September 15, 2000

Colette E. Brown
US Department of Energy
M/S NE-50
19901 Germantown Road
Germantown, MD 20874-1290

RE: DOE Plan to Restart FFTF

Dear Ms. Brown,

The Washington Environmental Council (WEC) is a statewide coalition of 90 member groups and thousands of individuals working to protect, restore, and enhance the environment of Washington State. For 33 years we have worked on a wide range of environmental issues, including preventing pollution and protecting public health.

The U.S. Department of Energy is considering a plan to restart the FFTF Nuclear Reactor at Hanford to produce research medical isotopes and plutonium-238.

The Washington Environmental Council strongly opposes this plan for the following reasons:

Restart of the reactor would:

Put Hanford back into plutonium production, creating more liquid waste for leaking, high-level nuclear waste tanks;

Likely delay Hanford clean-up further threatening the Columbia River; and Increase the danger of accidents and further nuclear contamination in the Pacific Northwest.

The Environmental Impact Statement released by the DOE does not include important information, such as the following:

Future demands for medical isotopes can be met using other facilities; and

Future needs for plutonium to power NASA space missions can be met using existing supplies, supplemented by foreign sources if necessary.

Finally, the cost analysis, non-proliferation study and waste management study, all of which are extremely important to measuring the impact of FFTF restart, are separated from the environmental impact study.

We thank you for this opportunity to provide public comment relating to this important issue. Sincerely,

Joan Crooks
Executive Director