May 26, 1998

News Media Contacts: Carol Morrison (for DOE Brookhaven Group), 630/252 2014;
Mona S. Rowe (BNL), 516/344 2345



The U. S. Department of Energy today informed the Brookhaven Executive Round Table, a panel of local elected officials and regulators, that the department will modify its schedule for conducting a review of the environmental impacts of the High Flux Beam Reactor (HFBR) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). The review document analyzing options including shutdown of the reactor or its restart will now be completed in mid 1999. The decision to extend the timetable is an outcome of the public comments received on the scope of the environmental impact statement (EIS); it will also ensure that the draft EIS incorporates studies relating to groundwater protection and remediation of the tritium plume, to be completed this summer and fall.

The department sponsored three public meetings to receive comments on the scope of the EIS from November 24, 1997 to January 23, 1998. During that time, 592 comments were gathered through meetings, letters, faxes, phone, comment cards and electronic mail. The public will have additional opportunities for comment after the department issues the draft EIS.

"Many of our stakeholders expressed concern that we were moving too fast, and asked us to take more time to evaluate their comments and related environmental protection issues," said Dean Helms, Executive Manager of the Brookhaven Group. "Given these comments and the scope of the review, we extended our schedule."

The new schedule for the EIS is as follows:


Previous Date

Revised Date

Draft EIS/ Public Review Comment Period mid July 1998-
late mid August 1998
November 1998
-late January, 1999
Final EIS Public Availability late November 1998 late April, 1999
Record of Decision late December 1998  late May 1999

Copies of public comments are available in the following public reading rooms: the BNL Library, the Longwood Public Library, the Shirley Mastic Public Library, and the Freedom of Information Library at DOE Headquarters in Washington, DC.