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.

PBS Special: The Vow From Hiroshima

Where the film “Oppenheimer” failed to explore the devastating impact of nuclear destruction on victims and the environment, "The Vow From Hiroshima" offers a poignant and timely counter-narrative. It shares an intimate, uplifting glimpse into the life of Setsuko Thurlow, an 85-year-old survivor of the atomic bombing who dedicated her life to peace and the elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Special on PBS |

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

there are no good scenarios in a nuclear war scenario

“I attempt to demonstrate that there are no good scenarios in a nuclear war scenario. There are no good answers…We, the public, now know that no matter how nuclear war begins in various scenarios—whether NATO’s involved, whether China’s involved, whether it’s a tactical weapon or a strategic weapon—it ends in a nuclear apocalypse.

– Here’s How Nuclear War Could Destroy Civilization in Just a Few Hours, Jon Skolnik, Vanity Fair

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

Banner displaying “Nuclear Weapons Are Now Illegal” at the entrance in front of the Los Alamos National Lab to celebrate the Entry Into Force of the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty on January 22, 2021

Follow the Money!

Map of “Nuclear New Mexico”

In 1985, US President Ronald Reagan and Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev declared that “a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.”

President Ronald Reagan and Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev shake hands after signing the arms control agreement banning the use of intermediate-range nuclear missles, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Reduction Treaty.

Waste Lands: America’s Forgotten Nuclear Legacy

The Wall St. Journal has compiled a searchable database of contaminated sites across the US. (view)
Related WSJ report: https://www.wsj.com

Briefing: Plutonium Migration at the Los Alamos National Laboratory

Plutonium Sampling at Los Alamos National Laboratory

New & Updated

A last push for RECA as sunset looms

“The shared stories here are harrowing. Uranium workers from Laguna and Acoma Pueblos and the Seboyeta and Cubero land grants who toiled in mines after 1971 and the Tularosa Basin Downwinders are among the participants: One after another, they come to the podium or comment from the audience. Others nod, shake their heads and wipe away tears.”

[W]ith RECA in political limbo…If the extension isn’t passed by June, hopes will be dashed. “Once that statute is gone, it’s forgotten,” says Kevin Martinez, a local lawyer who’s represented thousands of miners and nuclear lab workers for radiation-related claims. “You can’t recreate that baby.”

By Alicia Inez Guzmán, Searchlight New Mexico “High Beam” Issue #111 | May 7, 2024 Searchlight NM

A family portrait in Gallup. From left: Geneva Silversmith, Janice Billiman, Julia Torres, Elvina Billiman Carl, Maggie Billiman (with photo of Mary Louise Billiman) and Daniel Billiman (with photo of Howard Billiman). Credit: Alicia Inez Guzmán
A family portrait in Gallup. From left: Geneva Silversmith, Janice Billiman, Julia Torres, Elvina Billiman Carl, Maggie Billiman (with photo of Mary Louise Billiman) and Daniel Billiman (with photo of Howard Billiman). Credit: Alicia Inez Guzmán

Saturday begins early, first with a stop at the grocery store to buy snacks and then a three-hour haul west to Gallup. The winds kick up enough to make the horizon look smudgy until finally I arrive at noon at the Playground of Dreams, where Maggie Billiman has organized the first of two gatherings about the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act. The bill would give people more time to file claims for health afflictions linked to uranium mining, atmospheric tests and toxic Manhattan Project waste, including here in New Mexico, home of the world’s first atomic detonation at the Trinity Site.

The original version of RECA was passed in 1990, recognizing the federal government’s responsibility “to compensate individuals who were harmed by the mining of radioactive materials or fallout from nuclear arms testing.” But that bill is set to expire on June 7. Its reauthorization would add another six years to file RECA claims and cover New Mexico for the first time, along with other states. It would also allow families like the Billimans — from Sawmill, Arizona, on the Navajo Nation — to navigate the medical system, get properly diagnosed for health problems they attribute to living downwind of the Nevada Test Site, and then apply for restitution.

The Senate handily passed this latest bill in March. It’s been stalled since then by Republican Mike Johnson, the Speaker of the House.

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Nuclear repository site near Carlsbad readies for waste from Washington after pause

As of May 6, 2024, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico is preparing to receive nuclear waste from Washington after a two-month pause for maintenance.

currentargus.com

Nuclear waste shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant repository near Carlsbad were suspended for about two months as workers completed numerous maintenance projects at the underground facility.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico calls for comprehensive plutonium cleanup at LANL

A group of anti-nuclear activists used data from Los Alamos National Laboratory to map places where plutonium contamination has been found in areas near the lab. Nuclear Watch New Mexico says that the data indicates plutonium contamination has migrated through the subsurface and into important water sources. The group called for comprehensive cleanup at LANL. […]

“Nuclear Watch New Mexico believes comprehensive cleanup is imperative, especially in light of expanding nuclear weapons programs.”

nmpoliticalreport.com

A group of anti-nuclear activists used data from Los Alamos National Laboratory to map places where plutonium contamination has been found in areas near the lab.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico says that the data indicates plutonium contamination has migrated through the subsurface and into important water sources. The group called for comprehensive cleanup at LANL.

The data is publicly available and there are more than 100,000 samples for plutonium dating from 1970 to 2023. However, Sophia Stroud, a digital content manager for Nuclear Watch New Mexico, explained that they did not want to include samples on their map that could be linked to fallout from nuclear weapons testing rather than activities at the lab.

They narrowed down the samples to remove plutonium samples that could have come from nuclear weapon testing. That left about 58,100 samples that were taken from below ground between 1992 and 2023.

Of those samples, about 70 percent of them were below detectable levels of plutonium.

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Recent Project: Plutonium Sampling at the Los Alamos National Lab

NukeWatch has recently published a project on plutonium sampling at Los Alamos National Laboratory showing plutonium migration and contamination into the groundwater at and around the lab. See more: 

In order to accomplish this, we gathered data from LANL's own Intellus database, and mapped and charted it using excel and eventually JavaScript here

Interactive Map: Plutonium Contamination and Migration Around LANL

The long path of plutonium: A new map charts contamination at thousands of sites, miles from Los Alamos National Laboratory

Plutonium hotspots appear along tribal lands, hiking trails, city streets and the Rio Grande River, a watchdog group finds

“Nuclear Watch’s driving question, according to Scott Kovac, its operations and research director, concerned a specific pattern of contamination: Had plutonium migrated from LANL dump sites into regional groundwater? The answer, Kovac believes, is yes.”

searchlightnm.org

For years, the public had no clear picture of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s plutonium footprint. Had the ubiquitous plutonium at LANL infiltrated the soil? The water? Had it migrated outside the boundary of the laboratory itself?

A series of maps published by Nuclear Watch New Mexico are beginning to answer these questions and chart the troubling extent of plutonium on the hill. One map is included below, while an interactive version appears on Nuclear Watch New Mexico’s website. The raw data for both comes from Intellus New Mexico, a publicly accessible clearinghouse of some 16 million environmental monitoring records offered in recent decades by LANL, the New Mexico Environment Department and the Department of Energy.

Approximately 58,100 red dots populate each map at 12,730 locations, marking a constellation of points where plutonium — a radioactive element used in nuclear weapons — was found in the groundwater, surface water or soil. What’s alarming is just how far that contamination extends, from Bandelier National Monument to the east and the Santa Fe National Forest to the north, to San Ildefonso tribal lands in the west and the Rio Grande River and Santa Fe County, to the south.

The points, altogether, tell a story about the porous boundary between LANL and its surrounds. So pervasive is the lab’s footprint that plutonium can be found in both trace and notable amounts along hiking trails, near a nursing home, in parks, along major thoroughfares and in the Rio Grande.

Gauging whether or not the levels of plutonium are a health risk is challenging: Many physicians and advocates say no dose of radiation is safe. But when questions about risk arise, one of the few points of reference is the standard used at Rocky Flats in Colorado, where the maximum allowable amount of plutonium in remediated soil was 50 picocuries per gram. Many sites on the Nuclear Watch map have readings below this amount. Colorado’s construction standard, by contrast, is 0.9 picocuries per gram.

Watchdog group says LANL data shows widespread plutonium migration

“[NukeWatch] argued [their] plutonium migration map provides “compelling evidence of the need for a comprehensive cleanup” at the lab. The Department of Energy instead has proposed a plan to “cap and cover” 190,000 cubic yards of waste in unlined pits and trenches, at an estimated cost of $12 million.

Many local organizations and community leaders, including the Santa Fe County Commission, have opposed the plan, and the New Mexico Environment Department issued a draft order in September calling for a full cleanup — at a cost of about $800 million.”

santafenewmexican.com

LOS ALAMOS NATIONAL LABORATORY
Plutonium migration
Nuclear Watch New Mexico says it has created an interactive map showing plutonium migration from Los Alamos National Laboratory based on the lab’s database of environmental sampling. The map of 58,100 sampling sites, including 17,483 where the element was detected, shows trace amounts of the radioactive element as far away as Cochiti Lake, the group says.

Trace amounts of plutonium from decades of weapons work at Los Alamos National Laboratory have contaminated the Rio Grande at least as far as Cochiti Lake and could be in the regional aquifer that serves a large population of New Mexicans, a nuclear watchdog says.

“That’s been long known,” Nuclear Watch New Mexico Director Jay Coghlan said in a virtual briefing Thursday morning, when the organization unveiled a map of plutonium migration it said was created with LANL’s own data.

“Nevertheless, it’s not generally known by the New Mexican public,” Coghlan said. “What is ‘new news’ is publicly calling that out.”

Nuclear Watch used what it called the lab’s publicly accessible but cumbersome environmental database, Intellus New Mexico, to map 58,100 spots where the lab collected samples between 1992 and 2023, including 17,483 labeled as plutonium “detects.” The interactive map shows the date each sample was collected and the level of plutonium detected, with two “detects” cited in Cochiti Lake, dozens in the Rio Grande east of Los Alamos and thousands around the lab.

Groups Fire Back at Feds’ Move to Dismiss Plutonium Pit Lawsuit

NNSA Delays Urgent Research on Plutonium “Pit” Aging While Spending Tens of Billions on Nuclear Weapons Bomb Core Production

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, April 17, 2024
Tom Clements, SRS Watch – 803.240.7268 | Email
Scott Yundt, TVC – 415.990.2070 | Email
Jay Coghlan – 505.989.7342 | Email

Nearly three years after filing a Freedom of Information Act request, the public interest group Savannah River Site Watch has finally received the National Nuclear Security Administration’s (NNSA’s) congressionally-required “Research Program Plan for Plutonium and Pit Aging.” However, the document is 40% blacked out, including references and acronyms. Plutonium “pits” are the radioactive cores of all U.S. nuclear weapons. The NNSA claims that potential aging effects are justification for a ~$60 billion program to expand production. However, the Plan fails to show that aging is a current problem. To the contrary, it demonstrates that NNSA is delaying urgently needed updated plutonium pit aging research.

In 2006 independent scientific experts known as the JASONs concluded that plutonium pits last at least 85 years without specifying an end date [i] (the average pit age is now around 40 years). A 2012 follow-on study by the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab concluded:

“This continuing work shows that no unexpected aging issues are appearing in plutonium that has been accelerated to an equivalent of ~ 150 years of age. The results of this work are consistent with, and further reinforce, the Department of Energy Record of Decision to pursue a limited pit manufacturing capability in existing and planned facilities at Los Alamos instead of constructing a new, very large pit manufacturing facility…” [ii]

Since then NNSA has reversed itself. In 2018 the agency decided to pursue the simultaneous production of at least 30 pits per year at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in northern New Mexico and at least 50 pits per year at the Savannah River Site (SRS) in South Carolina. Upgrades to plutonium facilities at LANL are slated to cost $8 billion over the next 5 years. The redundant Savannah River Plutonium Processing Facility in South Carolina will cost up to $25 billion, making it the second most expensive building in human history.

Continue reading

Government watchdog says LANL could be doing more to prevent glove box contaminant releases

“In an email, an anti-nuclear watchdog argued the 10 incidents the board lists in the report were “potentially dangerous.”

“The discouraging overall trend is the accelerating frequency of these events as LANL ramps up expanded plutonium pit production,” wrote Jay Coghlan, executive director of Nuclear Watch New Mexico. “The Lab feeds the public with empty assurances of safety. However, this trend deserves meaningful course correction before, and not after, LANL begins production.””

santafenewmexican.com

Los Alamos National Laboratory is not doing all it can to detect radioactive leaks in glove boxes and prevent the release of airborne contaminants, a federal watchdog said in a review it conducted of the equipment and safety programs after a series of mishaps.

The equipment, made up of sealed compartments and attached protective gloves, aids workers in handling radioactive materials and is deemed essential in the lab ramping up production of plutonium cores, or pits, that trigger nuclear warheads.

Although the lab is addressing problems previously identified with glove box operations — worn gloves not changed soon enough, inadequate staffing and training, leaky ports not sealed — a team found several other deficiencies that should be fixed to reduce hazards, the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board wrote in a 13-page report.

Los Alamos decontaminating nuclear waste. Could it save space at repository near Carlsbad?

A report from Nuclear Watch New Mexico posited pit production would generate 57,550 cubic meters of the waste over 50 years, more than half of WIPP’s projected future capacity. This assertion was backed up by a 2019 report from the National Academies of Sciences finding WIPP could lack sufficient space for disposal of surplus plutonium and other DOE planned waste streams in the coming decades.”

currentargus.com

Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory are hoping to decontaminate some of the nuclear waste from the lab that would otherwise be disposed of at a repository near Carlsbad, as the lab was planning to ramp its production of plutonium pits used to trigger warheads.

Transuranic (TRU) waste from the lab and other Department of Energy facilities is disposed of via burial at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in a 2,000-foot-deep salt deposit about 30 miles east of Carlsbad. TRU waste is made up of clothing, equipment and debris irradiated during nuclear research and other activities.

How Annie Jacobsen mapped out ‘Nuclear War: A Scenario’

“There are new players, new nuclear armed nations that are far more unpredictable than those who have had nuclear weapons in the past.”

, TASK & PURPOSE

It starts with a sudden attack. North Korea, out of paranoia and fear, launches a nuclear strike on the United States, hitting its targets. The United States retaliates with a salvo of its own nuclear missiles. However, in order to hit North Korea, the missiles must pass over Russia. Attempts to communicate with the Russian president fail and Russia’s nuclear warning system makes him think it’s an attack on his country. So he launches his nuclear bombs, this time at the United States.

It’s a global nuclear war. And it happens in minutes.

That’s the setup at the heart of “Nuclear War: A Scenario,” a new book by investigative journalist Annie Jacobsen. The book, released at the end of March, outlines how one attack from an isolated state can set off a chain reaction of nuclear policy, with poor communication and split-second decisions triggering widespread nuclear war. It’s a fictional scena

America’s Nuclear War Plan in the 1960s Was Utter Madness. It Still Is.

We rarely consider the dangers these days, but our existence depends on it.

“‘Humanity is one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,’ cautions UN Secretary-General António Guterres. ‘We must reverse course.'”

BY , MOTHER JONES

Nuclear war is madness. Were a nuclear weapon to be launched at the United States, including from a rogue nuclear-armed nation like North Korea, American policy dictates a nuclear counterattack. This response would almost certainly set off a series of events that would quickly spiral out of control. “The world could end in the next couple of hours,” Gen. Robert Kehler, the former commander of US Strategic Command, told me in an interview.

We sit on the razor’s edge. Vladimir Putin has said he is “not bluffing” about the possibility of using weapons of mass destruction should NATO overstep on Ukraine, and North Korea accuses the US of having “a sinister intention to provoke a nuclear war.” For generations, the American public has viewed a nuclear World War III as a remote prospect, but the threat is ever-present. “Humanity is one misunderstanding, one miscalculation away from nuclear annihilation,” cautions UN Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must reverse course.”

So far, we haven’t. The Pentagon’s plans for nuclear war remain firmly in place.

The US government has spent trillions of dollars over the decades preparing to fight a nuclear war, while refining protocols meant to keep the government functioning after hundreds of millions of Americans become casualties of a nuclear holocaust, and the annual budgets continue to grow. The nation’s integrated nuclear war plan in the 1960s was utter madness. It almost certainly remains so today.

Jay Coghlan/NukeWatch NM Letter to the Editor: Santa Fe Reporter March 20, 2024

By Jay Coghlan, The Santa Fe Reporter |

(EFF Designer Hannah Diaz)

Cover, March 13: “The Foilies”

THE GREATEST FOILIE OF ALL

The Reporter should stick around in its own back yard for the “The Foilies: Recognizing the worst in government transparency.” IMHO, it’s all small potatoes compared to the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) with their ~$60 billion program to expand production of plutonium pits, the critical (pun intended) cores of nuclear weapons. NNSA has no credible cost estimates for its most expensive and complex program ever. It has not conducted public reviews as legally required by the National Environmental Policy Act. Pit production will create more contamination and more radioactive wastes. New pits can’t be full-scale tested because of the international testing moratorium, which could erode confidence in stockpile reliability. Worse yet, it could prompt the US to return to full-scale testing, which would have serious global proliferation consequences.

Transparency? NNSA heavily redacts LANL’s “Performance Evaluation Report” on how taxpayers’ money is spent. Years go by before Freedom of Information Act requests are honored. And yet LANL and the NNSA are all too eager to lead us into a new nuclear arms race that could end civilization overnight.

Jay Coghlan
Nuclear Watch New Mexico, Santa Fe

ARCHBISHOP JOHN C. WESTER’S STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF TRINITY TEST DOWNWINDERS AND URGES PASSAGE OF THE RADIATION EXPOSURE COMPENSATION ACT

ALBUQUERQUE, NM – Monday, March 18, 2024– IMMEDIATE RELEASE – The following is a message from Most Reverend John C. Wester, Archbishop of Santa Fe, and Anne Avellone, Director, Office of Social Justice and Respect Life and Archdiocese of Santa Fe Justice, Peace, and Life Commission:

“Oppenheimer,” a movie released in 2023, many parts of which were filmed in New Mexico, is an expansive biopic of the life of Robert Oppenheimer and his work developing the first atomic bomb at Los Alamos, NM and detonating it in the Tularosa Basin at the Trinity site. On March 10, 2024, the movie received seven Academy Awards, including for Best Picture. We are grateful the movie raises awareness of the life and work of Robert Oppenheimer and, in doing so, brings to new audiences an awareness of the development of the atomic bomb and its perils.

However, we recognize the very real and lasting impact of the development and testing of the atomic bomb has had serious and often deadly health impacts on the people of New Mexico and throughout the country. People like uranium miners and the Downwinders of New Mexico are unwitting victims who had no choice in being exposed to radiation. It is unfortunate that such a remarkable and timely film does not acknowledge these realities.

The very same week “Oppenheimer” received so many accolades in the motion picture world, the U.S. Senate passed by a vote of 69 to 30 a bipartisan reauthorization of the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA), which compensates people who have had health issues due to radiation exposure from the atomic testing and uranium mining.
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NNSA’s Nuclear Weapons Budget Takes Huge Jump

Arms Race Accelerates with MIRVed Warheads
Los Alamos Lab Cleanup Cut

Ironically the day after the film Oppenheimer was awarded multiple Oscars, the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) asked Congress for its biggest nuclear weapons budget ever. NNSA’s FY 2025 request for “Total Weapons Activities” is $19.8 billion, $700 million above what Congress recently enacted for FY 2024. It is also a full billion dollars above what President Biden asked for last year, which Congress then added to and will likely do so again.

The Biden Administration states that the $19.8 billion will be used to:

“[P]rioritize implementation of the 2022 National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review by modernizing the Nation’s nuclear deterrent to keep the American people safe. The Budget supports a safe, secure, reliable, and effective nuclear stockpile and a resilient, responsive nuclear security enterprise necessary to protect the U.S. homeland and allies from growing international threats.” whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/budget_fy2025.pdf, page 75.

The 2022 National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review for the first time posited two nuclear “near peers”, i.e. Russia and China, that need to be simultaneously “deterred.” This hinted at a potentially large nuclear buildup which this budget may now be implementing. That claimed need to deter two nuclear near peers was explicitly taken a step beyond just deterrence in an October 2023 report from the Strategic Posture Commission. It declared:

“Decisions need to be made now in order for the nation to be prepared to address the threats from these two nuclear-armed adversaries arising during the 2027-2035 timeframe. Moreover, these threats are such that the United States and its Allies and partners must be ready to deter and defeat both adversaries simultaneously.” ida.org/research-and-publications/publications/all/a/am/americas-strategic-posture, page vii (bolded emphasis added)

Continue reading

NNSA’s Nuclear Weapons Budget Takes Huge Jump

Arms Race Accelerates with MIRVed Warheads
Los Alamos Lab Cleanup Cut

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, March 11, 2024
Jay Coghlan – 505.989.7342 | Email

Santa Fe, NM – Ironically the day after the film Oppenheimer was awarded multiple Oscars, the Department of Energy’s semi-autonomous National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) asked Congress for its biggest nuclear weapons budget ever. NNSA’s FY 2025 request for “Total Weapons Activities” is $19.8 billion, $700 million above what Congress recently enacted for FY 2024. It is also a full billion dollars above what President Biden asked for last year, which Congress then added to and will likely do so again.

The Biden Administration states that the $19.8 billion will be used to:

“[P]rioritize implementation of the 2022 National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review by modernizing the Nation’s nuclear deterrent to keep the American people safe. The Budget supports a safe, secure, reliable, and effective nuclear stockpile and a resilient, responsive nuclear security enterprise necessary to protect the U.S. homeland and allies from growing international threats.” whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/budget_fy2025.pdf, page 75.

The 2022 National Defense Strategy and Nuclear Posture Review for the first time posited two nuclear “near peers”, i.e. Russia and China, that need to be simultaneously “deterred.” This hinted at a potentially large nuclear buildup which this budget may now be implementing. That claimed need to deter two nuclear near peers was explicitly taken a step beyond just deterrence in an October 2023 report from the Strategic Posture Commission. It declared:

“Decisions need to be made now in order for the nation to be prepared to address the threats from these two nuclear-armed adversaries arising during the 2027-2035 timeframe. Moreover, these threats are such that the United States and its Allies and partners must be ready to deter and defeat both adversaries simultaneously.” ida.org/research-and-publications/publications/all/a/am/americas-strategic-posture, page vii (bolded emphasis added)

Continue reading

Tribes Meeting With Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Describe Harms Uranium Mining Has Had on Them, and the Threats New Mines Pose

As spiking uranium prices drive a surge of proposals for new mines, the Navajo Nation joined the Ute Mountain Ute, Havasupai, Northern Arapaho and Oglala Sioux tribes in a commission hearing with federal officials to push back against mining on and near their lands.

By Noel Lyn Smith, Inside Climate News

Entrances to a uranium mine are locked shut outside Ticaboo, Utah. Credit: Photo by George Frey/Getty Images
Entrances to a uranium mine are locked shut outside Ticaboo, Utah. Credit: Photo by George Frey/Getty Images

Members of five tribes told the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights that Indigenous communities in the United States continue to suffer from the legacy of uranium mining and will face a persisting threat if new proposals for uranium extraction in the West are authorized during a hearing on Feb. 28 about mining to support the nation’s nuclear industry.

“The U.S. has rarely, if ever, secured tribal consent for uranium production on and near tribal lands,” Eric Jantz, legal director of the New Mexico Environmental Law Center, said. “The cost of the government’s lopsided policies have disproportionately fallen on Native communities.”

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights is an organ of the Organization of American States. Its mission is to promote and protect human rights in member states, including the U.S.

Members of the Navajo Nation, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe, Havasupai Tribe, Northern Arapaho Tribe and Oglala Sioux Tribe requested the hearing to tell commissioners about the ramifications of uranium mining on their communities and the inadequate communication and response by the U.S. government, Jantz explained.

ACTION ALERTS

Tell Your US Rep to Call for a House VOTE + VOTE FOR: Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) S 3853 Now!

URGENT—NEED your Rep to CALL ON House Speaker MIKE JOHNSON to BRING RECA S3853 TO THE FLOOR FOR A VOTE NOW!!

Register to Watch FIRST WE BOMBED NEW MEXICO (free online May 17-19)—an excellent documentary showing firsthand why the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act must be extended and expanded before it expires June 7, 2024, with a panel on ACTION NEEDED NOW!

Click the text LINK*** in the box below to

  • TELL your US REP to watch it!!
  • TELL your REP to call on House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring S 3853 RECA Radiation Exposure Compensation Act TO THE FLOOR FOR A VOTE NOW!!! (It EXPIRES JUNE 7!)
  • ASK your REP TO VOTE FOR RECA S 3853

(yes this is Senate-passed bill with the S-Senate number that would go to the House as S 3853)

Plus, FREE screening: “First We Bombed New Mexico”

Nuclear Information and Resource Service

We are asking you to contact your Representative and urge them to encourage House Speaker Mike Johnson to bring the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA S.3853) to the House floor for a vote immediately. Ask your Representative to ask Speaker Johnson to schedule a vote on the RECA Amendments well before the program sunsets in June 2024.

We need your help to ensure justice for those affected by the devastating impacts of US nuclear bomb testing and production. The Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) is set to expire on June 7th, and it is crucial that we take action to renew and expand this critical legislation.

RECA provides essential compensation to individuals and communities who have suffered from the health effects of radiation exposure, including cancer, respiratory illnesses, and other serious conditions. However, without immediate action, this vital program will come to an end, leaving many without the support they need.

It is crucial that we act now to ensure that RECA is renewed AND expanded to provide assistance to those affected by US government-caused radiation exposure. Your voice can make a difference in ensuring that justice is served for those who have suffered the consequences of nuclear weapons production and detonation.

Additionally, we invite you, your friends, family, and colleagues to watch the powerful documentary First We Bombed New Mexico online for free between May 17th (8AM Eastern) and May 19th (11PM Eastern). This nuanced film highlights why RECA is urgently needed and why it must be approved before it expires on June 7th, 2024.

Register for the screening at this link!

Thank you for your support and advocacy on this critical issue. Together, we can ensure that RECA is renewed AND expanded to provide justice for those impacted by US nuclear activity.

New Nuclear Media: Art, Films, Books & More

“Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War” Explores Impact of US–Soviet Conflict

The nine-part doc examines how two global superpowers have irrevocably altered the course of history.

By Roxanne Fequiere, Netflix

While the the Cold War ended in 1991, even a casual appraisal of current headlines reveals that relations between the United States and Russia — the one-time center of the Soviet Union — remain tense, to say the least. The global repercussions of the Cold War continue to ripple through the current geopolitical landscape to this day, but it can be difficult to understand just how a mid-20th century struggle for ideological dominance continues to ensnare countless nations in ongoing unrest.

Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War, a nine-part documentary series from director Brian Knappenberger, provides a comprehensive appraisal of the events that led to the Cold War and traces the conflict around the world and through the decades.

“Lessons that we thought were learned were not learned,” author Lesley Blume says in the doc, describing the state of the world today as “an ongoing tide” of the history that came before it. 

In order to tell this story, the series draws on more than 100 interviews with subjects ranging from past and present world leaders (Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas) to historians as well as everyday people whose lives were drastically altered by the events of the Cold War. As the history unfolds, each episode considers the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine as an example of how the history being examined is directly tied to the events of today. “Nearly every part of the war in Ukraine is an echo of the Cold War,” Knappenberger explains.

Turning Point: The Bomb and the Cold War premieres on March 12.

In Search of Resolution: New Documentary on Nuclear Dangers

The new documentary “In Search of Resolution,” which examines the current state of international nuclear arms control and is the third film of The Nuclear World Project, airs on @PBS stations throughout August.

Filmed in 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this timely documentary examines the continuing dangers posed by the existence of nuclear weapons. The program includes in-depth interviews with scholars, ambassadors, and leaders in the field to provide historical context, while international experts reflect on arms control measures, nuclear disarmament, and possible ways forward.

The film provides, among other things, an interesting inside look at the TPNW MSP1, the 2022 Conference on the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons, and the 2022 NPT Review Conference.

Find out more and watch online here: https://video.kpbs.org/show/in-search-of-resolution/
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