SEIS for the Production of Tritium in a Commercial Light Water Reactor

NNSA, a semi-autonomous agency within DOE, has prepared a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) to update the environmental analyses in DOE’s 1999 EIS for the Production of Tritium in a Commercial Light Water Reactor (CLWR EIS; DOE/EIS–0288). The CLWR EIS addressed the production of tritium in Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) reactors using tritium-producing burnable absorber rods (TPBARs). In the Record of Decision (ROD) for the CLWR EIS, NNSA selected TVA’s Watts Bar Unit 1 and Sequoyah Units 1 and 2, located in Spring City and Soddy‐Daisy, Tennessee, respectively, for tritium production. TVA has been producing tritium for NNSA at Watts Bar Unit 1 since 2004.

At the time of the preparation of the 1999 EIS, it was estimated that tritium permeated through the wall of the TPBARs into the reactor coolant at a rate of 1 curie per TPBAR per year (there are approximately 10,000 curies of tritium produced by a TPBAR). Irradiation experience at Watts Bar has shown that the actual permeation rate is 3-4 curies per TPBAR per year. In other words, although the TPBAR captures 99.96 percent of the tritium produced, it is still absorbed at a rate lower than was originally analyzed. Therefore, DOE/NNSA determined a supplement to the 1999 Final EIS and ROD was necessary. The results of the analyses presented in the SEIS indicate there would be no significant increase in radiation exposure associated with TPBAR irradiation for facility workers or the public. For all analyzed alternatives, estimated radiation exposures would remain well below regulatory limits.

Comments on this Draft SEIS should be submitted within 45 days of the publication of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Notice of Availability in the Federal Register, to ensure consideration in preparation of the Final SEIS. NNSA will consider comments received after the 45-day comment period to the extent practicable. The public comment period ends on September 22, 2014. The public comment period is an opportunity for the public to provide DOE/NNSA with comments on the analysis contained in the Draft SEIS. The public may provide comments on the Draft SEIS in one of four ways. Comments will be accepted in writing to Mr. Curtis Chambellan at the address below; by e-mailing comments to; by presenting oral comments at one of two public hearings to be held in connection with the Draft SEIS; or in writing at one of the two public hearings.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Southeast Tennessee Trade and Conference Center
Athens Regional Park
122 Regional Park Drive
Athens, TN 37303

Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Chattanooga State Community College
Center for Business, Industry, and Health
Cafeteria – 1st floor
4501 Amnicola Highway
Chattanooga, TN 37406

Both meetings will follow the same schedule:
6:00 p.m.: Informal open house, discussions with project representatives
6:30 p.m.: DOE/NNSA project presentation
7:00-9:00 p.m.: Formal public comment period

For more information or to submit comments, please contact:
Mr. Curtis Chambellan
CLWR SEIS Document Manager
P.O. Box 5400
Albuquerque, NM 87185-5400
Phone: (505) 845-5073



Notice of Intent To Prepare a Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Production of Tritium in a Commercial Light Water Reactor

Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Production of Tritium in a Commercial Light Water Reactor (DOE/EIS-0288)

2009 Final Environmental Impact Statement: Construction and Operation of a Tritium Extraction Facility at the Savannah River Site (DOE/EIS-0271)