Arsenal of Information


UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Conference
B61-12 Enhanced Nuclear Bomb
LRSO: New Nuclear Cruise Missile
US Nukes at Incirlik AFB, Turkey
Trump Admin and Nuclear Weapons Policy
Kirtland AFB Nuclear Weapons Complex
Flashpoint: NATO-Russia
Flashpoint: North Korea
MOX / Plutonium Disposition
Fukushima Disaster and Updates
Nuke Lab Contractors Illegal Lobbying
Revolving Door: The Case of Heather Wilson
Marshall Islands Lawsuit
CMRR-Nuclear Facility
Conference on the Humanitarian Impact
Nuclear Testing Since 1945
Atomic Histories

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Weapons Complex Map
Nuclear Watch Interactive Map of the
Nuclear Weapons Complex
View full size

    Kansas City Plant
    Lawrence Livermore National Labs
    Los Alamos National Laboratory
    Nevada National Security Site
    Pantex Plant
    Sandia National Laboratories
    Savannah River Site
    Washington DC
    Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP)
    Y-12 National Security Complex

Nuclear Weapons Enterprise Twitter Feeds:

Sandia Labs
Y-12 Nat'l Sec.
Los Alamos Lab
Kansas City NSC
The Pantex Plant
Savannah River Site
Nevada Nat'l Security Site
Lawrence Livermore Lab
DOE Sec. Perry
Frank Klotz NNSA

Facility Spotlight, June, 2017:
"Asked about the persistence of the Los Alamos Lab's problems, former NNSA director Neile Miller smiled and said her colleagues at the nuclear oversight agency sometimes told the following joke: If Washington sent all three of America's nuclear weapons labs an order to study how to 'jump', they would all respond differently. Lawrence Livermore, she said, would convene a conference and produce a three-inch stack of reports about 'jumping.' Officials at Sandia would simply jump. But at Los Alamos, she said, officials would instinctively respond with a '**ck you, we're not jumping'"
- Reported by Patrick Malone and R. Jeffrey Smith in part 2 of their series entitled "Nuclear Negligence" for the Center for Public Integrity.

nuclear misconduct
Nuclear Weapons Complex Misconduct
Dec. 3, 2015. POGO: Updated Federal Contractor Misconduct Database, focussing on Nuclear Complex (see report at POGO)

ANA Map of nuclear risks USA
Click the image to view and 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.

Nuclear New Mexico Map

Click to see NukeWatch's annotated map of nuclear sites, including those on the way, in The Land of Enchantment

Quote of the Week

"Remember this day, July 7, 2017. Today, history was made at the United Nations and the nuclear status quo was put on notice and most of the world stood up and said simply, "Enough."
- Sean Meyer, Union of Concerned Scientists: Historic Treaty Makes Nuclear Weapons Illegal

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
LANL's "Central Mission"- Presented at: RPI Nuclear Data 2011 Symposium for Criticality Safety and Reactor Applications (PDF) 4/27/11

Kirtland nuclear weapons complex
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)

Follow the Money!

LANL FY 2018 Budget Request
Click to view full PDF with annotations table
Note that the percentage of the LANL budget request for core nuclear weapons activities has risen to 70%.

NNSA FY 2017 Budget Request
- Nuclear Watch Analysis/Compilation (PDF)

Congressional Budget Office report:
Projected Costs of Nuclear Forces 2014-2023

CBO presentation based on the report:
Projected Nuclear Forces Budget Through 2023
Click to view presentation

Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan
- View/Download FY 2017 SSMP (PDF)
- SSMP Analysis of Hans Kristensen, FAS: Nuclear Transparency and the Stockpile Stewardship and Management Plan (PDF)
- View/Download FY 2015 SSMP (PDF)
- NWNM Analysis (PDF) / Analysis Summary (PDF)

Nuclear Watch Media

KUNM FM: LANL's Long Environmental Cleanup
KUNM public radio discussion of Los Alamos cleanup, and Nukewatch lawsuit Archived podcast here

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

NukeWatch YouTube Channel
See our playlists of key video clips.

plutonium pit production history

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.
(View/download full report- PDF)

July 14, 2016:
Debate Is On Over Making More Nuclear Triggers At Los Alamos Lab
"The National Nuclear Security Administration is under orders from Congress to produce as many as 80 new nuclear weapons triggers a year by around 2030, and Los Alamos National Laboratory is the only place in the country that is equipped to make them now... The plans for a higher-capacity plutonium pit production facility make Los Alamos key - some call the lab 'ground zero'..." (ref: Albuquerque Journal)

Updated March 2017: NukeWatch Fact Sheet:
"Plutonium Pit Production at LANL"
(View/download PDF)

Atomic Homefront

Atomic Homefront
By award-winning documentary filmmaker Deborah Cammissa
"The City of St. Louis has a little known nuclear past as a uranium-processing center for the Atomic bomb. Government and corporate negligence led to the dumping of Manhattan Project uranium, thorium, and radium, thus contaminating North St. Louis suburbs, specifically in two communities: those nestled along Coldwater Creek- and in Bridgeton, Missouri adjacent to the West Lake-Bridgeton landfill..." (source)

What is both sobering and addictive?
This "Wheel of Near Misfortune" created by Union of Concerned Scientists- don't miss it!

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."

nuclear firestorm Manhattan
What would happen if an 800-kiloton nuclear warhead detonated above midtown Manhattan?
You should read this.

Recent visitors - click to enlarge

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New & Updated

Activists break into and occupy  NATO nuke base in Germany
From left, Bonnie Urfer, Steve Baggarly, Susan Crane, John LaForge and Gerd Buentzly.
At least 20 U.S. B61 thermonuclear bombs are deployed at Büchel Air Base. (photo by Ralph Hutchison)

July 18, 2017 :
Activists cut fences, occupy nuclear weapons bunker at Büchel Air Base
Agroup of five peace activists cut through fences and got far inside the Büchel Air Base in Germany, managing to climb on top of a large bunker used for nuclear weapons.
"The five spent more than an hour unnoticed sitting on the bunker until two of them climbed down to write "DISARM" on the bunker's metal front door, setting off an alarm. Surrounded by vehicles and guards searching on foot with flashlights, the five eventually alerted guards to their presence by singing, causing the guards to look up. After being detained, searched and photographed, the five were released without charge.
"The action came at the end of an 'international week' at the base organized by 'Nonviolent Action to Abolish Nukes. The effort was part of a 20-week-long series of actions - 'Twenty Weeks for Twenty Bombs' - that began March 26.
"Three other nonviolent direct actions took place during the week, one of which succeeded in its demand to see the base commander. Oberstleutnant Gregor Schlemmer actually appeared at the site of a highway blockade and agreed to received a copy of the newly-adopted U.N. Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons from activist Sister Ardeth Platte of Baltimore.
"More than 60 people from around the globe - Russia, China, Mexico, Germany, Britain, the United States, The Netherlands, France and Belgium - participated. Activists from the United States came to Büchel to highlight the plans for modernization of the B61.
"Ralph Hutchison, from Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where a new thermonuclear core for the B61-12 will be manufactured, said: 'It is important that we show this is a global movement. The resistance to nuclear weapons is not limited to one country. The new B61-12 program will cost more than $12 billion, and when production starts sometime after 2020, Büchel is scheduled to get new nuclear bombs.'" (read more at NukeResister)

July 20, 2017:
OREPA, NukeWatch, and NRDC File Lawsuit Against New Nuclear Bomb Plant
Our lawsuit against the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) over the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) is important for many reasons. First, despite the fact that 122 countries just passed a nuclear weapons ban treaty, the UPF is the tip of the spear for the U.S.' planned one trillion dollar-plus makeover of its nuclear arsenal, delivery systems and productions plants. Those production plants are expected to be operational until ~2080, modifying existing nuclear weapons while endowing them with new military capabilities.
Our lawsuit seeks to compel NNSA compliance with the law, when the National Environmental Policy Act requires supplemental public review when major federal proposals are substantially changed. The UPF is also an issue of good governance and proper use of taxpayers dollars, since it has had constant cost overruns and a half-billion dollar design mistake for which no contractor was held accountable.
Finally, our lawsuit against this new bomb plant near Oak Ridge, TN will hopefully benefit New Mexicans by reminding NNSA to conduct legally required public review for new or upgraded plutonium facilities at the Los Alamos Lab. - Jay Coghlan, Nukewatch Exec. Director.
View/download complete Press Release. / View/download the complaint PDF.

July 11, 2017:
Interview with Rick Wayman and Ira Helfland on the Ban Treaty
Rick Wayman Rick Wayman:
"I think one of the most exciting things about this treaty process is the very deep and meaningful involvement of civil society, of my group, the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, of the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. Many of us were under the umbrella of an international campaign called the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons. This voice really was unstoppable, but I also want to mention, to the credit of the nations that participated in this UN process, they gave civil society a big voice. It was really unlike any other UN process that I have been a part of before. I think that this, in many ways, revolutionized the way that international diplomacy and international treaties are made, so I'm very excited about that and very hopeful for the future."

Ira Helfland Ira Helfland:
"The nuclear weapons states did not participate in this process and that's been the root of the problem. They have not wanted to honor their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. The rest of the world has finally lost patience. They're concerned by the overwhelming medical evidence that even a very limited nuclear war would be a worldwide catastrophe. The rest of the international community has issued a real challenge saying that they will no longer accept a situation in which nine countries hold the entire world, including their own people, hostage to these terribly dangerous nuclear arsenals."

Read the full interview at The
- Rick Wayman is the Director of Programs and Operations at the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Nuclear Accountability, and is Co-Chair of the 'Amplify: Generation of Change' network for nuclear abolition.
- Ira Helfand is a co-Founder and Past President of Physicians for Social Responsibility and co-President of PSR's global federation the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War.

Ban Treaty adopted
July 7, 2017:
UN Adopts Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
- The treaty prohibits nations from developing, testing, producing, manufacturing, transferring, possessing, stockpiling, using or threatening to use nuclear weapons. It also prohibits them from assisting, encouraging or inducing anyone to engage in any of those activities. In addition, nations must not allow nuclear weapons to be stationed or deployed on their territory. (See FAQs on the treaty provisions at ICAN)
ICAN's executive director, Beatrice Fihn: "We hope that today marks the beginning of the end of the nuclear age. It is beyond question that nuclear weapons violate the laws of war and pose a clear danger to global security... No one believes that indiscriminately killing millions of civilians is acceptable- no matter the circumstance- yet that is what nuclear weapons are designed to do. Today the international community rejected nuclear weapons and made it clear they are unacceptable." (ref: ICAN)
Ray Acheson, director of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom disarmament program, 'Reaching Critical Will': "This is a treaty made by people. By diplomats who got inspired by an idea and went home to change their government's positions. By activists writing, thinking, and convening, bringing together governments and civil society groups to figure out how to make things happen. By survivors who give their testimony despite the personal trauma of reliving their experiences... By campaigners who mobilize nationally to raise awareness and pressure their governments. By politicians who truly represent the will of their people and speak the truth in parliaments..." (Nuclear Ban Daily July 8)
- Perry Project statement: UN Adopts New Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
- Arms Control Assoc: New Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty Marks a Turning Point
- Union of Concerned Scientists: Historic Treaty Makes Nuclear Weapons Illegal
- Ploughshares Fund: A Stunning Rebuke To The Nuclear-Armed States
- US, UK, France joint statement: "We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it."

June 28: "Nuclear Negligence" Part 5
Repeated radiation warnings go unheeded at sensitive Idaho nuclear plant
The fifth lengthy investigative report from the Center for Public Integrity in the "Nuclear Negligence" series. This article also ran at Salon and the Santa Fe New Mexican
* Note that CPI's landmark series drew heavily on the Department of Energy's contractor Performance Evaluation Reports. Those reports are publicly available only because Nuclear Watch successfully sued for them in 2012.

"The chairman of a safety committee at Idaho National Laboratory wrote a memo in 2009 warning that damaged plutonium plates could endanger workers. He said in a legal deposition that he shared it with 19 people at the lab, including high-ranking managers.
"The managers ignored most of his recommendations. An accident occurred in which 16 workers inhaled plutonium dust particles. Two minutes beforehand, a supervisor who had been warned about the risks relayed an order for it to proceed..." (read more)

June 27: "Nuclear Negligence" Part 4
More Than 30 Nuclear Experts Inhale Uranium After Radiation Alarms at a Weapons Site Are Switched Off
The fourth lengthy investigative report from the Center for Public Integrity in the "Nuclear Negligence" series. This article also ran at Scientific American
"...The entire event was characterized by sloppiness, according to a quiet federal investigation, with multiple warnings issued and ignored in advance, and new episodes of contamination allowed to occur afterward. All of this transpired without public notice by the center.
"Annoyed by radiation alarms during these experiments, those conducting the experiments switched off electrical circuits also connected to a safety ventilation system. The particles then spewed throughout the room and an adjacent room where scientists congregated before and after the experiments.
"Due to the accident, the reactor that caused the personnel contaminations was switched off from July 2014 until Jan. 2016, delaying work meant to help improve nuclear safety and verify the potency of weapons in the U.S. nuclear arsenal.
"A federal investigation after the exposures found safety deficiencies that had been previously flagged by oversight groups but went unfixed for years. But the private firms that operate the Nevada National Security Site received 90 percent or more of the profits available to them from 2013 to 2016..."(read more)

June 26: "Nuclear Negligence" Part 3
Light Penalties and Lax Oversight Encourage Weak Safety Culture at Nuclear Weapons Labs
The third lengthy investigative report from the Center for Public Integrity in the "Nuclear Negligence" series. This part also ran in the Santa Fe New Mexican
It's been a bad week for Los Alamos. Following the first lengthy CPI report of safety and security failings, NNSA administrator Frank Klotz released an official statement defending the "improved" safety culture there. And then 4 days later we learned that LANL had shipped "special nuclear materials" (uranium, plutonium) to Lawrence Livermore and Savannah River National Labs via commercial air cargo rather than by ground, a dangerous violation of security procedures because changes in air pressure might cause the containers to fail. Klotz had to release another statement this time saying the failure to follow safe procedures was "absolutely unacceptable".
"Workers' lives are endangered while contractors running nuclear weapons plants make millions."
The latest CPI report notes: "Even when the Energy Department imposed a significant financial penalty against one contractor in 2014, it amounted to a tiny share of the government's costs to repair the contractor's disastrous mishap. That case involved the Los Alamos National Laboratory, which lost 90 percent of its potential good performance profit in 2014 after its errors caused nuclear waste to be improperly packed in an underground New Mexico storage cavern, where it exploded. That amounted to a penalty of $57 million. But this was less than four percent of the estimated $1.5 billion cost to the federal government, so far, of cleaning up and dealing with the resulting mess..." (source)

June 20: "Nuclear Negligence" Part 2
Safety Problems at a Los Alamos Laboratory Delay U.S. Nuclear Warhead Testing and Production
The second lengthy investigative report from the Center for Public Integrity in the "Nuclear Negligence" series. This part also ran in Science (AAAS)
"Jerry McKamy, a former NNSA nuclear physicist and now a senior expert at the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, ...made it clear in a trade journal article last December that the nuclear complex's poor handling of criticality safety has been endemic."
"McKamy wrote that 'DOE and its contractors have repeatedly shown they are not capable of anticipating and preventing serious criticality safety problems.' They have persistently ignored 'written and credible warnings by criticality safety and management experts.'"
"A separate Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board report in February detailed the magnitude of the shortfall: Los Alamos' dangerous work, it said, demands 27 fully qualified criticality safety engineers. The lab has 10." (source)

For immediate release: June 19, 2017:
Some Background on Plutonium Pit Production at the Los Alamos Lab
Santa Fe, NM. "Why expand plutonium pit production when apparently it can't be done safely and may decrease, not increase, our national security? One strong reason is the huge contractor profits to be had under the one trillion dollar-plus 'modernization' of the nuclear weapons stockpile and production complex initiated under Obama, which Trump promises to expand. Far from just 'modernization', existing nuclear weapons are being given new military capabilities despite denials at the highest levels of government..."
- View/download the full press release
- NukeWatch Fact Sheet: Plutonium Pit Production
- Jay Coghlan, ABQJournal: Why new nuclear 'pit' production at LANL is unnecessary
"Ironically, new-design pits for the Interoperable Warhead may hurt national security..."

June 18, 2017: "Nuclear Negligence" Part 1
Repeated Safety Lapses Hobble Los Alamos National Laboratory's Work On The Cores Of U.S. Nuclear Warheads
The first in the "Nuclear Negligence" series of investigative reports from the Center for Public Integrity by Patrick Malone and R. Jeffrey Smith for the Center of Public Integrity. Simultaneously published in the Washington Post. and in Science (AAAS)
LANL Plutonium Facility Number 4
Los Alamos National Lab Plutonium Facility #4
Some excerpts:
"Los Alamos violated nuclear industry rules for guarding against a criticality accident three times more often last year than the Energy Department's 23 other nuclear installations combined, that report said. Because of its shortcomings, federal permission has not been granted for renewed work with plutonium liquids, needed to purify plutonium taken from older warheads for reuse, normally a routine practice."
"Moreover, a year-long investigation by the Center makes clear that pushing the rods too closely together in 2011 wasn't the first time that Los Alamos workers had mishandled plutonium and risked deaths from an inadvertent burst of radiation. Between 2005 and 2016, the lab's persistent and serious shortcomings in "criticality" safety have been criticized in more than 40 reports by government oversight agencies, teams of nuclear safety experts, and the lab's own staff."
"And these safety challenges aren't confined to Los Alamos. The Center's probe revealed a frightening series of glaring worker safety risks, previously unpublicized accidents, and dangerously lax management practices. The investigation further revealed that the penalties imposed by the government on the private firms that make America's nuclear weapons were typically just pinpricks, and that instead the firms annually were awarded large profits in the same years that major safety lapses occurred. Some were awarded new contracts despite repeated, avoidable accidents, including some that exposed workers to radiation."
First in the series "Nuclear Negligence" by Patrick Malone for the Center of Public Integrity. Simultaneously published in the Washington Post.
* Statement from Frank Klotz, NNSA Administrator, regarding the CPI article and series.
- See also: NukeWatch Fact Sheet: Plutonium Pit Production

Trident Submarine- Doomsday Machine?
US/UK Trident: A Hackable Doomsday Machine?
Earlier this year we learned that in June 2016, an unarmed Trident nuclear missile launched from a British submarine off the coast of Florida targeting a point in the south Atlantic instead turned around and headed for Georgia, and had to be destroyed in mid-flight. In our coverage of the incident, we wondered whether "the mishap" may have been caused by a hack. (see "Trident Malfunction and Hacking")
On May 31, British American Security Information Council released a major in-depth and detailed survey of the vulnerabilities of Britain's Trident nuclear force to hacking:
Hacking UK Trident: A Growing Threat (View/download PDF) Some excerpts:
- "A cyber-attack may target the submarine, command and control, or the missile launch system. It can attempt to disrupt or change launch coordinates to divert the original course of the missile, or to disrupt or neutralize the warheads themselves...
- "To imagine that critical digital systems at the heart of nuclear weapon systems are somehow immune or can be confidently protected by dedicated teams of network managers is to be irresponsibly complacent. When states invest hundreds of billions of dollars in offensive nuclear weapon systems, the incentives are there amongst adversaries to develop capabilities that could neutralize that threat."
- "Relying as it does upon numerous computers, complex software and endless lines of code, the Trident system is undeniably vulnerable to cyber interference.... The overall impact is one of far greater instability and uncertainty of outcomes. When considering the consequences of nuclear weapons use, and the widespread recognition that once a nuclear exchange starts between nuclear armed states it is very unlikely to remain limited, is this really an acceptable future?"
Note the report's remarks regarding the June 2016 incident: "The failure could have several explanations... It was also consistent with the injection of malware into the failing component or into the system transmitting telemetry data from the missile. In other words, if there had been a hack, this is possibly what it would have looked like."
- A related must-read: NYTimes: A Cyberattack 'the World Isn't Ready For' "this is a nuclear bomb compared to WannaCry"

The Nuclear Enterprise is More Problematic Than Ever- And It Has a Dark Side
The cloud hanging over the future of nuclear power grew darker recently with the bankruptcy of Westinghouse over cost overruns by the principle contractor, Shaw, and the huge hit, roughly $7 billion, that its corporate owner Toshiba had to take on it, pushing Toshiba itself to the brink of bankruptcy.
Two new AP1000 units being added to Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle nuclear station located near Waynesboro, Ga Ironically, Toshiba's AP1000 nuclear power plant model was meant to reduce construction and operation costs through standardization. (see photo at left)
The bankruptcy "is a powerful signal of the end of the fantasy of a nuclear revival", Daniel Hirsch, director of the program on environmental and nuclear policy at UCSC, told the Christian Science Monitor. (ref)
With Westinghouse's reactor design off the table, nuclear supporters have pinned their hopes on next-generation technologies such as small modular reactors (SMRs). But we're a long way from there. DOE's website states that "demonstrating the viability of SMRs will require overcoming many technical, regulatory, financial and institutional challenges". (ref)
View Small Modular Reactors Fact Sheet, By Arjun Makhijani and Michele Boyd:
No Solution For The Cost, Safety, And Waste Problems Of Nuclear Power
"Nuclear energy is, simply, in a rapidly accelerating crisis"
- Only 2 of Japan's 42 commercial reactors are back online since the Fukushima meltdowns following the earthquake and tidal wave of 2011.
- Four global nuclear industry giants- French utilities Électricité de France (EDF) and Areva, US-based Westinghouse and Japanese conglomerate Toshiba- face crippling debts and possible bankruptcy because of their investments in nuclear power. (ref)
"With the French nuclear industry crippled and Toshiba-Westinghouse out of the nuclear construction business, the West is effectively ceding the future of nuclear energy to China, Korea and Russia." (ref)
Meltdowns may be rare, but when they do happen, the disaster lasts forever.
Six years ago several reactors at the Fukushima plant in Japan experienced meltdowns following an earthquake and tidal waves. And six years on, thousands of gallons of radioactive water still flow out into the sea every day. Humans can't get close enough to the reactor cores to see what exactly is happening, even robots are quickly fried by the high levels of radiation.
- April 26: "Experts: Japan 'wants to just drop tanks' of Fukushima nuclear waste into ocean. Americans worried over plumes hitting West Coast. Fukushima Radiation Alert: Concern 'nuclear chain reaction' could occur at plant; Reactors are still melting down and spewing radioactivity; Fuel has burned through containment..." (ref) See also: Dying robots and failing hope...

new tomb for Chernobyl 31 years ago this last week the nuclear reactor at Chernobyl exploded, releasing 400 times more radiation than the Hiroshima bomb. Recently, the concrete 'sarcophagus' built in the following years was about to crumble and collapse, which would have released a huge cloud of radiation again. An international effort is now completing a new dome (at a cost of $1.5 billion) which will cover the still highly toxic site. That these workers have had to execute at a distance of no less than 300 yards from the now 31 year old disaster site is testament to the difficulty of dealing with the long-lived hazards of the nuclear enterprise. Here is a new NOVA documentary on the construction of this latest tomb for Chernobyl: NOVA: "Building Chernobyl's MegaTomb". See also the Fukushima file and the Chernobyl at 30 file.
Nuclear energy is not clean energy.
But even the proper and successful running of nuclear reactors has produced a vast and dangerous buildup of radioactive spent fuel, most of which is stored above ground in water filled tanks. The Union of Concerned Scientists' latest report sounds the alarm on this: "The US currently has some 79,000 tonnes of spent fuel in at least 76 power-station cooling ponds and secure dry stores across the country. Another 2000 tonnes are added each year. The stores contain an estimated 444,000 petabecquerels of radioactivity, which is some 50 times more than released from all atmospheric nuclear weapons tests."
"US spent fuel pools are densely packed and at severe risk of a fuel fire in the event of an earthquake or terrorist attack that drained cooling water from the pools," says UCS's Edwin Lyman of the in Washington DC. (ref) and (ref)
And of course, all the industrialized countries are scrambling to find ways to dispose of the lethal byproduct of the supposed clean energy produced by nuclear power- for example:
- Brussels plans to saddle UK with EU nuclear waste
- Photos reveal covert op moving highly dangerous nuclear waste through Scotland at night
- Canadian government delays approval of nuclear waste dump on Lake Huron
- Battle to stop nuclear waste being buried in a French village
- Where to put all Japan's radioactive waste is now the burning issue
- Nuclear Waste Disposal Disaster in Germany
- Kitty Litter, Ocean Burial, Shooting It at the Sun, The Worst Ways to Stash Nuclear Waste

While the costs of nuclear power keep rising, green energy gets cheaper every year.
So why are we still subsidizing nuclear?

Green energy is now at price parity or cheaper than carbon fuels, and is far cheaper than nuclear with none of the lethal byproduct. And yet some states are subsidizing nuclear power and slow-walking alternative energies, precisely the opposite of what should be happening:
- Lifeline for Nuclear Plants Is Threatening Wind and Solar Power
- Paying Nuclear Losers for 'Clean' Power Upends U.S. Markets

nuclear  waste- weapons production
From left: Hanford in Washington, Rocky Flats in Colorado, Los Alamos Area G in New Mexico
Then there's the waste from nuclear weapons production
Billions of dollars are spent every year in the effort to clean up the nuclear waste produced so profligately during the headlong rush to build tens of thousands of nuclear weapons during the cold war.
- One site, the Hanford site in Washington State, is considered to be "the most toxic place in America".
- The Rocky Flats site in Colorado was shut down by an FBI raid in June of 1989 due to radioactive pollution spread in the Denver region. (ref) Billions were spent in a cleanup effort ending in 2005, but doubts remain. (ref)
- At Los Alamos Lab here in New Mexico barrels of nuclear weapons production waste are still piled outdoors, awaiting shipment to the WIPP storage site in Carlsbad, New Mexico. WIPP has just partially re-opened after a several year long closure following the explosion of a barrel of waste from LANL, one of many packed with the wrong kind of kitty litter.
- Santa Fe New Mexican, April 23: LANL's Area G at center of nuclear cleanup effort
- See our page on the Nukewatch lawsuit regarding LANL cleanup.
- See our LANL Area G file

    Archived Items

*** Urgent Funding Appeal ***
Friends, We need your financial support to bridge a funding gap so that we can work without interruption. Of particular concern, there is a serious proposal for "interim" storage in New Mexico of 70,000 tons of highly radioactive spent nuclear fuel, plus some 30,000 future tons.
And on July 20 we will be filing a lawsuit with the Oak Ridge Environmental and Peace Alliance against a new nuclear bomb plant called the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) near Oak Ridge, TN. The UPF is the 'tip of the spear' for the planned trillion dollar makeover of the US arsenal and supporting nuclear weapons complex, with new bomb-making plants expected to be operational until ~2080.
And by the way, NukeWatch provided much of the factual basis for CPI's landmark articles which are largely based on the Department of Energy's contractor Performance Evaluation Reports. Those reports are publicly available only because Nuclear Watch successfully sued for them in 2012.
Our Land of Enchantment is targeted by multiple nuclear threats (see our Nuclear New Mexico map). But we can continue to be effective only with your help, which we need more than ever. Please consider making a tax-deductible contribution now. Thank you!
Please donate generously  to support our work!

NukeWatch gets a Santa Fe Mayor's Award
In addition to our work toward limiting and ultimately eliminating nuclear weapons, NukeWatch also works to protect Northern New Mexico aquifers from the radioactive wastes dumped over the last 70 years of atomic bomb production at Los Alamos Lab. NukeWatch gets a Santa Fe Mayor's Award
This week, Nukewatch was given the Santa Fe Mayor's Sustainability Award in the category of Environment for that work. (more)

Above: Scott Kovac, Jay Coghlan, Mayor Javier Gonzales

June 11, 2017:
A Defining Moment:
Stopping The Next Nuclear Bomb Plant

"The Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance and Nuclear Watch New Mexico invite you to be part of history- we are filing a legal challenge to the Uranium Processing Facility (UPF) nuclear bomb plant the government wants to build in Oak Ridge, TN. Your part- help fund the lawsuit. You can find out more and contribute to the legal fund at" Donate here to help us stop the new Uranium plant!
Alert! Matching donation... OREPA has a donor that will match your donation, doubling your impact!

July 21:
Help Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium
TBDC needs your help to send steering committee members to the next Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. Learn more and donate here

Cleanup Lawsuit: NukeWatch v. DOE, LANS
Nukewatch lawsuit
See all docs related to the ongoing Nuclear Watch lawsuit against DOE and LANS (the corporate manager of Los Alamos Lab), over multiple missed deadlines and failures to execute cleanup of radioactive wastes at the Los Alamos site: Cleanup Lawsuit.

Critical Events

Public Comment period closed on July 7
Defense Nuclear Safety Board review: Understanding the Safety Posture of the Plutonium Facility at Los Alamos National Lab.
See archived video of public hearing June 7, 2017
See Nuclear Watch New Mexico's submitted remarks here.

ANA 2017 Report-Accountability Audit
ANA Report 2017: Accountability Audit
This year's report examines the extraordinary spending at Department of Energy nuclear facilities and examines ways to reduce risks and save billions of dollars across the U.S. nuclear weapons complex. (View/download PDF)

Newsletters and Calendars

- The Bulletin's Nuclear Roundup
Daily nuclear news; subscribe or view online. Very good selection.
- Ploughshares' Early Warning
"Daily news on the issues we're following from the desk of Joe Cirincione." Subscribe or view online.
- Nuclear Policy News (CSIS)
Subscribe or view online. Very good selection. Note that CSIS's top ten corporate donors include Lockheed Martin, Northrup-Grumman, Boeing, General Dynamics and Leonardo-Finmeccanica.
- Nuclear Calendar FCNL
Extensive email listing of all nuclear-related events, from the Friends Committee on National Legislation. Subscribe or view online.
- National Security Legislative Calendar
From the Council for a Livable World. (ref)
- NucNews
Very extensive daily dump of nuclear-related news items; unfortunately hard on the eyes and often redundant, but again, extensive.

FAS Nuclear Notebooks

  - US nuclear forces 2017
  - Russian nuclear forces 2017
  - Indian nuclear forces 2017
  - Chinese nuclear forces 2016
  - Pakistan Nuclear forces 2016
  - more

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2016 ANA Report: The Trillion Dollar Trainwreck
Alliance For Nuclear Accountability 2016 Report
Out-of-control U.S. nuclear weapons programs accelerate spending, proliferation, health and safety risks: The Trillion Dollar Trainwreck (PDF)

Twitter Feeds


Nuclear News

New nuclear 'pit' production at LANL is unnecessary

Cyberwar looms as diplomats dither and aggressive cyber operations are pursued without restraint

Senate Appropriations Committee approved funding increases for WIPP, nuke weapons work and waste cleanup at NM Labs

Opposing nuclear weapons, young and old find common ground

Activists cut fences, occupy nuclear weapons bunker in protest of U.S. nukes in Germany

With New D.C. Policy Group, Dems Continue to Rehabilitate and Unify With Bush-Era Neocons

The U.N. just passed a treaty outlawing nuclear weapons. That actually matters.

How Can We Ensure Survival in a New Era of Nuclear Brinkmanship?

The US-Russian teamwork that kept nuclear weapons safe

Dr. Strangelove and the Los Alamos Nuclear Fiasco

Los Alamos disciplines employees for lapses

After the nuclear weapons ban treaty: A new disarmament politics

Germany starts to withdraw troops from Turkish Incirlik base

UN Adopts New Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons

About the treaty to prohibit nuclear weapons

Ban Treaty goes to translation despite disagreement over withdrawal clause

North Korea Isn't the Only Rogue Nuclear State- Nuclear weapons are about to be made illegal worldwide, but good luck hearing about it at home

European Nuclear Weapons Program Would Be Legal, German Review Finds

US nuclear base inspection results made secret to conceal failures, critics claim

If a nuclear bomb goes off, this is the most important thing you can do to survive

Air Force B-2 to Get New Digital Nuclear Weapons & Air-Ground Missiles

Cancel the Long-Range Standoff Missile

North Korea Finally Tests an ICBM

A Cyberattack 'the World Isn't Ready For'

Sam Nunn on Russia: 'We Have a Choice Between Cooperation or Catastrophe'

Rising Nuclear Dangers: Steps to Reduce Risks in the Euro-Atlantic

Nuclear Facilities Face Urgent, Evolving Cyber Threat

How to Deal With North Korea

Women and the Ban the Bomb Movement

NNSA FY 2018 Budget- The Case of the Missing Numbers

Label on LANL chemical waste drum inaccurate, Denver lab learns- potentially volatile, dangerous

Will production of nuclear 'pits' leave LANL?

Earlier press items here

July 4 DPRK Missile Test
North Korea continues it's rapid pace of advances. The Hwasong-14, launched on July 4, could reach Alaska and Hawaii. More on our Flashpoints:DPRK page.

Where will the Trump Administration Take US Nuclear Weapons Policies?
President Trump and Nuclear Weapons President Trump has called for a new Nuclear Policy Review to be delivered later this year. The last NPR was done in 2010. (read on at our dossier on the developing Trump admin nuclear policies)

Current nuclear stockpiles
For country reports and other details see original annotated infographic at

World Nuclear Arsenals

timeline of nuclear close calls

Accidental nuclear war- think it can't happen?
It almost did, quite a few times. See this timeline of nuclear close calls, presented by The Future of Life Institute.

Erdogan slandering and bullying NATO allies
Erdogan bullies, slanders, threatens NATO Allies
Erdogan has recently called his NATO allies 'Nazi fascists', 'banana republics', and 'mass murderers', who need to learn 'how to behave', as if these nations were his vassal states. (ref) And the situation only gets worse: Erdogan has just banned German parliamentarians from visiting their troops at the NATO base. Turkey is no longer a safe place to park our NATO nukes.
May 23, 2017: Ploughshares president Joe Cirincione calls for the removal of our 50 nuclear weapons from Incirlik. More: see our Incirlik dossier
July 9: Germany starts to withdraw troops from Turkish Incirlik base

Putin, exasperated

In Europe and Russia, There's Talk of War
-Jill Dogherty, Wilson Center (ref)
See our report: Nuclear Flashpoints: NATO-Russia

What Putin Wants
Alexei Arbatov details the basis for an understanding between the US and Russia from Putin's perspective; this event organized and hosted by the Graduate Initiative in Russian Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies on May 13, 2016.
See our report: Nuclear Flashpoints: NATO-Russia

Judgement Day

Radioactive Quotes

"The probability of global catastrophe is very high, and the actions needed to reduce the risks of disaster must be taken very soon. Wise public officials should act immediately, guiding humanity away from the brink. If they do not, wise citizens must step forward and lead the way."
- Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

"Nuclear war is more likely than one may hope, because it can start by mistake, miscalculation or terrorist provocation. There is a steady stream of accidents and false alarms that could trigger all-out war, and relying on never-ending luck is not a sustainable strategy." - from the 'Open Letter from Scientists in Support of the UN Nuclear Weapons Ban Negotiations'. See the full letter, signers to date, and sign-on form: Future of Humanity

Nukes- write'em off!
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General Lee Butler on Nuclear Weapons "It is a measure of arrogance to assert that a nuclear weapons-free world is impossible when 95% of the nations of the world are already nuclear-free. I think that the vast majority of people on the face of this earth will endorse the proposition that nuclear weapons have no place among us. There is no security in nuclear weapons. It is a fool's game." -Gen. Lee Butler (Ret.), former Commander in Chief, U.S. Strategic Command

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.

Nuclear Watch New Mexico is supported by the Ploughshares Fund: Investing in Peace and Security Worldwide, the Windfall Foundation, Santa Fe Community Foundation Donor Advised Grants, the New Mexico Community Foundation, the New-Land Foundation, and by generous donors like you. Thank You!

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