Nuclear Watch New Mexico

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.

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

LANL FY 2021 Budget Request – VIEW

Sandia FY 2021 Budget Request – VIEW

Pantex Plant FY 2021 Budget Chart – VIEW

KCP FY 2021 Budget Chart – VIEW

Livermore Lab FY 2021 Budget Chart – Courtesy Tri-Valley CAREs – VIEW

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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 Watch Interactive Map – U.S. Nuclear Weapons Complex

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

Recent Posts

Anti-nuclear protests at Kings Bay

“Our mission is to stop the arms race…it’s a security risk and phenomenally expensive. This has become a business model and it’s deadly.” – Glenn Carroll, coordinator of Nuclear Watch South

thebrunswicknews.com

Anti-nuclear protesters hold signs near the entrance to Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay on the 75th anniversary of the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Gordon Jackson/The Brunswick News

ST. MARYS / Organizers of an annual protest against nuclear weapons at Naval Submarine Base Kings Bay expected a large crowd to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the first atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, to help hasten the end of World War II.

Five people ended up standing outside a base gate Thursday holding signs with anti-nuclear weapons messages.

Glenn Carroll, coordinator of Nuclear Watch South, said the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic compelled many who were planning to attend to stay home for health concerns. But Carroll said her trip from Atlanta to join others with concerns about nuclear weapons Thursday was worth the time.

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How New Tech Raises the Risk of Nuclear War

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some experts believe the risk of the use of a nuclear weapon is as high now as it has been since the Cuban missile crisis.

BY: BRYAN WELSH | axios.com

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The big picture: Nuclear war remains the single greatest present threat to humanity — and one that is poised to grow as emerging technologies, like much faster missiles, cyber warfare and artificial intelligence, upset an already precarious nuclear balance.

What’s happening: A mix of shifting geopolitical tensions and technological change is upsetting a decades-long state of strategic stability around nuclear weapons.

  • Strategic stability is when no country has an incentive to launch a first nuclear strike, knowing that doing so would inevitably lead to a catastrophic response. It’s the “mutual” in “mutually assured destruction.”
  • Arms control deals like the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty are collapsing, while faster hypersonic missiles are shrinking the already brief minutes available to decide how and whether to respond to a potential nuclear attack, meaning “the possibilities of a miscalculation are unfortunately higher than they have been in a long, long time,” says former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz.
  • As concerning as rising tensions are between the U.S. and Russia, or between the U.S. and a more assertive China, experts worry even more about the destabilizing effect of emerging technologies like cyber warfare and AI.
  • “The black box of AI in the future of war makes it almost inherently unpredictable,” says P.W. Singer, a strategist at New America and author of “Burn-In” — and unpredictability is anathema to a nuclear balance held in place by predictability.

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75 years after Hiroshima, should U.S. president have authority to launch nuclear attack?

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima, Japan. Seventy-five years later, [PBS] NewsHour revisits how the president became the sole authority on when nuclear weapons are used. Nick Schifrin reports and talks to former Secretary of Defense William Perry, co-author of “The Button: The New Nuclear Arms Race and Presidential Power from Truman to Trump.”

BY: Nick Schifrin | pbs.org

Judy Woodruff:

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima, Japan. In the coming days, we will examine this 75th anniversary, the bomb’s immediate aftermath and its lasting legacy. Today, Nick Schifrin looks at the president’s sole authority to launch such a weapon and how that authority came to be.

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The 75th Anniversary of Hiroshima and Nagasaki: A Renewed Call for Our Day

“A world of peace, free from nuclear weapons, is the aspiration of millions … ” — Pope Francis, Address at Atomic Bomb Hypocenter Park (Nagasaki), November 24, 2019.

PEOPLE OF GOD – Santa Fe Archdiocese, August 2020

PRAY

Pray with your community for the causes of peace and nuclear disarmament to be made a reality.

LEARN

Learn about what the Church teaches regarding nuclear weapons.

ACT

Put what your faith into action by raising your voice to support nuclear disarmament.

 JOIN OUR COMMEMORATION EVENT AUGUST 6

On 75th Anniversary of Japan Nuclear Bombings, Sierra Club Continues Calls for Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

Today, the Sierra Club rises with the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings in continuing our call for an elimination of all nuclear weapons worldwide. The creation and storage of nuclear weapons is inherently risky, and accidents, testing, and use of nuclear weapons are recklessly and unnecessarily dangerous for communities — particularly low income and communities of color — and our environment. 
“The Sierra Club calls on Congress to resist the current renewal of the nuclear arms race and to ban the use of nuclear weapons.”

cindy.carr@sierraclub.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. — To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the WW II nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Sierra Club has joined with the Hibakusha Survivors in calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons globally. Since 1945, nearly 100,000 nuclear weapons have been manufactured, costing trillions of dollars and destroying communities and the environment through the mining, refining, and weaponizing of uranium.

The Sierra Club opposes the creation and testing of nuclear weapons and supports the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW).

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Urgency to bear witness grows for last Hiroshima victims

“We must work harder to get our voices heard, not just mine but those of many other survivors,” Lee [ Jong-keun] said in an interview Tuesday at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. “A nuclear weapons ban is the starting point for peace.”

| santafenewmexican.com

HIROSHIMA, Japan

For nearly 70 years, until he turned 85, Lee Jong-keun hid his past as an atomic bomb survivor, fearful of the widespread discrimination against blast victims that has long persisted in Japan.

But Lee, 92, is now part of a fast-dwindling group of survivors, known as hibakusha, that feels a growing urgency — desperation even — to tell their stories. These last witnesses to what happened 75 years ago Thursday want to reach a younger generation that they feel is losing sight of the horror.

The knowledge of their dwindling time — the average age of the survivors is more than 83 and many suffer from the long-lasting effects of radiation — is coupled with deep frustration over stalled progress in global efforts to ban nuclear weapons. According to a recent Asahi newspaper survey of 768 survivors, nearly two-thirds said their wish for a nuclear-free world is not widely shared by the rest of humanity, and more than 70 percent called on a reluctant Japanese government to ratify a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

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Atomic-bomb survivors seek new ways to keep their memories alive

Around the world, non-proliferation efforts are faltering

THEECONOMIST.COM

For seventeen year-old Takeoka Chisako, August 6th, 1945 was supposed to be a day off. She had planned to meet two girlfriends at 8:15 that morning, at a train station on the west side of Hiroshima. She was running late, and as she stepped outside her house she lifted a pocket mirror to her face. Then she saw a flash and heard a bang. When she regained consciousness she found herself lying in a potato field 30 metres away, a mushroom cloud rising in the sky. People with charred skin dangling from their arms came rushing over a nearby hillside. They cried for help, but were too feeble to speak their names and too weak to drink the water Ms Takeoka brought them. “Then one by one, they died,” says Higashino Mariko, Ms Takeoka’s daughter.

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Hiroshima after 75 years: Walking the path of the atomic bomb

74-year-old [Kosei Mito] turns to a page in one of his binders with a large quote Pope John Paul II made during a visit to Hiroshima in 1981, one that’s inscribed on a memorial inside the Hiroshima Peace Museum.
“To remember the past is to commit oneself to the future.”

BRAD LENDON | CNN.COM

Tinian, Northern Mariana Islands (CNN) — It’s a discolored concrete slab, molding in the tropical humidity. But on this slab, not much bigger than the footprint of a beach cabin, history changed. What was once a doorway is obvious, as are the bases for a couple interior walls and an opening for a larger garage-like entrance. I walk through the doorway, through the interior and out the garage. As I do, my guide puts these few steps in extraordinary perspective.
“You’re walking the path of the atomic bomb.”
This slab is where the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki 75 years ago were put together. It’s the assembly point for the dawning of the atomic age. Now it sits, essentially ignored, on the Pacific island of Tinian, from where the US Army Air Force B-29 bombers that performed those atomic strikes on Japan departed.

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Unlike the pandemic, nuclear war can be stopped before it begins

Seventy-five years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the anti-nuclear movement is taking big steps toward abolition.

BY: MARINA MARTINEZ | wagingnonviolence.org

Nuclear weapons have been posing a threat to humanity for 75 years — ever since the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945.

These days, our focus is understandably on the COVID-19 virus and the threat it poses to human life. But as we commemorate the anniversary of these bombings, it is important to acknowledge that unlike the coronavirus, nuclear weapons can only be remediated with prevention. Millions of people could be killed if a single nuclear bomb were detonated over a large city, and the added threats of radiation and retaliation could endanger all life on Earth.

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U.S. LAUNCHES MINUTEMAN III MISSILE TEST LESS THAN 48 HOURS BEFORE 75TH ANNIVERSARY OF HIROSHIMA ATOMIC BOMBING

“The unnecessarily provocative test by the U.S. today is an important reminder that the nuclear threat remains very real, and that there are people in this country – along with a few other countries – who are willing to sacrifice us all in a battle that can never be won and must never be fought.”

For Immediate Release Contact: Sandy Jones (805) 965-3443; sjones@napf.org
Rick Wayman (805) 696-5159; rwayman@napf.org  ragingpeace.org

Santa Barbara, CA – The U.S. Air Force launched an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile Tuesday morning, August 4, at 12:21 a.m. PDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The missile traveled over 4,200 miles to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

While Air Force Global Strike Command asserts that missile tests are scheduled years in advance, it is difficult to ignore the timing of this test – less than 48 hours before the 75th anniversary of the U.S. atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

Rick Wayman, CEO of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, a non-profit based in Santa Barbara committed to solving the most dangerous technological, social, and psychological issues of our time, including the abolition of nuclear weapons, commented on the missile test. He said, “This week, the majority of the world is solemnly remembering the 75th anniversaries of the U.S. atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and vowing that such a thing will never happen again. Hundreds of thousands of our fellow human beings were indiscriminately slaughtered by two primitive U.S. atomic bombs in August 1945. The weapon that was tested this morning is designed for far greater damage.”

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New & Updated

NNSA Head Props Up Nuclear Weapons Modernization…Again

In her September 17, 2020 testimony before before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, restated the ongoing company line that more money must be spent on the US nuclear weapons stockpile, or the whole enterprise might fall over.

She stated, “The need to now modernize our nuclear weapons stockpile and recapitalize the supporting infrastructure needed to produce and maintain that stockpile has reached a tipping point.”

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Ambassador: Time is right for new arms control agreement

“Billions of dollars are being funneled toward work to replace aging plutonium cores in the arsenal and projects managed by the National Nuclear Security Administration at Los Alamos and Sandia national labs in New Mexico and other federal sites tied to the nuclear program.
Much of the infrastructure across the complex is decades old. NNSA Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who also visited last week, said work has been deferred in some cases for as many as 30 years.”

BY: The Associated Press, SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN | apnews.com

Time is right for new arms control agreement

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Trump administration has sketched out a framework that it hopes will avoid a three-way arms race as a deadline nears for extending the only remaining nuclear arms control deal with Russia and as China looks to expand its nuclear forces.

Ambassador Marshall Billingslea, the special presidential envoy for arms control, spoke with The Associated Press about negotiations with Russia while touring some of the top nuclear research labs and production sites in the United States.

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Arizona’s ‘downwinders,’ exposed to Cold War nuclear testing, fight for compensation

“It’s a travesty, and the government should not be allowed to get away with it,” one Mohave County, Arizona, resident said.

BY: ANITA HASSAN | nbcnews.com

Arizona's 'downwinders' exposed to Cold War nuclear testing fight for compensation
Eddie Pattillo, 81, a retired construction manager pictured at his home in Kingman, Ariz., has had cancer twice since 1997. CREDIT: Joe Buglewicz / for NBC News

KINGMAN, Ariz. — Danielle Stephens ran her fingers down a long list of her relatives’ names and sighed.

All of them had been diagnosed with cancer. Most of them had died, many before they were 55.

Like Stephens, 81, they had all spent their lives in Kingman, Arizona, where during the Cold War they often watched the early morning sky lit up by orange flashes from atomic bombs detonated at a government testing site in the Nevada desert less than 150 miles north of the city.

“Back then, no one thought the tests were dangerous,” said Stephens, who ran a cattle ranch with her husband.

The list of her family members with cancer grew to 32 in July, when she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. It is the radiation exposure from those nuclear tests that Stephens believes caused her cancer and that of her family members and scores of others who lived in lower Mohave County in the 1950s and ’60s. Her relatives had breast, colon, thyroid and kidney cancer, all of which have been linked to radioactive fallout.

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Georgia: At crucial crossroads, nuclear plant must be stopped

“In 2001, 30 new reactors were ordered in the U.S., but the so-called “nuclear renaissance” rapidly fizzled leaving only Georgia Power and Vogtle. Meanwhile, renewable energy, in particular solar power, has become abundant and cheap, and solar and wind have been the fastest-growing energy sector for the past several years.”

BY: GLENN CARROLL | augustachronicle.com

Plant Vogtle. Photo courtesy of High Flyer 2019.

In 1977, a small group of thoughtful, committed Georgians started a grassroots anti-nuclear group to oppose nuclear power, nuclear weapons and radioactive waste and to promote alternative visions for renewable energy and world peace.

At the same time, Georgia Power was resuming construction of Vogtle 1 and 2, having nearly gone bankrupt three years earlier while attempting to build a four-reactor nuclear compound with a budget of $1 billion.

Only 10 weeks after breaking ground, incredibly, Vogtle construction ground to a halt with Georgia Power on the brink of bankruptcy. Georgia Power was saved by two emergency rate hikes thanks to the Georgia Public Service Commission and by selling shares of its hole-in-the-ground Vogtle to most of Georgia’s rural electric cooperatives and municipal power systems.

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How to Talk About Nuclear Weapons

Why getting people to care about nuclear policy matters.

BY: ZACK BROWN | nationalinterest.org

How to Talk About Nuclear Weapons

It’s a truism of the nuclear field that arms control advocates don’t always win the war of words with their opponents, said Lynn Fahselt, co-founder and executive director of the communications organization ReThink Media.KINGMAN, Ariz. — Danielle Stephens ran her fingers down a long list of her relatives’ names and sighed.

“The first media audit we did showed that, on the opinion pages, we were being beat three to one,” she said in an interview with the podcast, Press The Button. “For every one argument we made for arms control and disarmament, our opposition was making two and calling ours naive.”

At first glance, this editorial record might seem like a minor datapoint in the grand scheme of nuclear politics. But in a fast-moving democracy whose attention span is only as long as the shortest news cycle, wins in the court of public opinion—even small ones—can affect government policy in real ways.

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Environment Secretary Says LANL Tritium Venting Project Puts New Mexico In Bad Situation

“Under the Triad contract, one of their performance requirements for this fiscal year is to vent five more containers that are larger, that contain more tritium, by Sept. 30. So we feel like they’re trying to get permission to vent these four containers on Friday so that they can vent the other five before the end of the fiscal year so that they can get their bonus…This is a pattern in practice by DOE – to do things in order to get the bonuses for their contractors.” – Joni Arends, executive director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety 

BY: | losalamosreporter.com

The planned venting of tritium from four Flanged Tritium Waste Containers at Los Alamos National Laboratory on or after Friday, Sept. 11 has placed the state of New Mexico in a bad situation, New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Sec. James Kenney told the Legislature’s Committee on Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Wednesday.

The Los Alamos Reporter previously published two stories on the venting project:

https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/03/23/lanl-to-conduct-tritium-venting-operation-beginning-in-april/
https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/04/03/lanl-tritium-ventilation-project-on-hold-due-to-covid-19-scope-of-work-amended-to-include-possible-secondary-venting/

“These containers have been neglected for so long by both DOE and the Environment Department. We’re in this position, which is do they vent those tritium drums, collect that emission to prevent it from being in the air and then move those drums offsite, or do we run the risk of leaving those drums onsite knowing that they are pressurized and could rupture meaning an uncontrolled amount of tritium would go out,” Kenney said. “I do not like the position our Department is in. I think this goes towards the fact that DOE did not do something sooner and it goes to the fact that our Department has been so underfunded that we don’t have the staff to go and hold people accountable to do those things in a timely manner, so we are in a very bad position.”

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State Lawmakers: Tougher Tactics Needed to Speed Los Alamos Waste Cleanup

“The state must put teeth back into the consent order, its main source of leverage. I would like to see us rip up the [2016] consent order and become a tougher negotiator for New Mexico,”
– State Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, said the state is losing ground on cleanup because an agreement between the state and the Department of Energy was weakened four years ago, and now more waste will be generated with pit production.

BY: | santafenewmexican.com

The pace of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s legacy waste cleanup drew sharp criticism Wednesday from two state lawmakers who argued regulators should toughen oversight and consider suing federal agencies to spur quicker action.

The lab has made five shipments of higher-level nuclear waste this year to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad and hopes to move that number to 30 per year, with the aim of removing all of the lab’s legacy waste by 2027.

A U.S. Department of Energy official presented the figures to the state Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee on Wednesday.

“So we’re looking to greatly increase the rate of shipment,” said Steve Hoffman, who oversees the agency’s environmental management field office in Los Alamos.

But state Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, called that volume far too low, especially when compared to Idaho sending 100 to 150 waste shipments to WIPP each year.

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New Mexico Frustrated With Slow Cleanup of Radioactive Waste

“We’re seeing more and more that we’re trending towards an impasse on the movement of legacy contamination from Los Alamos…If that’s our only option, then that’s an option we’re going to explore and we’re going to need to figure out how to do that in a way that yields a better result for New Mexico. Because right now we’re at the bottom of the list and that’s unacceptable.” – New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney

BY: The Associated Press, SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN | krqe.com

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — There’s growing frustration among New Mexico lawmakers and environmental regulators about the U.S. government’s slow pace in cleaning up contamination from decades of nuclear research and bomb-making at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The officials shared their concerns during a legislative meeting Wednesday, saying New Mexico is taking a backseat to other states and that legal action might be their only leverage against the U.S. Energy Department as it sets priorities for the nation’s multibillion-dollar cleanup program for Cold War-era waste.

Since January, only five shipments of waste have been sent from Los Alamos to the government’s underground repository in southern New Mexico. Meanwhile, the Idaho National Laboratory is sending two to three shipments a week, or more than three times the goal environmental managers at Los Alamos have set for the coming year.

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Russia warns it will see any incoming missile as nuclear

“The policy document offered a detailed description of situations that could trigger the use of nuclear weapons, including the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies.”

BY: The Associated Press, VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV | apnews.com

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will perceive any ballistic missile launched at its territory as a nuclear attack that warrants a nuclear retaliation, the military warned in an article published Friday.

The harsh warning in the official military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) is directed at the United States, which has worked to develop long-range non-nuclear weapons.

The article follows the publication in June of Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy that envisages the use of atomic weapons in response to what could be a conventional strike targeting the nation’s critical government and military infrastructure.

In the Krasnaya Zvezda article, senior officers of the Russian military’s General Staff, Maj.-Gen. Andrei Sterlin and Col. Alexander Khryapin, noted that there will be no way to determine if an incoming ballistic missile is fitted with a nuclear or a conventional warhead, and so the military will see it as a nuclear attack.

“Any attacking missile will be perceived as carrying a nuclear warhead,” the article said. “The information about the missile launch will be automatically relayed to the Russian military-political leadership, which will determine the scope of retaliatory action by nuclear forces depending on the evolving situation.”

The argument reflects Russia’s longtime concerns about the development of weapons that could give Washington the capability to knock out key military assets and government facilities without resorting to atomic weapons.

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Groups raise concerns about new shaft at WIPP

“The Southwest Research and Information Center is among those opposing the project. The group filed legal challenges, saying environmental officials ignored existing regulations, past agency practices and case law when giving temporary approval for contractors to begin working.”

BY SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN | santafenewmexican.com

ALBUQUERQUE — Crews working at the U.S. government’s underground nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico are starting a new phase of a contentious project to dig a utility shaft that officials say will increase ventilation at the site where workers entomb the radioactive remnants of decades of bomb-making.

Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad said this week the $75 million project is a top priority and that work will be done around the clock five days a week, with an additional shift on Saturdays. The shaft will eventually span more than four-tenths of a mile and connect to an underground system of passageways.

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Surprising numbers in UNM report on lab’s impact

“BBER’s (UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research) director Jeffrey Mitchell said in an email to a Regional Coalition official that the county financial figures show “there are some winners and some losers. I suspect that LANL was less interested in presenting that.”

BY JOURNAL NORTH EDITORIAL BOARD | abqjournal.com

Surprising numbers in UNM report on lab’s impact
A recent UNM study calculates the local government cost of providing basic services to employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory, such as these working in the lab’s plutonium facility, versus local tax revenue paid by lab workers and on LANL procurements. (Courtesy of the National Nuclear Security Administration/LANL)

A recent study by the University of New Mexico’s respected economic studies office details the huge economic impact of Los Alamos National Laboratory on New Mexico.

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Former employees, families sue companies working on Piketon-area nuclear plant

Former employees, families sue companies working on Piketon-area nuclear plant

“The lawsuit, filed last week, alleges workers and their families became ill due to the actions of U.S. Department of Energy contractors. The suit seeks a medical monitoring program to evaluate the multi-generational impact of radioactive contamination.”

Columbus, OH | Columbus Dispatch newsbreak.com

A lawsuit filed on behalf of former nuclear employees and their families accuses U.S. Department of Energy contractors of “poisoning workers and the people, land, air and water for miles” around the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant that was in southern Ohio.

The actions of DOE’s contractors released radioactive isotopes that “have created a situation akin to a creeping Chernobyl” and resulted in “injuries, sickness, disease, including cancers, damage to DNA, death, loss of and damages to property, and reduction in property values,” according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

The contamination likely spread in Pike, Scioto, Lawrence, Vinton and Adams counties in Ohio, according to the lawsuit.

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NNSA Slams Door Shut on Public Accountability While Ramming Through Expanded Plutonium “Pit” Bomb Core Production

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that it will NOT prepare a new site-wide environmental impact statement for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (1).  With this decision NNSA is slamming the door shut on public accountability while it rams through expanded plutonium “pit” bomb core production at the Lab.  NNSA is relying upon outdated studies from 2008 to justify pit production. Since that time the agency has wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars, another catastrophic wildfire threatened the Lab, serious deep groundwater contamination was discovered and LANL has had chronic nuclear safety incidences with plutonium that it can’t seem to fix.
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Study: Cancer cases likely in those exposed to atomic test

“’The nuclear detonation exposed residents of New Mexico to varying levels of radiation from radioactive fallout, depending, in part, on where they lived in the state, how much time they spent inside protective structures in the immediate months after the test, and how much radiation entered their bodies through contaminated food and water,’ a summary of the research states.”

Trinity Test - Alamogordo, NM - July 16, 1945. The early fireball at 62 milliseconds
Trinity Test – Alamogordo, NM – July 16, 1945

BY: | apnews.com

 

 

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — After years of study, the National Cancer Institute said Tuesday that some people probably got cancer from the radioactive fallout that wafted across New Mexico after the U.S. government detonated the first atomic bomb in 1945. However, the exact number is unknown.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Up to 1,000 Downwinders Likely Got Cancer From First Atomic Test, Study Says

As many as 1,000 New Mexicans living in communities near Trinity Site, where the first atomic bomb was detonated 75 years ago, might have developed cancer from the radioactive fallout, says a long-awaited Cancer Institute report released Tuesday.

BY: SCOTT WYLAND | santafenewmexican.com

Up to 1,000 Downwinders Likely Got Cancer From First Atomic Test, Study Says
Rosalie Cordova joins more than two dozen protesters along U.S. 380, just outside the White Sands Missile Range, in this 2011 photo. Cordova lost her husband and her sister to cancers that she believes were caused by radiation. Natalie Guillén/New Mexican file photo

The institute’s findings were based on a six-year study that involved computer modeling, researching historical data and interviewing 210 elderly “downwinders” who lived close enough to the blast to suffer internal radiation exposure by ingesting contaminated milk and food.

The number of cancer victims could be less than 1,000 but is unlikely to be more, the study says.

There’s also no clear evidence the radiation was severe enough to cause genetic abnormalities that could be passed by birth to subsequent generations, the study says.

The study’s authors concede there’s much uncertainty in the report because so many years have passed since the test, the government didn’t conduct public studies of the test’s potential impacts on communities — due to the Manhattan Project’s secrecy — and cancer cases weren’t tracked nationally until the 1960s.

The report comes after decades of criticism from downwinder advocates, who have accused the federal government of refusing to acknowledge affected residents to avoid liability.

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

Critical Events

TONIGHT! Join Us Online to Comment on the Holtec and Waste Control Specialists/ISP proposed NUCLEAR DUMPS in NM & TX – and the Dangerous Nuclear Transport Through the Whole Country to Get There!


Join Texans–SEED Coalition and 15 other sponsoring groups on Thursday evening Sept 17th at 7 Central time for a ZOOM 
comment letter writing party–bring your own drinks, snacks and computer or tablet or phone to send comments to the 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission on both the Holtec (NM) and Waste Control Specialists/WCS ISP (Texas) draft environmental impacts 
statements AND a letter to your US Representative. We will write, chat and send together via email or www.regulations.gov
LET’S GIVE INPUT THIS WEEK together with each other online live –

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International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

September 26 is the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Join an UP Convergence discussion on Monday September 14 (1pm-2pm EDT) about The UN Day for Nuclear Abolition: What is happening? What can we do?

Why a UN Day for nuclear abolition?

The UN General Assembly established this day in 2013 out of concern by the overwhelming majority of UN member countries at the risk of a nuclear war and the ongoing nuclear arms race. There are over 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world, many of them primed and ready for launch in minutes.

In addition, about $100 billion per year is being spent to design, develop and deploy nuclear weapons. This money should instead be spent on climate protection, sustainable development, public health and ‘building back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A Ploughshares Fund Women’s Initiative conversation LIVE via Zoom. Tuesday, October 20 at 5:00 pm PT / 7:00 pm CT / 8:00 pm ET

Registration is free! Join the Ploughshares Fund Women’s Initiative for an energizing conversation: Responsible Disruption: Women’s Participation, Perspectives and Power, Tuesday, October 20, with guest speakers, Ambassador Laura HolgateMareena Robinson Snowden and Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, and moderated by Ploughshares Fund president, Emma Belcher.

Register HERE

Action Alerts

Speak out against plans to bring all the nation’s commercial nuclear waste to New Mexico: Submit public comments opposing the Holtec/ELEA CISF

Holtec DEIS: Ideas for comments you can use to write your own for submission to NRC

Despite the ongoing pandemic national emergency, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) public comment period on its Holtec irradiated nuclear fuel Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is ticking down to the current Sept. 22nd deadline.

Please submit public comments opposing the Holtec/ELEA CISF by Sept. 22nd!

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Nuclear Media

Nuclear News

These Russians aren’t going away

“Labeled “extremists” and “foreign agents”, Fedor Maryasov and Andrey Talevlin put country and courage first.”

beyondnuclearinternational.com

These Russians aren’t going away

The first time Fedor Maryasov realized that something might be very wrong in his community was as a teenager. Growing up in the uranium mining city of Zarafshan, Uzbekistan, young Fedor and his friends would swim in artificial ponds holding discharge water from the uranium mines. They fished there too, but they began to notice the fish were disfigured by genetic abnormalities, displaying red spots and growths. Still, the authorities were saying nothing. And the teenage boys, like most people in Zarafshan, knew little about how radiation affects living organisms.

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Biden says US must maintain small force in Middle East, has no plans for major Defense cuts

“The former vice president said the largest readiness issue facing the military is America’s strained relationship with NATO. “They’re worried as hell about our failure to confront Russia diplomatically or other ways, and worried about ‘America First’ meaning ‘America Alone,’” he said.”

stripes.com

Former Vice President Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic Party nominee for president, delivers his acceptance speech on August 20.
DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE

WASHINGTON — Former Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he supports drawing down troops in the Middle East but if elected president would keep a small force there to prevent extremists from posing a threat to the United States and its allies.

“These ‘forever wars’ have to end. I support drawing down the troops. But here’s the problem, we still have to worry about terrorism and [the Islamic State],” Biden told Stars and Stripes in a telephone interview.

He also said he does not foresee major reductions in the U.S. defense budget as the military refocuses its attention to potential threats from “near-peer” powers such as China and Russia.

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UPDATED: DOE INVOKED TECHNICAL STANDARDS

The following Directive has been added to the DOE Directives Portal:

 The Directives Review Board (DRB) has conducted a review of DOE Orders that invoke Technical Standards. The DRB determined which Technical Standards should be invoked; developed boilerplate language for the invoking of Technical Standards; and updated affected Orders for clarity and consistency.

The following Orders were updated to clarify which Technical Standards are invoked:

  1. DOE O 458.1 Chg 4 (LtdChg), Radiation Protection of the Public and the Environment
      1. To establish requirements to protect the public and the environment against undue risk from radiation associated with radiological activities conducted under the control of the Department of Energy (DOE) pursuant to the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (AEA). Supersedes DOE O 458.1 Chg 3 (AdminChg), dated 1-15-2013.

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Big audience for protest of race training

Petersen says he tried to point out to lab officials the “blatant lies and deep immorality” in the presentations. He says he tried to teach his own classes to counter the training Sandia offered but was denied.

RYAN BOETEL / JOURNAL STAFF WRITER abqjournal.com Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

A series of forums on race offered at Sandia National Laboratories left at least one lab employee miffed enough to send an email blast to the entire staff voicing his displeasure.

And the upset electrical engineer appears to have caught the attention of the White House, which last week in a memo told all federal agencies to stop hosting similar training sessions.

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Trump Reportedly Claimed That The US Built a Secret Nuke. Here’s What He’s Probably Talking About

“In all likelihood, Trump is referring to the W76-2; then again, he’s also made outlandish claims regarding U.S. military tech that haven’t stood up under scrutiny, like that the F-35 is totally invisible.”

taskandpurpose.com

Forget the invisible F-35 and the super-duper missile: there’s apparently a brand new weapons system that’s captured the commander-in-chief’s attention — and it’s of the nuclear variety.

According to Rage — a new book published by legendary investigative reporter Bob Woodward on the Trump administration — the president reportedly disclosed the existence of a new nuclear weapons system during a conversation about relations between the United States and North Korea.

“I have built a nuclear — a weapons system that nobody’s ever had in this country before,” Trump reportedly said, according to the Washington Post.

“We have stuff that you haven’t even seen or heard about. We have stuff that Putin and Xi have never heard about before. There’s nobody — what we have is incredible.”

The disclosure from Trump came in “the midst of reflecting upon how close the United States had come in 2017 to war with North Korea,” according to the Washington Post.

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NCI Virtual Briefing on results from the Study to Estimate Radiation Doses and Cancer Risks Resulting from Radioactive Fallout from the Trinity Nuclear Test

UPDATE FROM THE NCI SUMMARY:

“The data suggest that perhaps several hundred cancers, primarily thyroid cancer, have already occurred over the 75 years since the test and a small number are projected to occur in the future that would not have occurred in the absence of radiation exposure from Trinity fallout. Most of the excess cancers are projected to have occurred or will occur among residents living in Guadalupe, Lincoln, San Miguel, Socorro, and Torrance counties in 1945. Significant uncertainty in dose estimation had a substantial impact on the total uncertainty around these estimates. Most cancers that have occurred or will occur among the 1945 residents of New Mexico are likely to be cancers unrelated to exposures from Trinity fallout. Finally, with the data available, it is not possible to definitively identify the specific individuals whose cancers might be due to the radiation exposure.

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Energy Dept. Taking Bids for Nationwide Waste Treatment Services

Energy Dept. Taking Bids for Nationwide Waste Treatment Services

The Energy Department on Monday issued its final request for proposals (RFP) for nationwide low-level and mixed low-level waste treatment services. The agency could award more than one basic ordering agreement (BOAs) for the work, according to the document.

exchangemonitor.com

The objectives of the BOAs are to provide Low Level Waste and Mixed Low Level Waste (including reactive metals such as lithium batteries, sodium bearing waste) Treatment services; Bulk Survey for Release Services (BSFR) services in accordance with Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) or Agreement State requirements; Development and assessment of alternative disposition strategies; Low Activity Waste (LAW) services; and Ancillary services that aid in the treatment and processing of waste, such as transportation and packaging from the point of origin to the destination (treatment facility, disposal site, or return to the generator) creating a turnkey service.

LANL Cleanup: What you can do

Please consider attending and giving public comments at local public meetings concerning cleanup at Los Alamos. Public comments do make a difference!

Follow NukeWatch and submit public written comments. We frequently comment on environmental impact statements and provide sample comments. Support Us: https://nukewatch.org/get-involved/donate/

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.

Critical Events

TONIGHT! Join Us Online to Comment on the Holtec and Waste Control Specialists/ISP proposed NUCLEAR DUMPS in NM & TX – and the Dangerous Nuclear Transport Through the Whole Country to Get There!


Join Texans–SEED Coalition and 15 other sponsoring groups on Thursday evening Sept 17th at 7 Central time for a ZOOM 
comment letter writing party–bring your own drinks, snacks and computer or tablet or phone to send comments to the 
Nuclear Regulatory Commission on both the Holtec (NM) and Waste Control Specialists/WCS ISP (Texas) draft environmental impacts 
statements AND a letter to your US Representative. We will write, chat and send together via email or www.regulations.gov
LET’S GIVE INPUT THIS WEEK together with each other online live –

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International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons

September 26 is the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

Join an UP Convergence discussion on Monday September 14 (1pm-2pm EDT) about The UN Day for Nuclear Abolition: What is happening? What can we do?

Why a UN Day for nuclear abolition?

The UN General Assembly established this day in 2013 out of concern by the overwhelming majority of UN member countries at the risk of a nuclear war and the ongoing nuclear arms race. There are over 14,000 nuclear weapons in the world, many of them primed and ready for launch in minutes.

In addition, about $100 billion per year is being spent to design, develop and deploy nuclear weapons. This money should instead be spent on climate protection, sustainable development, public health and ‘building back better’ from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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A Ploughshares Fund Women’s Initiative conversation LIVE via Zoom. Tuesday, October 20 at 5:00 pm PT / 7:00 pm CT / 8:00 pm ET

Registration is free! Join the Ploughshares Fund Women’s Initiative for an energizing conversation: Responsible Disruption: Women’s Participation, Perspectives and Power, Tuesday, October 20, with guest speakers, Ambassador Laura HolgateMareena Robinson Snowden and Sanam Naraghi Anderlini, and moderated by Ploughshares Fund president, Emma Belcher.

Register HERE

Action Alerts

Speak out against plans to bring all the nation’s commercial nuclear waste to New Mexico: Submit public comments opposing the Holtec/ELEA CISF

Holtec DEIS: Ideas for comments you can use to write your own for submission to NRC

Despite the ongoing pandemic national emergency, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) public comment period on its Holtec irradiated nuclear fuel Consolidated Interim Storage Facility (CISF) Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) is ticking down to the current Sept. 22nd deadline.

Please submit public comments opposing the Holtec/ELEA CISF by Sept. 22nd!

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New & Updated

NNSA Head Props Up Nuclear Weapons Modernization…Again

In her September 17, 2020 testimony before before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Lisa E. Gordon-Hagerty, Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration, restated the ongoing company line that more money must be spent on the US nuclear weapons stockpile, or the whole enterprise might fall over.

She stated, “The need to now modernize our nuclear weapons stockpile and recapitalize the supporting infrastructure needed to produce and maintain that stockpile has reached a tipping point.”

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Ambassador: Time is right for new arms control agreement

“Billions of dollars are being funneled toward work to replace aging plutonium cores in the arsenal and projects managed by the National Nuclear Security Administration at Los Alamos and Sandia national labs in New Mexico and other federal sites tied to the nuclear program.
Much of the infrastructure across the complex is decades old. NNSA Administrator Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, who also visited last week, said work has been deferred in some cases for as many as 30 years.”

BY: The Associated Press, SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN | apnews.com

Time is right for new arms control agreement

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The Trump administration has sketched out a framework that it hopes will avoid a three-way arms race as a deadline nears for extending the only remaining nuclear arms control deal with Russia and as China looks to expand its nuclear forces.

Ambassador Marshall Billingslea, the special presidential envoy for arms control, spoke with The Associated Press about negotiations with Russia while touring some of the top nuclear research labs and production sites in the United States.

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Arizona’s ‘downwinders,’ exposed to Cold War nuclear testing, fight for compensation

“It’s a travesty, and the government should not be allowed to get away with it,” one Mohave County, Arizona, resident said.

BY: ANITA HASSAN | nbcnews.com

Arizona's 'downwinders' exposed to Cold War nuclear testing fight for compensation
Eddie Pattillo, 81, a retired construction manager pictured at his home in Kingman, Ariz., has had cancer twice since 1997. CREDIT: Joe Buglewicz / for NBC News

KINGMAN, Ariz. — Danielle Stephens ran her fingers down a long list of her relatives’ names and sighed.

All of them had been diagnosed with cancer. Most of them had died, many before they were 55.

Like Stephens, 81, they had all spent their lives in Kingman, Arizona, where during the Cold War they often watched the early morning sky lit up by orange flashes from atomic bombs detonated at a government testing site in the Nevada desert less than 150 miles north of the city.

“Back then, no one thought the tests were dangerous,” said Stephens, who ran a cattle ranch with her husband.

The list of her family members with cancer grew to 32 in July, when she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. It is the radiation exposure from those nuclear tests that Stephens believes caused her cancer and that of her family members and scores of others who lived in lower Mohave County in the 1950s and ’60s. Her relatives had breast, colon, thyroid and kidney cancer, all of which have been linked to radioactive fallout.

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Georgia: At crucial crossroads, nuclear plant must be stopped

“In 2001, 30 new reactors were ordered in the U.S., but the so-called “nuclear renaissance” rapidly fizzled leaving only Georgia Power and Vogtle. Meanwhile, renewable energy, in particular solar power, has become abundant and cheap, and solar and wind have been the fastest-growing energy sector for the past several years.”

BY: GLENN CARROLL | augustachronicle.com

Plant Vogtle. Photo courtesy of High Flyer 2019.

In 1977, a small group of thoughtful, committed Georgians started a grassroots anti-nuclear group to oppose nuclear power, nuclear weapons and radioactive waste and to promote alternative visions for renewable energy and world peace.

At the same time, Georgia Power was resuming construction of Vogtle 1 and 2, having nearly gone bankrupt three years earlier while attempting to build a four-reactor nuclear compound with a budget of $1 billion.

Only 10 weeks after breaking ground, incredibly, Vogtle construction ground to a halt with Georgia Power on the brink of bankruptcy. Georgia Power was saved by two emergency rate hikes thanks to the Georgia Public Service Commission and by selling shares of its hole-in-the-ground Vogtle to most of Georgia’s rural electric cooperatives and municipal power systems.

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How to Talk About Nuclear Weapons

Why getting people to care about nuclear policy matters.

BY: ZACK BROWN | nationalinterest.org

How to Talk About Nuclear Weapons

It’s a truism of the nuclear field that arms control advocates don’t always win the war of words with their opponents, said Lynn Fahselt, co-founder and executive director of the communications organization ReThink Media.KINGMAN, Ariz. — Danielle Stephens ran her fingers down a long list of her relatives’ names and sighed.

“The first media audit we did showed that, on the opinion pages, we were being beat three to one,” she said in an interview with the podcast, Press The Button. “For every one argument we made for arms control and disarmament, our opposition was making two and calling ours naive.”

At first glance, this editorial record might seem like a minor datapoint in the grand scheme of nuclear politics. But in a fast-moving democracy whose attention span is only as long as the shortest news cycle, wins in the court of public opinion—even small ones—can affect government policy in real ways.

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Environment Secretary Says LANL Tritium Venting Project Puts New Mexico In Bad Situation

“Under the Triad contract, one of their performance requirements for this fiscal year is to vent five more containers that are larger, that contain more tritium, by Sept. 30. So we feel like they’re trying to get permission to vent these four containers on Friday so that they can vent the other five before the end of the fiscal year so that they can get their bonus…This is a pattern in practice by DOE – to do things in order to get the bonuses for their contractors.” – Joni Arends, executive director of Concerned Citizens for Nuclear Safety 

BY: | losalamosreporter.com

The planned venting of tritium from four Flanged Tritium Waste Containers at Los Alamos National Laboratory on or after Friday, Sept. 11 has placed the state of New Mexico in a bad situation, New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Sec. James Kenney told the Legislature’s Committee on Radioactive and Hazardous Materials Wednesday.

The Los Alamos Reporter previously published two stories on the venting project:

https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/03/23/lanl-to-conduct-tritium-venting-operation-beginning-in-april/
https://losalamosreporter.com/2020/04/03/lanl-tritium-ventilation-project-on-hold-due-to-covid-19-scope-of-work-amended-to-include-possible-secondary-venting/

“These containers have been neglected for so long by both DOE and the Environment Department. We’re in this position, which is do they vent those tritium drums, collect that emission to prevent it from being in the air and then move those drums offsite, or do we run the risk of leaving those drums onsite knowing that they are pressurized and could rupture meaning an uncontrolled amount of tritium would go out,” Kenney said. “I do not like the position our Department is in. I think this goes towards the fact that DOE did not do something sooner and it goes to the fact that our Department has been so underfunded that we don’t have the staff to go and hold people accountable to do those things in a timely manner, so we are in a very bad position.”

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State Lawmakers: Tougher Tactics Needed to Speed Los Alamos Waste Cleanup

“The state must put teeth back into the consent order, its main source of leverage. I would like to see us rip up the [2016] consent order and become a tougher negotiator for New Mexico,”
– State Sen. Jeff Steinborn, D-Las Cruces, said the state is losing ground on cleanup because an agreement between the state and the Department of Energy was weakened four years ago, and now more waste will be generated with pit production.

BY: | santafenewmexican.com

The pace of Los Alamos National Laboratory’s legacy waste cleanup drew sharp criticism Wednesday from two state lawmakers who argued regulators should toughen oversight and consider suing federal agencies to spur quicker action.

The lab has made five shipments of higher-level nuclear waste this year to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad and hopes to move that number to 30 per year, with the aim of removing all of the lab’s legacy waste by 2027.

A U.S. Department of Energy official presented the figures to the state Radioactive and Hazardous Waste Committee on Wednesday.

“So we’re looking to greatly increase the rate of shipment,” said Steve Hoffman, who oversees the agency’s environmental management field office in Los Alamos.

But state Rep. Christine Chandler, D-Los Alamos, called that volume far too low, especially when compared to Idaho sending 100 to 150 waste shipments to WIPP each year.

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New Mexico Frustrated With Slow Cleanup of Radioactive Waste

“We’re seeing more and more that we’re trending towards an impasse on the movement of legacy contamination from Los Alamos…If that’s our only option, then that’s an option we’re going to explore and we’re going to need to figure out how to do that in a way that yields a better result for New Mexico. Because right now we’re at the bottom of the list and that’s unacceptable.” – New Mexico Environment Secretary James Kenney

BY: The Associated Press, SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN | krqe.com

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — There’s growing frustration among New Mexico lawmakers and environmental regulators about the U.S. government’s slow pace in cleaning up contamination from decades of nuclear research and bomb-making at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

The officials shared their concerns during a legislative meeting Wednesday, saying New Mexico is taking a backseat to other states and that legal action might be their only leverage against the U.S. Energy Department as it sets priorities for the nation’s multibillion-dollar cleanup program for Cold War-era waste.

Since January, only five shipments of waste have been sent from Los Alamos to the government’s underground repository in southern New Mexico. Meanwhile, the Idaho National Laboratory is sending two to three shipments a week, or more than three times the goal environmental managers at Los Alamos have set for the coming year.

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Russia warns it will see any incoming missile as nuclear

“The policy document offered a detailed description of situations that could trigger the use of nuclear weapons, including the use of nuclear weapons or other weapons of mass destruction against Russia or its allies.”

BY: The Associated Press, VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV | apnews.com

MOSCOW (AP) — Russia will perceive any ballistic missile launched at its territory as a nuclear attack that warrants a nuclear retaliation, the military warned in an article published Friday.

The harsh warning in the official military newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda (Red Star) is directed at the United States, which has worked to develop long-range non-nuclear weapons.

The article follows the publication in June of Russia’s nuclear deterrent policy that envisages the use of atomic weapons in response to what could be a conventional strike targeting the nation’s critical government and military infrastructure.

In the Krasnaya Zvezda article, senior officers of the Russian military’s General Staff, Maj.-Gen. Andrei Sterlin and Col. Alexander Khryapin, noted that there will be no way to determine if an incoming ballistic missile is fitted with a nuclear or a conventional warhead, and so the military will see it as a nuclear attack.

“Any attacking missile will be perceived as carrying a nuclear warhead,” the article said. “The information about the missile launch will be automatically relayed to the Russian military-political leadership, which will determine the scope of retaliatory action by nuclear forces depending on the evolving situation.”

The argument reflects Russia’s longtime concerns about the development of weapons that could give Washington the capability to knock out key military assets and government facilities without resorting to atomic weapons.

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Groups raise concerns about new shaft at WIPP

“The Southwest Research and Information Center is among those opposing the project. The group filed legal challenges, saying environmental officials ignored existing regulations, past agency practices and case law when giving temporary approval for contractors to begin working.”

BY SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN | santafenewmexican.com

ALBUQUERQUE — Crews working at the U.S. government’s underground nuclear waste repository in southeastern New Mexico are starting a new phase of a contentious project to dig a utility shaft that officials say will increase ventilation at the site where workers entomb the radioactive remnants of decades of bomb-making.

Officials at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad said this week the $75 million project is a top priority and that work will be done around the clock five days a week, with an additional shift on Saturdays. The shaft will eventually span more than four-tenths of a mile and connect to an underground system of passageways.

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Surprising numbers in UNM report on lab’s impact

“BBER’s (UNM’s Bureau of Business and Economic Research) director Jeffrey Mitchell said in an email to a Regional Coalition official that the county financial figures show “there are some winners and some losers. I suspect that LANL was less interested in presenting that.”

BY JOURNAL NORTH EDITORIAL BOARD | abqjournal.com

Surprising numbers in UNM report on lab’s impact
A recent UNM study calculates the local government cost of providing basic services to employees of Los Alamos National Laboratory, such as these working in the lab’s plutonium facility, versus local tax revenue paid by lab workers and on LANL procurements. (Courtesy of the National Nuclear Security Administration/LANL)

A recent study by the University of New Mexico’s respected economic studies office details the huge economic impact of Los Alamos National Laboratory on New Mexico.

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Former employees, families sue companies working on Piketon-area nuclear plant

Former employees, families sue companies working on Piketon-area nuclear plant

“The lawsuit, filed last week, alleges workers and their families became ill due to the actions of U.S. Department of Energy contractors. The suit seeks a medical monitoring program to evaluate the multi-generational impact of radioactive contamination.”

Columbus, OH | Columbus Dispatch newsbreak.com

A lawsuit filed on behalf of former nuclear employees and their families accuses U.S. Department of Energy contractors of “poisoning workers and the people, land, air and water for miles” around the former Portsmouth Gaseous Diffusion Plant that was in southern Ohio.

The actions of DOE’s contractors released radioactive isotopes that “have created a situation akin to a creeping Chernobyl” and resulted in “injuries, sickness, disease, including cancers, damage to DNA, death, loss of and damages to property, and reduction in property values,” according to the lawsuit filed Thursday in U.S. District Court in Columbus.

The contamination likely spread in Pike, Scioto, Lawrence, Vinton and Adams counties in Ohio, according to the lawsuit.

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NNSA Slams Door Shut on Public Accountability While Ramming Through Expanded Plutonium “Pit” Bomb Core Production

The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) announced that it will NOT prepare a new site-wide environmental impact statement for the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) (1).  With this decision NNSA is slamming the door shut on public accountability while it rams through expanded plutonium “pit” bomb core production at the Lab.  NNSA is relying upon outdated studies from 2008 to justify pit production. Since that time the agency has wasted billions of taxpayers’ dollars, another catastrophic wildfire threatened the Lab, serious deep groundwater contamination was discovered and LANL has had chronic nuclear safety incidences with plutonium that it can’t seem to fix.
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What If We Have A Nuclear War?

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Must Reads

11 ESSENTIAL BOOKS ON NUCLEAR WEAPONS

Staying engaged in the effort to prevent nuclear war requires an understanding of the history of nuclear weapons and the impact their use and production has had on people and the planet. View this list from Ploughshares Fund of some of the best books about nuclear weapons. From well-loved classics to warnings from the past few years, we hope that this selection sheds some light on the need to prevent the spread and further use of nuclear weapons.

Not for the Faint of Heart: Lessons in Courage, Power, and PersistenceAmb. Wendy R. Sherman. The lead negotiator of the Iran nuclear agreement takes readers inside the world of international diplomacy. An autobiography of one of our most effective negotiators — often the only woman in the room. She shows how we can learn to apply core skills of diplomacy to the challenges in our own lives and to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons.

Thermonuclear Monarchy: Choosing Between Democracy and Doom, Elaine Scarry. Literary critic and social theorist makes the case that the US president’s unchecked power to order a nuclear weapons launch is a violation of the Constitution, and is fundamentally incompatible with the deliberative principles of democracy.

The 2020 Commission Report on the North Korean Nuclear Attacks Against the United States: A Speculative Novel, Jeffrey Lewis. Middlebury College professor, nuclear expert and Ploughshares Fund grantee explores a hypothetical nuclear war involving the United States, North Korea, South Korea and Japan rooted in real historical events, quotes, and facts about nuclear weapons technology. This work of fiction is presented in the style of a report from a government commission charged with investigating the events.

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner, Daniel Ellsberg. Former United States military analyst offers his recollections and analysis of a cache of secret documents related to the US nuclear arsenal. The book contains chilling details about narrowly-avoided disasters, flawed launch protocols, and philosophies and strategies regarding the true purpose of the US nuclear arsenal.

My Journey at the Nuclear Brink, William J. Perry. The 19th US Secretary of Defense tells the story of his coming of age during the nuclear era, and reflects on how his experiences over the past 70 years have shaped his thinking about the threat posed by nuclear weapons.

Full Body Burden: Growing Up in the Nuclear Shadow of Rocky Flats, Kristen Iversen. The author, who grew up near the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons facility, presents a detailed account of the government’s efforts to hide the effects of the toxic and radioactive waste released by Rocky Flats, and of local residents’ attempts to seek justice in court.

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, Eric Schlosser. Acclaimed author and producer explores the history of nuclear weapons systems in the United States. Sobering accounts of nuclear accidents, near misses, and technological developments raise questions about the management and safety of the US nuclear arsenal. Eric Schlosser is a member of the Ploughshares Fund Board of Directors.

African Americans Against the Bomb: Nuclear Weapons, Colonialism, and the Black Freedom Movement, Vincent Intondi. Associate Professor of African-American Studies at Montgomery College chronicles the history of African-American involvement in the nuclear disarmament movement. and explores the connection between nuclear issues and the fight for racial equality.

Arsenals of Folly: The Making of the Nuclear Arms Race, Richard Rhodes. This Pulitzer Prize-winning author chronicles events during the Ronald Reagan administration that led to the US and the Soviet Union coming within minutes of nuclear war, setting the stage for the 1986 summit in Reykjavik, Iceland.

Able Archer 83: The Secret History of the NATO Exercise That Almost Triggered Nuclear War, Nate Jones. National Security Archive staffer writes about a NATO military exercise that the Soviet Union initially mistook for a real nuclear first-strike.

Hiroshima, John Hersey. Required reading for any aspiring journalist, nuclear policy analyst, or anyone interested in the history, this short book collects essays originally published in the New Yorker written about survivors of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan.

Doom Towns

A graphic novel by Andy Kirk with artist Kristian Purcell

“The U.S. tested nearly a thousand atomic weapons in the Nevada desert 125 miles north of Las Vegas…. Did they really build fake towns out in the desert and then blow the whole place up with atomic bombs? And the answer is yes, in fact, they did do that…


“The purpose as stated by the civil defense agencies of creating these “Doom Towns” and then widely disseminating on film their being destroyed was to encourage Americans to be concerned about the possibility of civilians being the target of nuclear attack.”

Read more…

The Button: By William J. Perry and Tom Z. Collina

The President has the power to end the world in minutes. Right now, no one can stop him.

Since the Truman administration, America has been one “push of a button” away from nuclear war—a decision that rests solely in the hands of the President. Without waiting for approval from Congress or even the Secretary of Defense, the President can unleash America’s entire nuclear arsenal.

Almost every governmental process is subject to institutional checks and balances. Why is potential nuclear annihilation the exception to the rule? For decades, glitches and slip-ups have threatened to trigger nuclear winter: misinformation, false alarms, hacked warning systems, or even an unstable President. And a new nuclear arms race has begun, threatening us all. At the height of the Cold War, Russia and the United States each built up arsenals exceeding 30,000 nuclear weapons, armed and ready to destroy each other—despite the fact that just a few hundred are necessary to end life on earth.

From former Secretary of Defense and Stanford professor of international relations William Perry and nuclear policy think-tank director Tom Collina, The Button is a fascinating narrative of our living nuclear history—one in which the players hold the fate of the whole world at their fingertips—and a look at presidential power from Truman to Trump.

Learn More

1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink

Taylor Downing, Da Capo Press, 4/24/18

Recently, a declassified report lifted the veil on the events of a week in November 1983, the year KAL007 was shot down and America watched “The Day After”, when we had in fact, a very close brush with World Death. The Able Archer story is a timely and important reminder of the variety of things that can happen to drive a situation to the brink of nuclear disaster when there is posturing and provocation and no trust.

Excerpts from the Christian Science Monitor book review:

“Able Archer 83 was sparked by a routine NATO military exercise. But, as writer Taylor Downing documents in “1983: Reagan, Andropov and a World on the Brink”, a carefully-researched and absorbing book, it occurred when mistrust and suspicion between the superpowers was sky-high. Indeed, relations were so tense that Soviet political and military leadership believed the exercise was a ruse to enable NATO to launch a pre-emptive strike… The Soviets concluded that this was not an exercise but the real thing and put their own military on the highest readiness level. So fully armed fighter planes sat continuously idling on runways waiting for a signal to take off. Meanwhile, in Washington, nothing seemed amiss. Only much later did the United States realize that Soviet leaders had been petrified with fear. A top-secret US report concluded, “We may have inadvertently placed our relations with the Soviet Union on a hair trigger.” (source: CSM)

More on Able Archer: Slate’s cover story from April 2017:
The Week the World Almost Ended- In 1983, the U.S. simulated a nuclear war with Russia- and narrowly avoided starting a real one. We might not be so lucky next time..

Quotes

“The riskiest period of the Cold War was its earliest stages, when military and political leaders didn’t yet fully understand the nature of what Hiroshima had demonstrated. Emerging technologies like AI [artificial intelligence] threaten to plunge us back into that uncertainty.”

Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard is a 52-minute documentary produced by Shizumi Shigeto Manale and written and directed by Bryan Leichhardt.
Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard is a 52-minute documentary produced by Shizumi Shigeto Manale and written and directed by Bryan Leichhardt.

How new tech raises the risk of nuclear war

75 years after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, some experts believe the risk of the use of a nuclear weapon is as high now as it has been since the Cuban missile crisis. | axios.com

The reason we haven’t had nuclear disasters isn’t careful planning. It’s luck.

The United States tests a thermonuclear bomb on Nov. 1, 1952, in the Marshall Islands. (Los Alamos National Laboratory/AP) (AP)

“Betting on another half-century with nuclear weapons, but with no new nuclear explosions, is not betting on succeeding twice at a game of control after a first victory. It’s betting our luck won’t run out in the future — simply because it hasn’t run out yet.”

The reason we haven’t had nuclear disasters isn’t careful planning. It’s luck. The alarming role of good fortune in the history o nuclear weapons | washingtonpost.com

“Trump is dedicated to destroying the arms control regime. It may already be too late to renegotiate [the new START treaty], the last of the arms control treaties. He is now threatening to carry out nuclear weapons tests, tests that would undermine the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, almost 30 years. The United States never ratified it, but it has lived up to it. All of this opens the door wider for other countries to react the same way. The arms industry is of course euphoric. They’re getting huge new contracts to develop major weapons to destroy all of us. This encourages others to do the same. So there are new contracts down the road for hopeless means to try to defend ourselves against the monstrosities that we’re helping to construct. This is Trump, racing toward this, apparently enjoying it…Whether this can be contained within the constitutional structures of the United States, we don’t know.”

Noam Chomsky on Trump’s Troop Surge to Democratic Cities & Whether He’ll Leave Office if He Loses

“We knew the world would not be the same. A few people laughed, a few people cried, most people were silent. I remembered the line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad-Gita. Vishnu is trying to persuade the Prince that he should do his duty and to impress him takes on his multi-armed form and says, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds. I suppose we all thought that, one way or another.”

Robert Oppenheimer on the Trinity test; interview in The Decision to Drop the Bomb, Atomic Archive movie

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