Nuclear Watch Comments for DOE's Long-Term Management and Storage of Elemental Mercury Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) (View/download PDF)
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
Follow the Money! LANL FY 2014: Click to enlarge (PDF)
Related: The "3+2 Vision" for U.S. Nuclear Forces
John R. Harvey of the Department of Defense spoke to a breakfast seminar in Washington DC June 13 on "...progress we have made over the past year, under the auspices of the DOD-DOE Nuclear Weapons Council, in advancing what we call the '3+2' vision for the future nuclear stockpile, and in developing a 'baseline plan' to start down the path to get there."
View/download full text of Harvey's remarks (PDF)
"No decrease in the number of warheads"
- Senator Diane Feinstein, speaking on a conference call November 13th: "While I support reductions to the stockpile and the savings that come with it, the 3+2 plan requires spending tens of billions of dollars more on life extension programs as well as increasing technical risks such as design changes... The promise of the 3+2 plan was to provide a smaller stockpile in exchange for a larger investment. However, when the plan is examined, there is no decrease in the number of warheads... In addition, sequestration, shrinking budgets and NNSA's long history of cost overruns and schedule delays raise serious concerns about the agency's ability to execute this mission." (ref)
The Nuke Plan to Nowhere
William Hartung writes:
"The House Appropriations Committee announced today that it wants to throw away billions of your tax dollars on weapons we don't need at prices we can't afford. How has it done this? By voting to exempt spending on nuclear weapons from the kinds of budget cuts that will be imposed on other agencies under the sequester.
"The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA)- the agency that oversees the nuclear warhead complex- may well be the most bloated agency in the federal government. It has been tagged by the Government Accountability Office as being at high risk for "waste, fraud and abuse."
"NNSA may well take the prize for the highest proportion of projects that are over budget, behind schedule, and, in most cases, unneeded in the first place. At the top of the list is the B61-12 nuclear bomb..."
(Read Hartung's full column at the HuffingtonPost)
CMRR Public Meeting September 25th
Held at Fuller Lodge, Los Alamos
View the Nukewatch PowerPoint presentation (PDF) from the meeting here
The Case for Stockpile Curatorship
-Presentation by Jay Coghlan at the Peace and Security Legislative Strategy Retreat 1/15/2009
View/download full PDF
"What the public doesn't really understand is that the nuclear weapons business is very much ongoing, that funding for nuclear weapons programs within the Department of Energy is nearly 50 percent above the historic average of the Cold War. . . Despite the rhetoric that this country and others are working towards a future world free of nuclear weapons, on the ground what is happening is that the U.S. is rebuilding the production side of its nuclear weapons complex."
- Jay Coghlan on DemocracyNow Oct 11, 2012
LANL's Future: More Plutonium or More Cleanup?
Jay Coghlan speaking in Santa Fe, Oct.21, 2012
Maddow Interview with Eric Schlosser On Recent U.S. Nuclear Weapons Fails, and Firings
Nuclear Weapons Lobby Reportedly Spent $2.9 Million To Stave Off Military Cuts
"The nuclear weapons industry is erecting a missile shield of money to prevent federal government spending cuts worth billions of dollars. In the 2012 election cycle, nuclear weapons lobbies have given a total of $2.9 million to key members of Congress and deployed no fewer than 137 revolving-door lobbyists to Capitol Hill, according to a new report that details the lengths to which arms makers will go to protect their turf."
"Nuclear weapons spending should be determined
by what is needed to defend the country, not what is needed to defend the bottom lines of military contractors," said study author William Hartung, who directs CIP's Arms and Security Project. "Instead, the nuclear arms lobby and its allies on Capitol Hill are seeking to block reductions in systems we don't need at prices we can't afford. This unnecessary spending is being pressed by some of the very same members of Congress who have argued that deficit reduction and greater spending discipline should be our top priorities."
"Bombs Versus Budgets: Inside the Nuclear Weapons Lobby", prepared by the Center for International Policy. (download PDF)
UCS Nuclear Weapons Complex Interactive Map The Union of Concerned Scientists has created an interactive map of the U.S. nuclear weapons complex sites in Google Earth, providing information, collected from public sources, about each facility. (more info, KML file, etc.)
Uranium Mining and the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Program
A Public Interest Report from the Federation of American Scientists, by Robert Alvarez, fall 2013.
Article online / PDF Version
"The people who are the most anti-nuclear are
the ones who know the most about it." -Eric Schlosser, author, "Command and Control" (ref)
Santa Fe Mayor Introduces City Council Resolution Asking LANL to Examine Alternatives to Planned "Cap and Cover" of Radioactive Wastes
Bulletin, Dec. 11, 9pm: Santa Fe City Council has unanimously approved the resolution.
Santa Fe, Nov. 8. Mayor David Coss, in his role as Chairman of the Regional Coalition of Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) Communities, presented a draft City of Santa Fe resolution at their monthly meeting Nov. 7, calling for LANL's consideration of other alternatives to their proposed Technical Area (TA)-54, Area G, remedial action plan...
The draft resolution urges LANL to execute full characterization and excavation of the wastes as well as offsite disposal of any high-level or transuranic radioactive waste and the reburial of remaining low level radioactive wastes in a modern landfill designed to control and prevent the migration of these wastes into groundwater aquifers and the Rio Grande.
"Full cleanup of Area G would be a win-win for New Mexicans, permanently protecting our precious groundwater and the Rio Grande while creating hundreds of high paying jobs for twenty years or more," said Mayor David Coss.
Mayor Coss will ask the City of Santa Fe Council for approval of this resolution at their December 11th meeting, which is open to the public.
View/download Santa Fe Mayor's press release (PDF) View/download the 12/4/13 draft resolution (.doc)
From the Nuclear Watch press release on the resolution: Scott Kovac, NukeWatch Program Director, commented, "LANL should quit paying games that cap and cover somehow represents genuine cleanup. For the same price as 5 years' worth of nuclear weapons work that caused this mess to begin with, Area G could be fully cleaned up. I echo the Mayor's words that this could be real win-win for New Mexicans, permanently protecting groundwater and the Rio Grande while creating hundreds of long- term high-paying jobs. I call on other local governments and everyone to pick up the Santa Fe Mayor's challenge."
View/download the Nuclear Watch press release (PDF)
In letters to state representatives Udall and Egolf, Santa Fe Mayoral Candidate Javier Gonzales endorsed the City Council resolution, and called for state legislative hearings on dealing with hazardous waste at LANL's Area G. View letters (PDFs): To Rep. Udall, to Rep. Egolf.
PSR's 'Nuclear Famine' report updated: Two Billion People Could Starve After a 'Limited' Nuclear War
Published by the watchdog group Physicians for Social Responsibility, a new report, titled "Nuclear Famine: Two Billion People at Risk," updates prior studies on the potential impacts that a "limited" nuclear war between India and Pakistan could have on the global climate, and consequently on food supplies. (ref)
Ira Helfand, co-president of International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War and a past president of the organization's U.S. affiliate, Physicians for Social Responsibility, writing on CNN: "A Nuclear Threat Far Greater Than Iran"
Download the Report: (PDF)
Ex-Congresswoman Heather Wilson Breaking Bad in Albuquerque- Update
Heather Wilson, with ex-president George W. Bush, Senator John McCain, and ex- NM senator 'Pete' Domenici.
Nuclear Watch NM - For Immediate Release - November 3, 2013: Heather Wilson Finalized Contract with Sandia Labs While in Congress;
Payments Started the First Day She Left Congress;
Wilson Should Resign from Council Determining Labs' Futures
The Nov. 3, 2013 Albuquerque Journal: From Congress to contract: Heather Wilson says 10K per month Sandia Labs deal met ethics rules
The Albuquerque Journal has reported that former Congresswoman Heather Wilson (R.NM) finalized her first contract with the Sandia National Laboratories on December 19, 2008, while she was still representing the district that includes that nuclear weapons facility. Moreover, her first invoice documents that she began to be paid $10,000 a month for "Consultant/Advisory Services" that had no written work requirements on January 4, 2009, her very first day out of office. A few months later she was also being paid $10,000 a month by the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) for a similar contract.
The Albuquerque Journal article builds upon a Department of Energy (DOE) Inspector General investigation, which determined that the Sandia and Los Alamos Labs had made approximately $450,000 in improper payments to Wilson up until March 2011, when she began to campaign for the Senate. The DOE IG report said that the facts indicate that federal funds were used for prohibited lobbying activities, which that office is still investigating. The Labs were forced to return that money to the government, but not Wilson.
The Albuquerque Journal received the new information concerning the dates of Wilson's contract with Sandia from Nuclear Watch New Mexico. The watchdog organization obtained the documents by appealing an initially rejected federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Making Smart Security Choices: The Future of the Nuclear Weapons Complex
A new report from The Union of Concerned Scientists takes a big picture look at the U.S. nuclear weapons programs and the U.S. nuclear complex and recommends cost-effective changes to improve U.S. security.
The report covers issues of life extension programs, stockpile surveillance and stewardship, workforce quality, risks in storage of plutonium an HEU, dismantlement and verification of reductions.
UCS report guide / download: Nuclear Weapons Complex Report (PDF)
UCS Director of News Elliott Negin writing in the HuffPo Oct 17:
"At the same time President Obama has been pressing for further reductions in U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) is planning to spend $60 billion over the next 25 years to replace existing nuclear weapons with a suite of new warheads.
"According to a report released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), the NNSA plan- which calls for building new nuclear material production facilities and consolidating the current stockpile of seven types of warheads into five- is misguided.
"'The United States needs to extend the life of its nuclear arsenal, but it should refurbish its existing weapons instead of spending tens of billions to build new ones,' said report co-author Lisbeth Gronlund, co-director of UCS's Global Security Program. 'The NNSA also has to pay more attention to warhead monitoring, dismantling warheads, and developing ways to verify further arms reduction agreements.'
"'NNSA's plan violates the spirit if not the letter of the administration's pledge to not develop new nuclear weapons,' said report co-author Philip Coyle, a senior science fellow at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation and former head of Pentagon weapons testing. 'It sends the wrong message to the rest of the world.'"
(read more: Obama's Upside-Down Nuclear Weapons Policy)
No More Nuclear-Tipped Cruise Missiles Oct 31. Tom Collina writing in Defense One:
"Sometime in the next few months, the Defense Department is expected to decide whether the nation needs a new nuclear-armed cruise missile. This decision is worth about $30 billion, and is a key test of whether U.S. military planners have finally moved beyond Cold War thinking...
The bottom line is that we no longer need a bomber with stand off nuclear missiles like the ALCM that are shot from afar. The new Air Force bomber will be designed to penetrate enemy air defenses...
"There also are sound security reasons to forgo nuclear cruise missiles. Their dual-use nature makes them inherently destabilizing. Conventional cruise missiles, like those recently readied for use against Syria, are indistinguishable from nuclear-armed ones. If one is coming at you, there is no way to tell if it is a nuke or not. It would be better to know that all are conventional.
"The United States, Russia and France are the only nations to currently deploy nuclear cruise missies. However, China, Pakistan and others are working on nuclear-capable cruise missiles, and U.S. security would benefit if they stop. Chinese nuclear-armed cruise missiles would add to U.S. concerns about Beijing's capabilities and would be able to fly under U.S. missile defenses, which are designed to defend against ballistic missiles. Pakistan's program would add to tensions in South Asia and could motivate India to follow suit.
"The Air Force is unlikely to be able to afford a new nuclear cruise missile, bomber and ICBM. It will have to choose. Rather than spend billions on a weapon that is not needed to deter potential adversaries, the new ALCM might have more value as a bargaining chip to trade for a global ban on all nuclear-armed cruise missiles. This would be a win-win for the military budget and U.S. security." (Tom Z. Collina is research director at the Arms Control Association in Washington, DC. Read his full report at Defense One)
Update Nov 14, from InsideDefense.com: "The Air Force is moving ahead with plans to modernize the nation's inventory of nuclear-armed, bomber-launched cruise missiles, briefing industry on tentative acquisition plans for a Long-Range Standoff weapon the service plans to launch as a formal procurement project as soon as next spring..." (more)
A Second Nuclear Commander Relieved of Duty "First it was bad attitudes among young officers in nuclear missile launch centers. Now it's alleged bad behavior by two of the nuclear arsenal's top commanders... Together the missteps spell trouble for a nuclear force doubted by some for its relevance, defended by others as vital to national security and now compelled to explain how the firing of key commanders this week should not shake public confidence." -Salon: "US Nuclear Force Faces a Cascade of Missteps"
Top: Maj.General Carey; below: Vice Adm. Giardina
Oct 11: "loss of trust" The Air Force removed Maj. Gen. Michael Carey, a 35-year veteran, from his command of 20th Air Force, responsible for all 450 of the service's intercontinental ballistic missiles, "due to a loss of trust and confidence in his leadership and judgment," pending the outcome of an investigation into 'personal misbehavior'.
Sept: "highly unusual"
Two days earlier, it was learned that Vice Adm. Tim Giardina, the second-in-charge at U.S. Strategic Command, had been fired amid an investigation into his use of $1,500 of counterfeit gambling chips at a casino near Stratcom Headquarters in Omaha. "The highly unusual action" against a high-ranking officer at U.S. Strategic Command was made more than three weeks ago but not publicly announced. (Iowa authorities have announced they will not press charges against Giardano)
August: "loss of confidence"
Col. David Lynch, Security Forces Group commander in charge of a nuclear-weapons unit at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana, was relieved of his command by the Air Force, which cited a "loss of confidence" in his leadership.
June: "not taking the job seriously enough"
The commander in charge of training missile crews at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota was fired after an unusually large number of launch operators performed poorly on tests.
May: "rot inside the ICBM forces"
The Associated Press revealed that 17 Minuteman 3 missile launch control officers at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., had been taken off duty in a reflection of what one officer there called "rot" inside the ICBM force.
Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons,
the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety Eric Schlosser, Penguin Press, Sept 2013
From the New York Times book review: "Famed investigative journalist Eric Schlosser digs deep to uncover secrets about the management of America's nuclear arsenal. A ground-breaking account of accidents, near-misses, extraordinary heroism, and technological breakthroughs, Command and Control explores the dilemma that has existed since the dawn of the nuclear age: how do you deploy weapons of mass destruction without being destroyed by them? That question has never been resolved- and Schlosser reveals how the combination of human fallibility and technological complexity still poses a grave risk to mankind." (ref) From The Guardian: "The stories he came across suggest that nothing but a miracle has prevented an accidental Hiroshima or Nagasaki taking place on US soil.
More on our Books and Films page:
-Democracy Now interview 9/18,
New America Foundation presentation, 9/19 (1hr 15min)
"As the mass of detail piles up, an important lesson emerges from the book. The way Schlosser explains it to me is that 'our ability to create dangerous things exceeds our ability to control them. We are talking about hubris our lack of understanding of our own flaws and lack of humility in the way we approach technology.'" (ref) NYTimes: "Schlosser's readers... will be struck by how frequently the people he cites attribute the absence of accidental explosions and nuclear war to divine intervention or sheer luck rather than to human wisdom and skill. Whatever was responsible, we will clearly need more of it in the years to come." (ref)
Eric Schlosser in a Rolling Stone Q&A: "There's an enormous amnesia on the part of the American people about nuclear weapons. About half of the American population wasn't born yet or were small children when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Union vanished. One of the reasons I wrote the book was just to remind people that these weapons are out there and how easily they can go wrong."
Louis Menand, Sept. 30 New Yorker:"Nukes of Hazard"
Robert Jervis, October 15, The Nation:"Eric Schlosser and the Illusion of Nuclear Weapons Safety"
'Obama says Putin is trapped in Cold War logic, it's true. But so is Obama' Washington Post's Ezra Klein interviews Joseph Cirincione on the Wonkblog:
"If Russia would agree, Obama would dramatically reduce the U.S. arsenal. He's hesitant to do it independently. He wants Russian agreement. But Russia won't agree. And Russia is hanging all these other issues on nuclear agreement. Putin wants to talk NATO conventional forces. He wants to talk new precision strike weapons the U.S. has that some fear can knock out Russian nuclear targets. He wants to talk missile defense. And he has a very active missile industrial complex in Russia.
"When Obama says Putin is trapped in Cold War logic, it's true. But so is Obama and so is his bureaucracy. The only reason you need all these weapons is if you're preparing for global thermonuclear war with Russia. You don't need them to deal with Iran or North Korea. It does nothing about terrorism. It just keeps going because it's tethered to the nuclear-weapons complex. The people who build nuclear weapons keep building them. The people with the bases want to keep maintaining them. The commanders of the strategic forces are vested in this complex. But do you need it? You have to really go down to some hard-core, unreconstructed Cold War theorists in town to find people who will justify this arsenal."
(see the Wonkblog interview)
Cirincione is the author of the newly published "Nuclear Nightmares: Securing The World Before It's Too Late". Former Secretary for Defense William J. Perry says, "If you read only one book on [nuclear weapons], this is the one." 'Nuclear Nightmares' website. Joseph Cirincione is president of Ploughshares Fund, a global security foundation, and a member of Secretary of State John Kerry's International Security Advisory Board and the Council on Foreign Relations. Read a New York Post review of "Nuclear Nightmares".
How to Avoid a $60 Billion Bailout for Navy Submarines Benjamin Loehrke writing in Roll Call, Oct. 1:
"The Navy is at the brink of its own fiscal crisis and is looking for a bailout. A proposed fleet of 12 new ballistic missile submarines- costing $100 billion total- could bust the Navy's shipbuilding budget and force cuts to the surface fleet... So the Navy has asked the cash-strapped Pentagon to pay for the nuclear-armed subs. Throwing money at this problem will not make it affordable. Instead, the Pentagon needs to resize the sub program with the understanding that the U.S. can meet today's security challenges with fewer nuclear weapons at less cost.
A Navy bailout would be a raw deal for the rest of the military. With defense budgets flattening, this additional money would have to come from someone else...
There's a simpler solution: Cut excessive nuclear requirements. America doesn't need 12 ballistic missile submarines to deter our modern-day adversaries. In fact, we could deploy more than 1,000 nuclear warheads on submarines with a fleet of only eight new subs." - Benjamin Loehrke, Roll Call, Oct. 1 The Navy plans to build 12 of the new Ohio class ballistic missile subs, each with launch tubes for 16 thermonuclear ballistic missiles, each of which in turn equipped with 5 independently targetable nuclear weapons.
"A single Trident submarine is the sixth largest nuclear nation in the world all by itself" - Rear Adm. Joseph Tofalo, commander, Submarine Group 10. (ref)
"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.
Santa Fe, Wed, Dec. 11, 6:00-6:45 pm:
Public info session hosted by Nuclear Watch NM and others on Santa Fe City resolution calling for comprehensive cleanup of LANL's largest radioactive waste dump (see below). First Presbyterian Church, 208 Grant Ave. From there we'll walk two blocks to City Hall.
Santa Fe, Wed, Dec. 11, 7:00 pm:
Santa Fe City Council hearing and public comment on a resolution introduced by Mayor Coss calling on LANL to examine alternatives to planned "cap and cover" of radioactive wastes at TA-54 Area G. This will be followed by the City Council's yes or no vote to adopt. We are encouraging citizens to come and show their support for comprehensive cleanup of the Lab's largest radioactive waste dump! Council Chambers, Santa Fe City Hall, 200 Lincoln Ave.
(view draft resolution)
New York City, Dec.10, 5:30 to 7:00 PM EST Ploughshares' Joe Cirincione at The Carnegie Council:
Nuclear Nightmares- "Will the trend toward disarmament continue, or are we on the brink of a new arms race- or worse, nuclear war?"
(live webcast) /
Comment Period Extended to Jan. 13:
The Los Alamos National Laboratory Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustee Council announced a 30-day extension, running through Jan 13, to the public comment period for the Draft LANL Natural Resource Damage Assessment Plan. (More info here)
Farewell, Nelson Mandela; 1918-2013
Prisoner of the apartheid regime for 27 years; Nobel Peace Prize 1993, first black president of South Africa, 1994-1999.
South Africa was once a nuclear power. In 1990, the same year he released Nelson Mandela from prison, President de Klerk ordered the termination of the nuclear weapons program and the dismantling of all existing weapons. Here's the story: "Nelson Mandela and the Bomb", Vincent Intondi, 12/09/2013.
Quote of the Week: "We must ask the question, which might sound naive to those who have elaborated sophisticated arguments to justify their refusal to eliminate these terrible and terrifying weapons of mass destruction- why do they need them anyway?" Nelson Mandela to the United Nations General Assembly, 1998. (ref)
Cathie Sullivan's charming hand-printed note cards are now available at Etsy.com. Cathie is a long-time supporter and board member of Nuclear Watch New Mexico, and she is generously donating part of each sale to Nuclear Watch. Enjoy her selection at Etsy- and please Tweet and Facebook her cards too!
"The discourse on nuclear weapons has been dominated by traditional national security considerations... It is overdue to move beyond such a narrow perspective... Any nuclear weapons use would cause severe humanitarian emergencies and have global consequences for the environment, global health, the climate, the social order, human development and the economy... Nuclear weapons should be stigmatized, banned and eliminated before they abolish us."
Austrian President Heinz Fischer, addressing the High Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on Nuclear Disarmament, September 26, 2013.
"This was the single most absurd and irresponsible document I had ever reviewed in my life... I came to fully appreciate the truth.... We escaped the Cold War without a nuclear holocaust by some combination of skill, luck, and divine intervention, and I suspect the latter in greatest proportion."
General George Butler, speaking to Eric Schlosser, on his reaction to his first seeing the SIOP (Single Integrated Operations Plan) for nuclear war upon becoming head of the Strategic Air Command in 1991.
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
Anti-nuclear campaigners and industry watchdogs: Listen up!
"The nonproliferation community should rethink its tweeting practices and adopt a fresh approach to social media tools. Strategies as simple as eliminating obscure acronyms and technical vocabulary and linking to eye-catching infographics can make tweets about even technical subjects accessible to a wider audience..."
Lovely Umayam, founder and chief writer for Bombshelltoe.com, winner of a State Dept. award for innovation in arms control, now blogging at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, gives some advice from youth's point of view on the use of social media: "Beyond the Wonk Bubble"
Click image for full graphic from Ploughshares
B-61 Nuclear Bomb:
Worth more than twice it's weight in gold
Each 700-pound B61 nuclear bomb will soon be overhauled at a price tag of $28 million. But 700 lbs. of solid gold is currently worth only $12.4 million. It would actually be cheaper to make the B61 nuclear bomb out of gold. Use this online form to tell your representative to cut B61 funding!
"Ours is a world of nuclear giants and ethical infants. We know more about war than we know about peace, more about killing than we know about living. We have grasped the mystery of the atom and rejected the Sermon on the Mount."
-Gen. Omar Bradley
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.