Environmental Assessment Completed for Expanding Capabilities at the National Security Test Range and Radiological Response Training Range at Idaho National Laboratory

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Idaho Operations Office has determined that expanding the capabilities at Idaho National Laboratory’s (INL’s) National Security Test Range and Radiological Response Training Range will not have a significant impact on the environment.

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the department today issued a final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact that allows expansion of the capabilities of each range – allowing for the installation of permanent structures and utilities, an increase in the frequency of range activities, and an increase in testing capabilities.

The NEPA finding enables both ranges to continue supporting the growing need for training increasing numbers of first responders from defense and homeland security organizations who are charged with safeguarding the public and protecting U.S. national security. It enables an increase in the testing capabilities at each range – allowing for the use of unmanned aerial systems, additional explosive materials and additional radioisotopes for testing and training purposes.

DOE plans to equip each range with permanent infrastructure which may include offices, classrooms, and conference rooms, restroom and kitchen facilities. Fixed utility infrastructure providing electricity, roadways, testing pads and fencing are also planned.

History of Ranges

After an Environmental Assessment performed in 2006 (DOE/EA- 1557), the DOE established the National Security Test Range at INL in 2007 to aid in the development and evaluation of protection measures for defending infrastructure against terrorist threats using improvised explosive devices, rocket- propelled grenades and other explosive charges. Similarly, in 2010, after a separate Environmental Assessment (DOE/EA- 1776), the DOE established the Radiological Response Training Range at INL to develop and maintain an effective response capability for major radiological incidents by providing a location for nuclear forensics, detection and radiological dispersion device training. Since initial development, the ranges have seen extensive use from military, law enforcement, national laboratory, industry and university partners.

The document, entitled the Final Environmental Assessment for Expanding Capabilities at the National Security Test Range and the Radiological Response Training Range at Idaho National Laboratory (DOE/EA- 2063) was prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act and is posted at: https://www.id.energy.gov/insideNEID/PDF/CLN200243%20Final%20EA%20Dear%20Citizen%20with%20FONSI.pdf.

DOE hosted a public review and comment period on a draft of the environmental assessment from September 12 through October 12.

DOE Idaho Operations Office Press Release
The media contact information for Tim Jackson is (208) 526-8484.
For Immediate Release: December 10, 2019