Environmental Assessment

Environmental Assessment

The PIP-II particle accelerator project at Fermilab will require the construction of buildings and research facilities on the Fermilab site in Batavia, Illinois. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has completed its Final Environmental Assessment for the project, including the analysis of potential impacts to human health and the environment. DOE has determined that the project would not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment and the project may proceed.

DOE released the Draft Environmental Assessment for public comment in October 2018 (see press release ). In January 2019, DOE completed the Final Environmental Assessment and issued the signed Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) document.

About the PIP-II particle accelerator project

This architectural rendering shows the buildings that would house the 700-feet-long PIP-II particle accelerator and related infrastructure. The buildings would be located about 300 feet east of Wilson Hall, the 16-story office building on the Fermilab site.

The Proton Improvement Plan II, or PIP-II, is an upgrade to the existing proton accelerator complex at Fermilab. It will provide increased beam power to generate an unprecedented stream of neutrinos — subatomic particles that could unlock our understanding of the universe — and enable a broad program of physics research for many years to come.

The centerpiece of the PIP-II project is the construction of a new superconducting radio-frequency linear accelerator, which will become the initial stage of the upgraded Fermilab accelerator chain. The plan is to install the new accelerator in a roughly 700-foot-long tunnel about 25 feet underground.

The new accelerator will double the beam energy of its predecessor from 400 million to 800 million electronvolts. That boost will enable the Fermilab accelerator complex to achieve megawatt-scale beam power.

About the Environmental Assessment

With the help of a number of technical experts, DOE prepared a Draft Environmental Assessment to determine what impacts the construction and operation of PIP-II might have on human health and the environment. The Draft Environmental Assessment included a statement of project purpose and need, a description of the proposed project and alternatives, a description of the current environment, and an analysis of potential impacts to the air, sound, water, soil, safety, traffic flow and other areas. The Draft Environmental Assessment was available to the public via libraries and reading rooms as well as electronic media for a 30-day comment period. DOE prepared a Final Environmental Assessment after receipt of public comments.

Decision-making

The Final Environmental Assessment was completed and DOE issued a statement known as a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI). The FONSI Determined that the project would not have a significant effect on the quality of the human environment and the project may proceed. DOE made the Final Environmental Assessment document and the associated FONSI available to the public via electronic media.

About the NEPA process

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was signed into law in 1970. It sets forth protection of the environment as a U.S. policy and requires that all federal agencies consider the potential environmental impacts of proposed projects. NEPA establishes a framework to ensure that environmental factors receive appropriate consideration along with economic and technical factors in federal agency decision-making. Accordingly, DOE completed the NEPA process for the PIP-II project.

More information

For more information:

Rick Hersemann
NEPA Compliance Officer
U.S. Department of Energy

Fermi Site Office
Batavia, IL 60510
Phone: 630-840-4122

Email: rick.hersemann@science.doe.gov