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For Immediate Release November 30, 2000
Media Contact: Jim Giusti   (803) 725-2889


Draft EIS Issued On Future Closures Of SRS High-Level Waste Tanks

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AIKEN, SC; November 30 - The Department of Energy (DOE) Savannah River Operations Office (SR) has published for public review and comment the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on the proposed closing of additional high-level waste (HLW) tanks at the Savannah River Site (SRS).

DOE-SR proposes to close the tank systems to protect human health and the environment. These proposed closures would be in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, DOE Orders, and the previously published document, Industrial Wastewater Closure Plan for F- and H-Area High-Level Waste Tanks Systems, prepared by DOE and approved by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC).

The Draft EIS evaluates three alternatives regarding closure of the HLW tanks: (1) Clean and Stabilize Tanks, (2) Clean and Remove Tanks, and (3) No Action Alternative. Under the Clean and Stabilize Tanks alternative, DOE is considering three options for tank stabilization: fill with grout (preferred alternative), fill with sand, or fill with saltstone.

DOE has closed two SRS high-level waste tanks in accordance with the Closure Plan and applicable DOE Orders. Tank 20 and Tank 17 were certified closed by SCDHEC in July 1997 and December 1997, respectively. SRS is committed in the Federal Facilities Agreement to close another high-level waste tank by FY2003. While SRS will not be closing any high-level waste tanks until the EIS process is completed, waste removal operations will continue. The schedule for preparation and completion of the EIS fully supports schedules and plans for additional tank closures.

The publication of the Notice of Availability of the Draft EIS in the Federal Register begins the public comment period, which extends through January 23, 2001. The Department will hold two public meetings - each with two sessions - to discuss the Draft EIS and receive comments. Dates and locations of those public meetings are listed below:

    January 9, 2001
    North Augusta Community Center
    101 Brookside Drive
    North Augusta, South Carolina
    1-3 PM and 5-7 PM (repeat sessions)

    January 11, 2001
    Holiday Inn Coliseum
    630 Assembly Street
    Columbia, South Carolina
    1-3 PM and 5-7 PM (repeat sessions)

The Draft EIS is available on request from the contact listed below or on the Internet at the DOE NEPA Web,, under DOE NEPA Analyses. It is also available in the following information repositories:

    DOE Public Reading Room at the Gregg-Graniteville Library at the University of South Carolina-Aiken campus in Aiken, SC

    DOE-Headquarters Public Reading Room at the Forrestal Building (Room 1E-190), 1000 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC

Comments on the Draft EIS may be submitted orally or in writing to DOE at the January 2001 public meetings; sent by facsimile or voice mail to 1-800-881-7292; sent by electronic mail to; or mailed to Mr. Andrew Grainger, NEPA Compliance Officer, DOE-SR, Building 742, Room 185, Aiken, SC 29802 (ATTN: Tank Closure Draft EIS).

In preparing the Final EIS, DOE will consider all comments transmitted or postmarked by January 23, 2001. Comments submitted after this date will be considered to the extent practicable.




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