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LANL Biosafety Level 3 Facility Environmental Impact Statement

Los Alamos National Laboratory
Biosafety Level 3 Facility Environmental Impact Statement (LANL BSL-3 EIS)

In 2002, NNSA prepared an Environmental Assessment (EA) for the construction and operation of the Facility. On February 23, 2002, NNSA issued a Final EA (DOE 2001a) and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the construction and operation of a BSL-3 Facility (DOE 2002a). The Facility was then constructed near a canyon slope on fill material that was used to level the site. However, when the building had been substantially constructed, NNSA determined there were seismic concerns that had not been adequately addressed during the design of the Facility.

As a result, in February 2004, NNSA withdrew the FONSI with respect to the operation of the Facility in order to evaluate the environmental consequences of operating the Facility built upon fill material, including the ability of the Facility to withstand seismic loads (DOE 2004a). Subsequently, NNSA decided to prepare an EIS and conduct a rock mechanical analysis and slope stability study. Construction on the Facility was substantially completed in the fall of 2003, but the Facility has not yet been put into operation. The Facility is a windowless, single-story, 3,200-square foot building, housing one BSL-2 laboratory, and two BSL-3 laboratories.