Facility Spotlight: May 13: Pantex Plant Report Released "Scathing" NNSA Performance Evaluation Report on the Pantex Plant: In one case, Pantex put the wrong tailkit assembly- the key element of the 'modernized' weapon- on a B61-12 nuclear bomb- and sent it on to the Dept. of Defense. Other issues plagued the plant, including the use of an incorrect O-ring on one of the B61 bombs and a duplicated serial number on W76-1 warhead parts. The NNSA criticized CNS' self-evaluation assessment of "Very Good" and gave an overall assessment of 57 percent.
Nuclear Weapons Complex Misconduct
Dec. 3, 2015. POGO: Updated Federal Contractor Misconduct Database, focussing on Nuclear Complex
(see report at POGO)
Click the image to download this large printable map of DOE sites, commercial reactors, nuclear waste dumps, nuclear transportation routes, surface waters near sites and transport routes, and underlying aquifers. This map was prepared by Deborah Reade for the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability.
Quote of the Week
"Now is the time for serious oversight and a realistic approach to these issues in order to stop an emerging arms race and avoid wasting billions of dollars we cannot afford."
- Rep. Adam Smith, Ranking member, House Armed Services Committee (ref)
Dossier: The Kirtland AFB Nuclear Weapons Complex
Kirtland Air Force Base, which abuts and shares some runways with the Albuquerque airport, has become a major nuclear weapons complex of it's own. It hosts the Air Force's Nuclear Weapons Center, Sandia National Laboratories, and what is probably the nation's (and perhaps the world's) largest repository of nuclear weapons, estimated at up to 2,500 warheads... (read more)
Lawrence Livermore FY 2017 Budget Request
For Livermore Lab, Nuclear Weapons Activities still dominate the budget, increasing to over 86%.
Chart by Tri-Valley CARES
Video, Senate hearing March 16: Review of FY 2017 NNSA Budget Request
Testifying: General Frank Klotz, Administrator, National Nuclear Security Administration, among others; questioning by Sens. Diane Feinstein, Lamar Alexander, Stewart Udall, and Lindsay Graham regarding the new nuclear cruise missile, dropping of the MOX facility in favor of "dilute and dispose" at WIPP, weapons-related v. non-proliferation funding, the modernization of nuclear forces and upgrades to the nuclear weapons labs.
(Senate Committee on Appropriations- Energy and Water Development Subcommittee; Wednesday, March 16, 2016)
Jay Coghlan, Nukewatch Director Interview
Earth Matters Radio re legacy of the US nuclear weapons program on the 70th anniversary of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki bombings. Thursday Aug 6 at 10 am and 8 pm on 89.1FM. Archived podcast here
Los Alamos: A Whistleblower's Diary, by Chuck Montaño, 2015.
April 21, Los Alamos Daily:
Chuck Montaño was given the ANA Whistleblower award in Washington DC: (story)
Chuck Montaño serves on Nuclear Watch New Mexico's Steering Committee.
Successful Citizen Activism Against
Expanded U.S. Plutonium Pit Production
This is the unsung story of successful citizen activism against repeated government attempts to expand the production of plutonium pit cores, which has always been the choke point of resumed U.S. nuclear weapons production. This history is a critical part of the march toward a future world free of nuclear weapons. We gratefully dedicate it to Leroy Moore, longtime activist with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, and J. Carson Mark, retired director of the Los Alamos Lab's Theoretical Division and ardent arms control advocate.
(View/download full report- PDF)
Brief terrifying history of US nuclear mishaps
Eric Schlosser recounts the United States' clumsy history with nuclear weapons. And it's terrifying.
Jan 26, 2016 Doomsday Clock: Three Minutes to Midnight
"In keeping the hands of the Doomsday Clock at three minutes to midnight, the members of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists Science and Security Board mean to make a clear statement:
"The world situation remains highly threatening to humanity, and decisive action to reduce the danger posed by nuclear weapons and climate change is urgently required."
(The Bulletin, Jan 26, 2016)
Who Will Claim Ronald Reagan's Mantle On Nuclear Disarmament Today?
"A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. The only value in our two nations possessing nuclear weapons is to make sure they will never be used. But then would it not be better to do away with them entirely?" -1984 State of the Union
(Read more of "Ronald Reagan, Republicans, and Nuclear Weapons" by Jonathan Granhoff, President, Global Security Institute)
The nuclear threat has changed. Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Bill Perry tells a harrowing story of a false alarm that almost set off nuclear Armageddon. Former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn explains why we can't rely on technology to work perfectly in an age of cyber attack and terror.
Recent visitors - click to enlarge
"If you really want a future world free of nuclear weapons, you can hardly make a better investment than to give to Nuclear Watch New Mexico. They need and deserve your support so that they can carry on their groundbreaking work. I urge you to be generous with them!" - Danielle Brian, Executive Director, Project on Government Oversight.
June 21, 2016: Joe Cirincione Testifies on Nuclear Dangers at Democratic Platform Committee
Ploughshares President Joe Cirincione testified at the Democratic Platform Drafting Committee,
highlighting the urgent threats posed by nuclear weapons:
"The use of one nuclear weapon on one city would be a level of destruction not seen since the end of the Second World War. The use of ten nuclear weapons on ten cities would be a catastrophe unprecedented in human history. The use of 100 weapons on 100 cities could destroy all humanity has created over the millennia...
"One has to be irrationally optimistic to believe that we can keep these weapons in fallible human hands indefinitely and something terrible will not happen. We can and must steadily reduce the risk of nuclear explosions by accident, miscalculation or madness before it is too late."
Read and download Cirincione's full written testimony here. Ploughshares Fund is a supporter of Nuclear Watch New Mexico
June 17, 2016:
Representative Adam Smith (D-WA), ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee, writes in Foreign Policy: America Already Has More Than Enough Nuclear Missiles
"But Republicans are pushing a $1 trillion nuclear modernization program, which would not only bankrupt the Pentagon but could spark a global nuclear arms race.
"Any rational attempt to plan for America's future security must begin with a clear-eyed reassessment of the costs, trade-offs, and dangers of the trillion-dollar plan Washington is undertaking to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. That reassessment should include an effort to eliminate the new nuclear cruise missile.
"The United States needs a strong and credible nuclear arsenal. But our current nuclear forces are excessive. With over 5,000 deployed and stockpiled nuclear weapons- and thousands more awaiting dismantlement- we have a nuclear force stacked with redundancy. The "nuclear triad" that we would use to deliver these weapons consists of over 400 land-based intercontinental ballistic missiles on high alert and undetectable nuclear ballistic submarines, each armed with two types of warheads. We also deploy nuclear gravity bombs that could be delivered from bombers or fighter aircraft, and air-launched nuclear cruise missiles. In addition, the United States maintains non-deployed nuclear weapons that act as an additional hedge to our deployed nuclear weapons, along with thousands of nuclear components and, of course, the ability to build even more nuclear weapons.
"The truth is that the United States can retain a credible nuclear deterrent with significantly fewer nuclear weapons and fewer delivery systems, at a fraction of the cost. Instead, and with little debate, Congress has embarked on a plan to modernize all of these systems and increase these capabilities at an estimated total cost of $1 trillion over 30 years. That plan means purchasing new nuclear weapons production facilities and labs, refurbishing warheads, land-based ballistic missiles, ballistic missile submarines, building new strategic bombers and nuclear-capable fighter aircraft, and, to top it all off, a new nuclear cruise missile.
"These expenses will soon constitute a huge proportion of the U.S. defense budget. The comptroller of the Department of Defense has called the cost of nuclear modernization "the biggest problem we don't know how to solve yet." Meanwhile, Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee repeatedly voted down and blocked amendments that would require more comprehensive cost assessments for these plans.
"Now is the time for serious oversight and a realistic approach to these issues in order to stop an emerging arms race and avoid wasting billions of dollars we cannot afford." (read more)
Public Integrity on Vol. 2 of General Butler's memoir, "Uncommon Cause" Excerpts:
"Butler writes that in the nuclear war contemplated in his years at the Strategic Air Command roughly 10,000 nuclear weapons would have been used by America and another 10,000 by Russia in the space of just a few hours. 'I saw the arms race from the inside... I was responsible for nuclear war plans with some 12,000 targets, many planned to be struck with repeated nuclear blows, some to the point of complete absurdity,' he recalled.
"'Wholesale nuclear war'- of the type that he and his colleagues expected, planned for, and practiced in simulations- 'would have made life as we know it unsustainable,' Butler writes. 'Billions of people, animals, every living thing would perish under the most agonizing conditions imaginable.'
"And it could still happen today, he believes, because U.S. officials remain in the grip of the delusion that nuclear deterrence is an effective and safe policy."
"Butler says he has many lingering frustrations about the military's failure to hear his alarms about the dangers of keeping large nuclear stockpiles, and about what he regards as the continuing ability of today's nuclear strategists and the large corporations that profit from such work to pull the government more deeply into archaic nuclear roles.
"When he was asked in 1989 to attend an interagency briefing by senior officials at the Department of Energy- which oversees the production of nuclear warheads- on their future plans to double the capacity of the complex at a cost of billions of dollars, he shocked the room. All those attending, he writes, had 'lauded the briefing with lip-smacking anticipation of what it would mean for his or her piece of the pie.' But when Butler said the military would instead be cutting nuclear weapons requirements by 50 percent, 'dead silence ensued. No one moved' and the meeting was swiftly adjourned.
"After taking the Strategic Air Command's helm in 1991, Butler writes, he summoned to Omaha the leaders of firms that he said had 'pocketed trillions of dollars in profits' by making Air Force and Navy strategic hardware- Boeing, Lockheed, Northrop, Rockwell, General Dynamics, McDonnell Douglas, Raytheon, and others- to tell them it was time to stop growing and start cutting the nuclear weapons business. Most of those present greeted his words 'with disbelief and denial,' he recalls. And when he conveyed the same message at a separate meeting that year to directors of the three U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories, 'there followed an incredulous silence.'"
- (Ref: A Fmr. Sr. Gen'l Again Calls for Abolishing the Nuclear Forces He Once Commanded)
Public comments on the proposed (revised) LANL Consent Order
On March 30, 2016, the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) released for public comment its proposed 2016 Compliance Order on Consent ("Consent Order") governing cleanup at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). If implemented, the revised Consent Order will almost certainly create serious barriers to achieving cleanup, especially given the Lab's known opposition to full and complete cleanup. In addition, the proposed revised Consent Order limits public participation opportunities; undermines enforceability by the Environment Department; puts the Department of Energy (DOE) in the driver's seat; and lacks a final milestone compliance date. The proposed 2016 Consent Order is potentially a giant step backwards if the goal is to achieve genuine, comprehensive cleanup at LANL.
Thanks to all of you that sent in your comments.
See comments submitted by the public (PDF) See comment submitted by NukeWatch (PDF)
We await NMED's response to all submitted comments.
Flawed Pentagon Nuclear Cruise Missile Advocacy
June 10, 2016; Hans Kristensen, Federation of American Scientists, writes:
"The Pentagon's arguments for why the LRSO is needed and why the amendments [to strip funding] are unacceptable are amazingly shallow - some of them even plain wrong."
Here is a particularly disturbing argument:
"The Kendall letter from March also defends the LRSO because it gives the Pentagon the ability to rapidly increase the number of deployed warheads significantly on its strategic launchers. He does so by bluntly describing it as a means to exploit the fake bomber weapon counting rule (one bomber one bomb no matter what they can actually carry) of the New START Treaty to essentially break out from the treaty limit without formally violating it:
'Additionally, cruise missiles provide added leverage to the U.S. nuclear deterrent under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty. The accounting rules for nuclear weapons carried on aircraft are such that the aircraft only counts as one weapon, even if the aircraft carries multiple cruise missiles.'
"It is disappointing to see a DOD official justifying the LRSO as a means to take advantage of a loophole in the treaty to increase the number of deployed strategic nuclear weapons above 1,550 warheads. Not least because the 2013 Nuclear Employment Strategy determined that the Pentagon, even when the New START Treaty is implemented in 2018, will still have up to one-third more nuclear weapons deployed than are needed to meet US national and international security commitments."
(more at FAS)
See the DOD letter circulated to Congress in May.
UNM Will Host "Symposium" Promoting Nuclear Weapons, Nuclear Triad
Albuquerque, June 20-21:
University of New Mexico will host an 'unprecedented' 2-day event featuring top military and Energy Dept. nuclear brass, along with weapons industry lobbyists, to promote nuclear weapons, and specifically, to support the modernization of all three legs of the nuclear triad in the face of growing criticism.
That UNM is hosting the Symposium is more evidence of the University of New Mexico's deepening involvement in nuclear weapons programs. UNM recently announced with Boeing, the U. of Texas and others that it was going to bid on the Sandia Labs management contract. (more on this at the Watchblog)
The 2016 Strategic Deterrence Symposium is organized by the 'Strategic Deterrent Coalition'- a self-proclaimed "non-profit, non-partisan, community-based organization of concerned citizens." (Whose address is given as: 1050 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington, DC.)
"The single-issue focus of the Strategic Deterrent Coalition" is that the US "maintains a modern, safe, secure, effective and stabilizing Nuclear Triad deterrent".
Speakers will include Admiral Cecil Haney, Commander of US Strategic Command; General Robin Rand, Commander of Air Force Global Strike Command; Major General Scott Jansson, Commander, Nuclear Weapons Center; NNSA administrator Frank Klotz, and officials from the Los Alamos, Lawrence Livermore and Sandia Labs.
"Rationality has never been the hallmark of any nation pursuing a nuclear arsenal or thinking about its employment. Such arsenals take on a life and logic of their own, commanding huge budgets and compelling decisions that march at an ever increasing tempo to the beat of fear, technology, status and vested interests."
- General George Lee Butler (Ret.) Former Commander US Strategic Command, in his memoir, "Uncommon Cause".
Note: The aforementioned 'Nuclear Weapons Center' is based at Kirtland AFB (adjoining the Albuquerque airport), and Kirtland is also the third largest installation of the Air Force Global Strike Command. Read more about Kirtland's emergence as a major hub of the nuclear weapons complex in our Kirtland AFB dossier.
More from the SDC website:
- "Founding organizations" include Barksdale Forward, Kirtland Partnership Committee, Minot Task Force21, Montana Defense Alliance...
- Sponsors of the event include Northrup Grumman, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems, and Orbital ATK...
NukeWatch will be there- to see what they're all up to, and we'll report back.
Worries Growing Over Future Nuclear Conflict in East Asia
Donald Kirk reports for Forbes from the Jeju Peace Forum: "Rumors of secret nuclear activities fly around the region, coming up at conferences, in editorials, in common conversation."
(more) In depth:Mark Fitzpatrick analyzes the past nuclear pursuits and current proliferation drivers of Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. Under what conditions would the democracies in Northeast
Singapore's Minister for Foreign Affairs Balakrishnan with China Vice President Li Yuanchao, in effort to defuse South China Sea tensions with a naval protocol. credit: Ministry Foreign Affairs
Asia seek to join the nuclear weapons club?
US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told the Security Summit that China's militarisation of the South China Sea is destabilising the region, and urged it to abide by the pending international tribunal legal ruling. Beijing vowed to ignore the ruling; the US stepped up patrols.
Major-General Yao Yunzhu, of the People's Liberation Army, speaking at the summit on Saturday, said the US military's presence in the disputed waters are unwarranted and could be interpreted as "battlefield preparations".
The Union of Concerned Scientists has just published a report titled "The Risk of Nuclear War with China". They write:
"Both governments are preparing for war. Both governments believe that a demonstrable readiness to use military force- including nuclear weapons- is needed to ensure the other will yield in a military confrontation.
"Twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, the governments of the United States and the People's Republic of China are a few poor decisions away from starting a war that could escalate rapidly and end in a nuclear exchange. Mismatched perceptions increase both the possibility of war and the likelihood it will result in the use of nuclear weapons. Miscommunication or misunderstanding could spark a conflict that both governments may find difficult to stop."
- UCS:The Risk of Nuclear War with Chinafull report (PDF)
- Al Jazeera: Tensions escalate over South China Sea claims
- Forbes: As Obama Mourns Hiroshima, Experts Fear A Nuclear War In Northeast Asia
New Report from Carnegie: Perspectives on the Evolving Nuclear Order
A report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
by Toby Dalton, Togzhan Kassenova, and Lauryn Williams
Published June 6, 2016
"The global nuclear order appears increasingly tense, primarily because many states feel that the structure and distribution of benefits is unjust. Among the states that will determine how the nuclear order will adapt, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, and Pakistan are particularly important.
"One common theme across middle-ground states pertains to perceptions of the salience of nuclear weapons and the politics of the dominant states in the nuclear order. Recent events in Syria and Ukraine suggest that Moscow is reinvigorating its reliance on nuclear weapons and deterrence, while U.S. efforts to reverse this trend are primarily inhibited by security commitments to European allies, as well as Japan and South Korea, all of which enjoy protection under the U.S. nuclear umbrella. And though the United States and Russia have reduced their arsenals by more than 80 percent since the Cold War, 3 non-nuclear states see the current focus by China, Russia, and the United States on arsenal modernization as an indication that they plan to sustain possession for decades to come.
"This, in turn, reinforces perceptions among non-nuclear-weapon states that nuclear-weapon states are ultimately more interested in pursuing arms control or management measures than in eliminating their stockpiles. Indeed, the United States plans to spend nearly $1 trillion on these efforts over the next few decades, while Russia in 2015 announced the planned addition of new long-range missiles to its arsenal..."
read more / download report (PDF)
NIS sets out new vision for nuclear bomb factory after Trident work ends
June 2016. One of the UK's top scientists has said it is time to address how the skills and resources at Britain's nuclear weapons factory could be used if the government decided to cancel the Trident program.
Sir Martin Rees, UK Astronomer Royal
"Writing in the foreword to a new Nuclear Information Service report about the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), the Berkshire factory where the UK's Trident nuclear warheads are built and maintained, Professor Martin Rees (Lord Rees of Ludlow), Astronomer Royal and a former President of the Royal Society, said that it was 'highly relevant' to consider how these skills and resources 'might be gradually redeployed in the civil sector'.
"AWE's future is closely linked to the future of the Trident program and the report examines the consequences of a decision by a future government to close the program, and sets out a blueprint to show how the Establishment could successfully diversify its work into the civilian sector.
"Heightened political debate about the Trident program- and the possibility that it may be postponed, modified or even cancelled- has led to lively discussion about the future of industrial sites such as AWE which rely on Trident.
"Sir Martin paid tribute to AWE as 'one of the premier technological establishments in the United Kingdom', but pointed out that its 'mission' is controversial- 'and one that most people hope will not persist in future decades'.
"'The prospects for a post-Trident AWE to move away from its current role into civil sector markets are good, and are compatible with regional economic development strategies for the Thames Valley which aim to increase technological innovation in the area. As a result, 'jobs and economic benefits at AWE need not be lost in the short to medium term' and could be conserved in the long term 'by putting the Establishment's assets and skills to work in pursuit of innovative new civil sector business opportunities'".
more/download report (PDF)
President Obama Gives an Historic Speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Excerpts:
"Science allows us to communicate across the seas and fly above the clouds, to cure disease and understand the cosmos. But those same discoveries can be turned into ever more efficient killing machines.
"The wars of the modern age teach us this truth. Hiroshima teaches this truth. Technological progress without an equivalent progress in human institutions can doom us. The scientific revolution that led to the splitting of an atom requires a moral revolution as well.
"That is why we come to this place."
"Among those nations like my own that hold nuclear stockpiles, we must have the courage to escape the logic of fear and pursue a world without them.
"We may not realize this goal in my lifetime, but persistent effort can roll back the possibility of catastrophe. We can chart a course that leads to the destruction of these stockpiles. We can stop the spread to new nations and secure deadly material from fanatics."
"Those who died, they are like us. Ordinary people understand this, I think. They do not want more war. They would rather that the wonders of science be focused on improving life and not eliminating it. When the choices made by nations- when the choices made by leaders- reflect this simple wisdom, then the lesson of Hiroshima is done.
"That is a future we can choose: a future in which Hiroshima and Nagasaki are known not as the dawn of atomic warfare, but as the start of our own moral awakening."
(full text of speech here) Ed: a most moving speech. However we again hear, as in Prague, 2009, "We may not realize this goal in my lifetime..." to which we might ask, "Mr. Obama, why not?"
For immediate release May 17, 2016: Nuclear Watch NM Files Lawsuit Over Lack of Cleanup at the Los Alamos Lab
Santa Fe, NM. Nuclear Watch New Mexico has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Department of Energy and Los Alamos National Security LLC (LANS), the for-profit operator of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, over their failure to meet cleanup milestones under a 2005 "Consent Order" they agreed to with the New Mexico Environment Department. The New Mexico Environmental Law Center is representing NukeWatch in this legal action to enforce cleanup at LANL.
The suit claims twelve violations, each ranging up to 675 days, with a civil penalty up to $37,500 for each day of violation. Our current cost estimate of the alleged violations approaches 300 million dollars and counting.
Jay Coghlan, NukeWatch Executive Director, commented, "The federal government plans to spend a trillion dollars over the next 30 years completely rebuilding U.S. nuclear forces. Meanwhile, cleanup at the Los Alamos Lab, the birthplace of nuclear weapons, continues to be delayed, delayed, delayed. We seek to make the for-profit nuclear weaponeers cleanup their radioactive and toxic mess first before making another one for a nuclear weapons stockpile that is already bloated far beyond what we need. Real cleanup would be a win-win for New Mexicans, permanently protecting our water and environment while creating hundreds of high paying jobs."
(view/download full press release PDF)
With Amy Goodman to discuss Kerry's Hiroshima visit and ANA's just-released report on the sweeping modernization planned for our nuclear forces, titled "The Trillion-Dollar Train Wreck".
- Amy Goodman: What's the alternative, in this last minute?
- Marylia Kelley: The alternative is to cancel this aggressive new nuclear weapons program. And we can curate the United States nuclear weapons stockpile, maintaining the existing safety and reliability until such time as the nuclear weapons are dismantled, pursuant to U.S. obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty. And the world is gathering in May, next month, May 2nd, in Geneva at the United Nations to discuss the steps to doing this and to discuss the legal requirements of global disarmament. And the United States is boycotting. So we need-
- Amy Goodman: Boycotting why?
- Marylia Kelley: The United States is boycotting it because it doesn't believe these discussions are useful or productive. But, of course, they are the most important discussions on the planet. (full transcript here) View/download ANA Report (PDF)
For immediate release: April 7, 2016: NukeWatch Files a Second FOIA Request for FY 2015
Los Alamos and Sandia Labs Performance Evaluation Reports - Demands Expedited Release to E-FOIA Reading Room
Santa Fe, NM. Nuclear Watch New Mexico has filed a second request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) for the National Nuclear Security Administration's FY 2015 Performance Evaluation Reports for the Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories. Nuclear Watch filed its first request on December 22, 2015, which has still not been fulfilled despite the law's statutory requirement that FOIA requests be honored within 20 working days. Because of that, Nuclear Watch is demanding expedited processing and posting of these reports to an electronic FOIA reading room, as required by the 1996 E-FOIA amendments.
Jay Coghlan, Nuclear Watch New Mexico director, commented, "It is unconscionable that the National Nuclear Security Administration withholds information from the American taxpayer on how fat contractors who constantly bust budgets are paid, especially when these same contractors always have their hands out for yet more taxpayer money for nuclear weapons, forever. The question is, what do NNSA and its contractors have to hide? To answer that, Nuclear Watch will not only demand that the Performance Evaluation Report be publicly released, but that from this point on the reports be automatically posted to an electronic FOIA reading room as the law requires. The American taxpayer should not have to fight this battle year after year just to keep greedy nuclear weapons contractors accountable."
(view/download full press release PDF)
Los Alamos Cleanup At the Crossroads
March 18, Santa Fe:
Following protracted negotiations, threatened litigation, and claims of imminent and substantial endangerment, the New Mexican Environment Department (NMED), the Department of Energy (DOE) and the Los Alamos National Laboratory contractor agreed to sign the original Consent Order in March 2005. Its promise was fence-to-fence cleanup of Cold War legacy waste at Los Alamos. The 2005 Consent Order was designed as a plan-to-make-a-plan, with investigations followed by cleanup and with hundreds of specific milestones. The intent was to convince DOE to increase funding for LANL cleanup by making a complete cleanup schedule subject to enforcement. The Consent Order had a "final compliance date" scheduled for December 6, 2015.
However, in 2012 NMED signed a "Framework Agreement" with DOE that prioritized the transfer of 3,706 cubic meters of above-ground, "transuranic" nuclear bomb production wastes from LANL to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southern New Mexico. This put Consent Order cleanup on the back burner, and approximately 150 milestone extensions of the 2005 Consent Order were granted to LANL by NMED. Then, in February 2014, WIPP was shut down by the rupturing of a drum of this waste, improperly packaged at LANL. Now, dealing with the remaining "suspect" drums (packaged in the same manner) stored at LANL is a major priority, and the Consent Order cleanup remains on the back burner. (more)
See this series of reports on the Watchblog:
New Cleanup Agreement Requires New Schedule and That Is About All Treat All Los Alamos Lab Radioactive Wastes Consistently
Stand Against The Rush To Re-Open An Unsafe WIPP
Action Alert - Release of Revised Los Alamos Cleanup Agreement
Every little bit helps!
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*Go to donations page* Thanks for your support!
Alliance For Nuclear Accountability Report Out-of-control U.S. nuclear weapons programs accelerate spending, proliferation, health and safety risks: The Trillion Dollar Trainwreck (PDF)
Public Comment period, April through summer: Finding Long-Term Solutions for Nuclear Waste
DOE call for public comment as part of "consent-based siting" initiative.
"We are requesting feedback from communities, states, Tribal Nations, and interested stakeholders on important considerations in designing a fair and effective process."
April 11: Atlanta; April 26: Sacramento; May 24: Denver; June 2: Boston
(more dates and details)
- Nuclear Calendar: Free subscription to this extensive email listing of all nuclear-related events, from the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
Nobel Obama's Nuke Pledge Reversed
From the same president who in 2009 called for a world free of nuclear weapons and promised to reduce their role in U.S. national security strategy:
A plan to spend a trillion dollars over the next 30 years on nuclear weapons.
Specifically, on 12 new nuclear-armed submarines, 100 new strategic bombers, 400 new intercontinental nuclear missiles, 1000 new nuclear-capable cruise missiles, hundreds of upgraded and improved nuclear bombs and warheads, and major additions and upgrades to all parts of the US nuclear weapons complex. See our nuclear modernization page for more on this.
R.I.P. George W. Rathjens d. May 26, 2016
Among many roles in a long life of service, Rathjens had served as chairman of both the Council for a Livable World and of the Federation of American Scientists. (more)
R.I.P. Michael Mariotte, d. May 16, 2016 Michael was President of the Nuclear Information and Resource Service; he had worked with NIRS since 1985. (see NYTimes obit)
Dr. James Doyle is an independent nuclear security specialist supported by the Ploughshares Fund and a non-resident associate of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University. Dr. Doyle also serves on Nuclear Watch New Mexico's steering committee.
LANL's Central Mission Los Alamos Lab officials have recently claimed that LANL has moved away from primarily nuclear weapons to "national security", but what truly remains as the Labs central mission? Here's the answer from one of its own documents:
LANL's "Central Mission"- Presented at: RPI Nuclear Data 2011 Symposium for
Criticality Safety and Reactor Applications (PDF) 4/27/11
Current nuclear stockpiles- for country reports and other details see original annotated infographic at Ploughshares.org.
Beyond the Summit:
New Approaches to Nuclear Security William Perry: "Danger of a nuclear catastrophe is greater than during the Cold War. Our public is blissfully unaware.
Consequently, the policies that this country follows are in no way commensurate to the danger."
Planned Eurasian Apocalypse, c. 1956
Here are the 1100 [declassified] nuclear targets in the 1956 US target list for the Eurasian communist nations. Click image above to see the interactive infographic at the Future of Life site- clicking on any target dot will bring up a satellite map of the target area with the blast zone, variable depending on the yield you choose, fallout paths, and other info.
Don't Bank on the Bomb 2015
In a 50% increase over last year's totals, 53 financial institutions prohibit or limit investments in nuclear weapon producers, according to Don't Bank on the Bomb (2015), published in November by Dutch peace organization PAX. The increase illustrates the growing stigmatization of nuclear weapons due to the renewed focus on their humanitarian consequences. The report also identifies 382 banks, insurance companies, and pension funds which have made USD 493 billion available to nuclear weapons producers since January 2012.
"War is death. Nowhere do these truths impose themselves upon us more forcefully than in this city [Hiroshima]... The final balance of human suffering that began here has not been fully drawn up, nor has the total human cost been tallied, especially when one sees what nuclear war has done- and could still do- to our ideas, our attitudes, and our civilization."
Pope John Paul II speaking in Hiroshima, February 25, 1981
"We see no reason why the pathway adopted for the elimination of other weapon systems, including for the elimination of both other types of WMD- that of a legally-binding prohibition- should not equally be applicable as a pathway for the elimination of nuclear weapons. There is no need to reinvent the wheel in order for the international community to move forward: the standard route used in relation to the abolition of other weapon systems... should again be followed."
Statement by the New Zealand delegation to the UN Open Ended Working Group on Nuclear Disarmament, 23 February, 2016
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"Controlled, universal disarmament is the imperative of our time. The demand for it by the hundreds of millions whose chief concern is the long future of themselves and their children will, I hope, become so universal and so insistent that no man, no government anywhere, can withstand it."
-President Dwight Eisenhower
Our Mission: Through comprehensive research, public education and effective citizen action, Nuclear Watch New Mexico seeks to promote safety and environmental protection at regional nuclear facilities, mission diversification away from nuclear weapons programs, greater accountability and cleanup in the nation-wide nuclear weapons complex, and consistent U.S. leadership toward a world free of nuclear weapons.