. A “New [Nuclear] Triad” was envisioned, with three goals: i) strategic offensive forces; ii) defensive forces; and iii) a “responsive infrastructure” [AR 9260]. And in 2005, DOE contemporaneously released two documents: a Notice of Intent to Prepare a New Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12, and a classified “Design Basis Threat” policy [AR 9679; AR 9683]. The Notice of Intent revealed plans to construct a modern “Uranium Processing Facility” (UPF) that could meet the latest Design Basis Threat policy guidance in a cost-effective manner [AR 9680; AR 971');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16].

         b. The Uranium Processing Facility

         The UPF would replace multiple aging facilities (some of which were more than fifty years old) and would be built next to the HEUMF, which was under construction by 2005[24] [AR 971');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16]. In 2008, a “Complex Transformation Supplemental Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement” (the “2008 SPEIS”) was published [AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1239]. This statement supplemented the 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1996 programmatic statements, which needed updating after DOE set its policy of building a more “responsive” Nuclear Weapons Complex that could adapt to the new geopolitical context [AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">15071');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1-72]. The 2008 PEIS fed into the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 Site-Wide Environmental Impact Statement for Y-1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">12 (the “201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS”)-a key document in this case [AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16834, 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16869].

         i. 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS

         The 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS “expand[ed] on and update[d]” the analyses contained in the 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS [AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16876]. In addition to this “site-wide” evaluation, the 201');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">11');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS also evaluated the environmental impacts of the various alternative plans for the UPF, in accordance with the previously issued Notice of Intent.

         In compliance with NEPA regulations, NNSA first considered a “No Action Alternative” (labeled “Alternative 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1”), that would preserve the status quo from the 2001');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1 SWEIS [Id.].

         Alternative 2 -the “UPF Alternative”-proposed constructing the UPF, which would consolidate enriched uranium operations[25] into an “integrated manufacturing operation” [AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16877]. Although it would require a major capital investment, the UPF would improve security, reduce operational costs, and “enhance worker, public, and environmental safety” [AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16878].

         Alternative 3 -the “Upgrade in-Place” Alternative-did not propose the construction of any new buildings [AR 1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">1');">16880]. But it would go beyond “no action” by modernizing both enriched and non-enriched uranium processing facilities to comply with contemporary environmental, safety, and security standards (including protection against seismic hazards) [Id.]. The upgrades would be limited by the fact that they were being ...

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